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Can You Mix It? An Analysis of Bitcoin Mixers

Description

Third-party mixers are used to heighten the anonymity of Bitcoin users. The mixing techniques implemented by these tools are often untraceable on the blockchain, making them appealing to money launderers. This research aims to analyze mixers currently available on the

Third-party mixers are used to heighten the anonymity of Bitcoin users. The mixing techniques implemented by these tools are often untraceable on the blockchain, making them appealing to money launderers. This research aims to analyze mixers currently available on the deep web. In addition, an in-depth case study is done on an open-source bitcoin mixer known as Penguin Mixer. A local version of Penguin Mixer was used to visualize mixer behavior under specific scenarios. This study could lead to the identification of vulnerabilities in mixing tools and detection of these tools on the blockchain.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2018-12

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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Bitcoin Mixers (But Were Afraid to Ask)

Description

The lack of fungibility in Bitcoin has forced its userbase to seek out tools that can heighten their anonymity. Third-party Bitcoin mixers utilize obfuscation techniques to protect participants from blockchain analysis. In recent years, various centralized and decentralized Bitcoin mixing

The lack of fungibility in Bitcoin has forced its userbase to seek out tools that can heighten their anonymity. Third-party Bitcoin mixers utilize obfuscation techniques to protect participants from blockchain analysis. In recent years, various centralized and decentralized Bitcoin mixing implementations have been proposed in academic literature. Although these methods depict a threat-free environment for users to preserve their anonymity, public Bitcoin mixers continue to be associated with theft and poor implementation.

This research explores the public Bitcoin mixer ecosystem to identify if today's mixing services have adopted academically proposed solutions. This is done through real-world interactions with publicly available mixers to analyze both implementation and resistance to common threats in the mixing landscape. First, proposed decentralized and centralized mixing protocols found in literature are outlined. Then, data is presented from 19 publicly announced mixing services available on the deep web and clearnet. The services are categorized based on popularity with the Bitcoin community and experiments are conducted on five public mixing services: ChipMixer, MixTum, Bitcoin Mixer, CryptoMixer, and Sudoku Wallet.

The results of the experiments highlight a clear gap between public and proposed Bitcoin mixers in both implementation and security. Today's mixing services focus on presenting users with a false sense of control to gain their trust rather then employing secure mixing techniques. As a result, the five selected services lack implementation of academically proposed techniques and display poor resistance to common mixer-related threats.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2020