While bitcoin has enabled criminals to move their activities online, notably the ransom payment of choice for last weekend’s WannaCry malware incident, those well-versed in the cryptocurrency space know that bitcoin, while hard to track, is far from completely anonymous.
All bitcoin transactions by design are recorded in a permanent public ledger accessible to anyone. Users can be traced through IP addresses as well as by analyzing money flows.
A new report from Reuters suggests that bitcoin’s dominance in the dark corners of the web has lasted as long as it has, despite the number of extra steps required to ensure anonymity, is mostly related to its size and circulation volume.
“In the initial days of bitcoin, people … didn’t realize they were recording for posterity on the blockchain every financial transaction that ever took place,” Emin Gun Sirer, a computer science professor at Cornell University, told the newswire.continue reading »