Complete Anonymity with Crypto Privacy Tools

Complete anonymity with crypto privacy tools

You are being watched. Private and government organizations are monitoring and recording your online activities; even your Bitcoin transactions are not spared from the surveillance.

When Bitcoin (BTC) was first introduced to the world in 2009, cryptocurrency was considered anonymous digital money. Back then, darknet markets such as Silk Road, a marketplace for users to trade illegal goods and services, had adopted BTC as the primary mode of payment. However, it was only a short time before experts informed the public that while Bitcoin revolutionized the idea of money to be transparent and immutable from any third-party organizations and government bodies, Bitcoin transactions were pseudonymous (not anonymous). Because of that, Silk Road’s operations were short-lived as it was shut down by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2013, two years after it was founded. The FBI authority later revealed that blockchain explorers have greatly aided their investigative efforts. These free-to-use platforms allow users to view the crypto transaction ledger simply by inputting the respective Bitcoin (or supported cryptocurrency) wallet address required for the search.

Is Privacy Critical?

One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor. Created as a digital currency for people to have complete control over their finances without an intermediary, the open and public Bitcoin transaction ledger has also exposed a flaw in the possibility of regulators tracing each wallet address to specific people or entities. Governments worldwide have also increasingly imposed stricter regulations on the use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. With the launch of various blockchain analysis firms such as Chainalyzis and Cipher Trade, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are more anonymous than initially thought. Fortunately, the cryptocurrency community is well aware of the growing concerns of Bitcoin and crypto investors. It has developed various privacy tools to counteract the ongoing problem of privacy and anonymity.

However, some people may feel that is fine since they do not use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for illicit purposes. However, public exposure of your Bitcoin address’s transaction could pose a considerable risk to your privacy and security. For instance, mapping a Bitcoin address to its holder can be as simple as making a transaction. Both buyer and seller dealing with Bitcoin can reveal their entire transaction history to each other since Bitcoin addresses from both parties will be shown in the dealing process. In technical terms, this is called linkability, where reconstructing a particular chain of transactions is simple and easily accessible by either party or anyone who got hold of either Bitcoin address. While linking transactions to the user is challenging, blockchain analysis firms have proven to the industry that it is practically possible through a blockchain explorer.

Privacy is a Right for Everyone

Contrary to popular belief, privacy is not exclusively associated with criminal activity. A recent report by a blockchain analysis firm has highlighted that only 8.1% of sent to Bitcoin mixers were derived from illicit use. A similar percentage can be seen in privacy coins (such as Monero and ZCash). Therefore, a person’s ability to transact with others is a fundamental right, and everyone has the right to transact securely without exposing personal information to governments, organizations, or bad actors who might use exposed data for ill intentions. People with evil intent will use whichever means they get their hands on to do illegal things. Unsurprisingly, that mainly involves FIAT currencies such as the US dollar.

Over the past decade since the ‘birth’ of Bitcoin, there have been numerous methods to achieve privacy and complete anonymity with easy-to-use applications and services for privacy advocates, agorists, and anyone who values their privacy when dealing with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies today.

Store your Bitcoins Anonymously

Do you know there are ways to obfuscate your pseudonymous Bitcoin transaction without worrying about your Bitcoin transactions exposing your spending pattern? Most privacy-based tools do not require you to create an account for their services, minimizing the risk of data leaks from these providers. Samourai is one of those custodial-free Bitcoin wallets requiring no email address or KYC. They also have built-in TOR and VPN support to offer maximum privacy and IP address anonymization. Another interesting point about this military-graded AES-256 encrypted privacy Bitcoin wallet is that for every transaction made using Samourai, a unique public wallet address will be automatically generated. Other anonymous wallet alternatives to prevent the risk of personal information theft include Wasabi and Bitcoin Core.

Surf the Web without Compromising on Your Privacy

Many web browsers like Opera and Firefox have shown keen interest in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. They have now included built-in Bitcoin wallets and Metamask integration. However, these mainstream web browsers lack privacy and anonymity features required of privacy-conscious individuals. Fortunately, we have Brave browser to provide a private, secure, fast internet browsing experience. The browser is built on top of the open-sourced Chrome browser but has gained massive traction among Bitcoin and cryptocurrency users due to its focus on user privacy. Additionally, Brave browser has an attractive ad monetization option for cryptocurrency users, where they could reward websites with their native cryptocurrency called Basic Attention Token (or BAT in short).

For advanced users who are very particular about anonymity, utilizing the Tor browser could achieve your goal and allow you to surf .onion addresses. Tor Browser has been around in the web browser space for many years, and it is undoubtedly the most famous anonymous browser to protect users from tracking and surveillance. They achieve such features by directing traffic through an overlay network to hide its users’ locations and data usage.

Bitcoin Mixing Services for a Peace of Mind

Bitcoin mixer in Tor browser is the most anonymous on this top five list, as shown in their suite of supports given to users. Like the other tumbler services on this recommended list, no signups are required to utilize their anonymization services. They offer Bitcoin mixer Tor and clear web services, allowing everyone to access their mixer. Currently, the service accepts only BTC for onion crypto anonymization. The service fee is only 0.3% (and 0.00025 BTC per recipient address), making it one of the most affordable mixers on the list. One interesting point about contributing service fees to the mixer is that irregular service fee contributions will make it harder to correlate to the BTC coins you receive at the end of the process. The service also allows a slightly higher number of recipient Bitcoin addresses, making it harder for blockchain analysis services to track the mixed coins.

Confuse others with Simulated IP Addresses to Hide Your Actual Location

Privacy-oriented individuals should consider subscribing to Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) as they provide anonymity by routing your data traffic to a random location. For instance, bad actors may attempt to track your IP location as Seoul, South Korea, when you are physically in London, United Kingdom, at that moment, surfing the net. Quality VPNs such as NordVPN provide users with a secure and encrypted internet surfing experience and do not store any logs that could compromise browsing activity. NordVPN keeps no logs and can even block annoying ads for you. Other favorable VPNs that the cryptocurrency community has used include ExpressVPN and CyberGhost.

The Age of Privacy

We can learn much from the crypto-anarchists and privacy-conscious individuals in the day and age of big data and surveillance capitalism. The above-mentioned online resources are not only for privacy advocates or criminals but for anyone who does not want their personal information to be exposed without permission. Mix-matching the usage of these crypto privacy tools could ensure your complete anonymity while safely dealing with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.