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Anonymous Bitcoin Purchases Aren't Actually Anonymous

Illustration for article titled Anonymous Bitcoin Purchases Arent Actually Anonymous

Let's be honest: we can dress Bitcoin up all we want, but like the Craigslist Personals section, we know exactly why most of you are there. But now it looks like the crypto-currency is maybe not all that crypto at all.

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Researchers from University College Dublin attacked the issue by analyzing a theft of about half a million dollars worth of Bitcoins this June. They zeroed in on the thief's network, his relation to the user, and his relation to other publicly-known accounts. From that, they determined that by mapping the movement of funds and his association of users, they were able to determine the identity of not just the thief, but large swaths of his Bitcoin network.

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Practically, this doesn't mean much if you're buying $15 worth of weed on the internet. But for wider applications of the technology, like donations or payments to rogue organizations like WikiLeaks, you should know that your veil of secrecy only exists so long as no one goes looking for you. [Clique Research Cluster via Slashdot]


You can keep up with Kyle Wagner, the author of this post, on Twitter.

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DISCUSSION

So did the guy ever get his Bitcoins back? Although I'm not on the Bitcoin train, I read the thread where he got them stolen, and it's gotta suck.