Looking for a way to make financial transactions more private and secure? Then chances are you use cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, or are thinking about doing so in the future.
One of the big appeals of bitcoin is that it helps you to conceal your identity. That being said, it is actually a bit of a misperception to say that bitcoin is truly anonymous. Using bitcoin can help you to protect your privacy—that much is true. But there are loopholes through which others may discover who you are and what you are doing with your coins.
The issue involves the blockchain. This transaction ledger is public. Anyone in the world has the ability to view it. With proper analysis, it is possible to track the movement of bitcoins and make deductions about the owner of an address.
At that point, anyone who has ascertained your identity can see everything you have been doing with that address.
That is where bitcoin mixers come in. Bitcoin mixers can be used to scramble your bitcoins to protect you from this type of surveillance.
What is a Bitcoin Mixer?
There are a lot of ways to explain what a bitcoin mixer is, but let’s attempt to make it as simple as possible to understand. Also known as a “bitcoin tumbler,” a “bitcoin shuffler,” or a “bitcoin scrambler,” it is a service which shuffles bitcoins while they are en route from one party to another.
So let’s say you are making a payment for a service. You do not want everyone who knows your address or discovers it to see what you are spending your money on.
To keep your transaction anonymous, you employ the help of a third party, which is the bitcoin mixing company.
Instead of sending your coins straight to your recipient, you send them to a bitcoin mixer such as bitcoinmix.org. When you do so, you specify the address of your recipient.
When the bitcoin tumbler receives your coins, here are the steps it takes to make your transaction anonymous:
- The mixer adds your coins into a pool with coins from other users. Picture someone adding physical coins to a jar and then shaking that jar to mix them around.
- The Bitcoin Mixer generates a random delay. This further disguises your transaction.
- After the delay period, the mixer removes the same amount of coins from the pool and sends them to your recipient’s address. You can visualize this as someone taking physical coins out of the jar in our metaphor.
Why does this work to preserve anonymity? Because the coins which the mixer sends to your recipient are not your original coins. Those have simply vanished into the pool.
It’s a bit like money laundering, except it isn’t illegal (and hopefully you’re not using it while doing anything illegal yourself).
Keep in mind however that anti-structuring laws surrounding the shuffling of hefty sums may still be considered a criminal act. If you have any questions about whether what you are thinking of doing is legal, do your research first.
Do You Still Need a Bitcoin Mixer in 2019?
Is there still a reason to be using bitcoin mixers as we head into 2019? Absolutely. In fact, it is arguably more important than ever. That is particularly true if you conduct Darknet transactions, but it also is applicable even if you don’t.
Any person who is determined enough can learn how to analyze the blockchain. And now that more and more folks realize what they can do with access to the ledger, there is a push to develop software to make it even easier. Soon, even a layman may find it effortless to spy on you.
That is why using a bitcoin tumbler and taking other steps to preserve your privacy is going to be crucial over the years ahead.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Bitcoin Mixers
Bitcoin mixers are a valuable tool for safeguarding your identity, but they are not a perfect solution (nothing is 100% foolproof). Below, you can view some quick pros and cons.
- With a bitcoin mixer, no one looking at the public ledger will be able to see where your coins have come from or where they have ended up. This maximizes your privacy and security when you are conducting bitcoin transactions.
- Bitcoin mixers are easy to use. You can get started using bitcoin mixers within minutes. Once you learn the basic steps, you’ll find that it takes minimal time and effort to greatly increase your security.
- Enhance your peace of mind. If you are not using a bitcoin mixer, you will constantly wonder who is following your activities in the public ledger. When you send and receive coins through a mixer, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing you are taking the essential steps to protect yourself. This may make you comfortable enough to use bitcoin more often.
- You will have to pay a small fee to use a bitcoin mixing service. Usually, this fee ranges anywhere from 1-3%. Mixers require this fee to support the resources required to offer the service.
- There is a chance that your privacy could still be compromised by the bitcoin mixing company itself. You can eliminate this threat by using a P2P mixer.
- Likewise, there is also a possibility of theft when you use a tumbler, but this too may be avoided either by using a reputable company or a P2P shuffling service.
How to Get Started with a Bitcoin Mixer
If you’re ready to start protecting your anonymity from prying eyes, getting started with a bitcoin mixer is very easy. It is just a matter of doing some research and choosing a site you can trust.
Then, you just need to input the address you wish to send your coins to along with the amount and the time delay you want (on some sites, you may customize this). You may not even need to open an account. Once you turn using a tumbler into a regular part of your routine, you’ll find it scarcely takes any longer to conduct your crypto transactions than it does right now. You can enjoy the advantages of bitcoin to the fullest without the potential drawbacks associated with the ledger being public.
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