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Saturday, December 28, 2019

Hiding Cryptocurrency Transactions

Addressing visibility of transactions.

Some crypto-criminals think jumping across blockchains covers their tracks. Big mistake.
A popular cryptocurrency service that may appear to enhance anonymity actually doesn’t, according to new research.     by Mike Orcutt via Technologyreview

Tracing Transactions Across Cryptocurrency Ledgers
Haaroon Yousaf, George Kappos, and Sarah Meiklejohn
University College London, Usenix

One of the defining features of a cryptocurrency is that its ledger, containing all transactions that have ever taken place, is globally visible. As one consequence of this degree of transparency, a long line of recent research has demonstrated that — even in cryptocurrencies that are specifically designed to improve anonymity— it is often possible to track money as it changes hands, and in some cases to de-anonymize users entirely. With the recent proliferation of alternative cryptocurrencies, however, it becomes relevant to ask not only whether or not money can be traced as it moves within the ledger of a single cryptocurrency, but if it can in fact be traced as it moves across ledgers. This is especially pertinent given the rise in popularity of automated trading platforms such as ShapeShift, which make it effortless to carry out such cross-currency trades. In this paper, we use data scraped from ShapeShift over a thirteen-month period and the data from eight different blockchains to explore this question. Beyond developing new heuristics and creating new types of links across cryptocurrency ledgers, we also identify various patterns of cross-currency trades and of the general usage of these platforms, with the ultimate goal of understanding whether they serve a criminal or a profit-driven agenda.  .... '

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