How to Send Bitcoin Anonymously
The vast majority of bitcoin users out there *still* believe that bitcoin offers some level of anonymity. Unfortunately, that isn't the case and never has been.
Bitcoin's ledger is public. That means anyone with an internet connection and the basic know-how to navigate a bitcoin block explorer can see your entire financial history including who you've sent to, who you've received from, and how much your portfolio is worth.
Blockchain ledgers weren't designed to be private or to preserve your digital anonymity. One of the main selling points of distributed ledger technology is its transparency. While that is a noble quality in many respects, it isn't exactly a positive one for those trying to use cryptocurrency as a form of banking and payment.
Sound a bit strange? Well, it is. Think of your bank account. What if anyone was able to simply look into your bank and see everyone you've transacted with and how much money you were holding. It's doubtful you'd hang on to that bank account, and you'd probably search for another bank right away.
Well, with bitcoin's public ledger, that's exactly what you get - a transparent wallet. So, let's say you want to send bitcoin anonymously. Everyone has their own reasons, and we certainly won't ask you yours.
As things stand now, there is no built-in way to send bitcoin anonymously, so you'll need to rely on other tips and tricks to do so. The Bitcoin Core development team currently has the Lightning Network under development. The Lightning Network is a second-layer off-chain scaling solution that takes a load off of the main bitcoin chain, allowing for instant and cheap payments. Unfortunately, it contains no provisions for making anonymous bitcoin payments.
Thankfully, sending bitcoin anonymously isn't as tough as you may be thinking. In fact, it's so simple that there's almost no excuse for *not* stepping your privacy up a notch.
Without further ado, here is a quick and easy guide that will enable you to confidently send bitcoin anonymously anytime you want!
Download a VPN
Depending on your technical know-how and level of involvement in cryptocurrency, you may be looking for an entry-level method for anonymizing your digital presence.
The best way to go about doing so is to start using a VPN right away. Depending on the type of operating system you use, or whether you prefer mobile or desktop apps, there are lots of trustworthy VPNs out there.
What does a VPN do? Essentially, a VPN masks your real IP address by redirecting your connection to a remote server. By doing so, you easily make yourself appear as though you're a user from elsewhere (for instance, if you're in the USA but use a VPN connection in Belgium, any observer will think you're a Belgian connection).
Blockchain analysis groups often rely on IP address detection for determining who you are on the blockchain. If you mask your activity by using a VPN, then your transactions should hold up with a high degree of anonymity.
Use the Tor Browser
Tor is a game changer, plain and simple. Tor was originally developed for covert, anonymous communications by the Navy and has morphed into a freeware community project that is determined to keep the internet a safe, private place.
The upside of Tor for cryptocurrency users, especially those wanting to send bitcoin anonymously, is that Tor reroutes all of your traffic through a dense layer of servers. Observers would be hard pressed to see anything but a dense and seemingly random web of IP addresses generated by the Tor Network as it scrambles your data.
Using Tor is like using an invisibility cloak on the web. So, next time you want to send bitcoin, consider accessing your wallet via a Tor Browser, that way you eliminate the possibility that anyone will be able to identify you in the act of sending bitcoin or retroactively identify down the road.
Use a Bitcoin Mixer
While bitcoin itself doesn't have a native option for privacy or anonymity, using a bitcoin mixer is the next best thing. In fact, bitcoin mixers are so successful at creating anonymous bitcoin that, if properly done, there is no possibility that a blockchain analysis firm, cybercriminal, or government agency will be able to track you down or identify you in any way.
The reason for this is less complicated than it may seem. A bitcoin mixer is essentially a reserve of bitcoin made up of coins belonging to others. When you deposit your bitcoin, you also specify a *new* wallet address to receive mixed bitcoin in. Once the reserve receives your deposit, it mixes your coins with those belonging to others and sends you bitcoin that didn't originally belong to you.
With BestMixer.io, you have three different reserve pool options. The Alpha, Beta, and Gamma pools each feature different types of reserve coins which bestow different levels of anonymity to the end product. The Alpha pool is made of bitcoin belonging to other users like yourself. The Beta pool is made of a mix of coins like yours and coins belonging to the BestMixer.io private reserve, making it a great pool for large transactions.
The Gamma pool, on the other hand, is made exclusively of private reserve and investor tokens. What this means is that each and every bitcoin in the reserve can be fully accounted for and is properly vetted. Not a single bitcoin in the Gamma pool can ever be linked to an unwanted transaction on the blockchain, making them completely suspicion-free and future proof since blockchain analysis will *never* be able to detect coins mixed in this pool.
While all of the BestMixer.io pools guarantee complete anonymity bestowed on the bitcoin that you receive, only the Gamma pool is certified blockchain-analysis resistant now and forever.
Now you've got clean, untraceable bitcoin that will be impossible to track. The enjoyable result is that you can send bitcoin anonymously as you please without having to look over your shoulder. Make sure to use a verified and trusted bitcoin mixer like the one provided by BestMixer.io.
When using a bitcoin mixer, the link between your old and new address is permanently broken which creates a dead-end for anyone trying to follow your trail.
Buy Bitcoin With LocalBitcoins.com
When you use a broker like Coinbase, Bittrex, or Kraken, you're going through a centralized service that will require you to submit all of your identification information. Name, address, bank account -- it all goes in the database and is stored forever.
Even worse, now there is a permanent link between the bitcoin you buy and your real, offline identity.
You can avoid this entire process by buying bitcoin in person using LocalBitcoin. By buying bitcoin with cash and in person, you don't have to provide *any* identifying information. As long as you have the seller send to a fresh bitcoin address for which you own the private keys, you won't have to worry about identification down the road.
The upside here is that you can easily send bitcoin anonymously after making a simple cash purchase without any extra friction.
Despite the obvious upsides of buying bitcoin with cash on Localbitcoins, there is one bit of warning that you'll need to be aware of. Most sellers can be trusted and are very highly reviewed. Like eBay, Localbitcoins sellers are rated after every transaction by the buyer to ensure that subsequent buyers know exactly who they're dealing with.
It's one thing to buy bitcoin over the internet, but another to meet face to face. So, make sure to thoroughly vet the seller you are dealing with and *only* meet in a very public place such as a Starbucks cafe. Doing so not only protects you, but protects the seller as well, since a neutral meeting place is best for both parties.
Use an Encrypted Messenger
A great option available if you'd like to send bitcoin anonymously is to use an end-to-end encrypted messenger to do so. End-to-end encrypted messengers are highly versatile, extremely useful pieces of any anonymity-centric user's arsenal.
End-to-end encryption is a somewhat buzzy word these days though few have a good grasp of how it actually works. A big reason for its popularity these days is the fact that WhatsApp, the world's #1 messenger, announced that they were rolling out an option for end-to-end encrypted messages for their users.
The way end-to-end encryption works is elegant in its simplicity. Essentially, when user 1 sends a message 'hello,' that message is encrypted with a secret key. After being encrypted, the message is then scrambled into a ciphered form of text and sent to user 2. User 2 has the secret key and uses it to decrypt the ciphered message. Once the message has been unencrypted, the message is now readable in its original format by user 2.
Now, it isn't only messages that can be protected by end-to-end encryption. Data, files, images, and even cryptocurrencies can be sent with high level end-to-end encryption that offers users a military-grade privacy.
If you are looking for a highly secure way to send bitcoin anonymously, then doing so with end-to-end encryption is a great step in the right direction.
In the cryptocurrency world, there are several well-known platforms that offer end-to-end encryption as a main selling point. Verge, PIVX, Horizen, and soon Monero (after their Kovri upgrade) all offer some level of end-to-end encryption. A new all-in-one platform called Apollo Currency also offers a military-grade level of end-to-end encryption to their users.
Outside of cryptocurrency platforms, popular messaging apps Signal and Telegram both offer end-to-end encryption as a standard to their users. On Telegram, users don't automatically get end-to-end encryption built into their messages. Instead, each user must opt to use messaging that features end-to-end encryption -- and, that option is only open to one-on-one chats, not group chats.
Signal offers end-to-end encryption as a standard, going a step further by encrypting group chats as well as one-on-one's.
For mainstream applications, Signal is the hands down winner for the best end-to-end encryption.
Why would you need to use end-to-end encrypted messaging if your main priority is to send bitcoin anonymously. The reasoning is quite simple. To send bitcoin anonymously you'll need to surround all aspects of the transfer in anonymity as well. Your anonymity is only as good as the weakest link in the entire chain of your communications.
As previously mentioned, many of the listed apps will allow you to transfer files and cryptocurrencies like bitcoin over their encrypted software. Consider this option if you've already mixed your bitcoin using a trusted service like BestMixer.io and are ready to let it out of your wallet, so to speak.
Send Bitcoin Anonymously Using a Combination of Methods
Don't feel as though you have to do and either/or of the above methods. Pair them together for an even higher level of anonymity, or use them all for extreme protection.
For instance, you might buy bitcoin with LocalBitcoins.com, then mix them for future-proof protection at BestMixer.io, then send them from your wallet accessed through Tor Browser, all while running a VPN.
Or, you toggle your Tor browser to work with your VPN to add an impenetrable layer of anonymity to your network, run an end-to-end encrypted messaging platform, and send your BestMixer.io tumbled bitcoin over the encrypted messaging.
You may also prefer to simply use a VPN to buy bitcoin on Coinbase, send your purchased BTC to the BestMixer.io mixer, receive untraceable bitcoin after the mixing process, and send that BTC anonymously over your preferred end-to-end encrypted messaging platform.
When it comes to keeping yourself safe on the internet, there should be no limit to your creativity.
[October 26, 2018 20:32 UTC-0]