Anonymity on a cryptocurrency exchange
Few people know that Bitcoin transactions aren’t as anonymous as everyone hoped. If you get this basic idea, then you are on the right track.
How to prevent your Bitcoins from being stolen? And how do you prevent your crypto assets from becoming the target of cybercriminals? First you need to understand the basic principles of anonymity online.
Some might argue that the internet was built on anonymity, paving the way for a place where free speech reigns supreme. But after years of learning about who’s snooping into everything we do online, privacy on the web is hardly a given. It’s not just about government spying. it’s also about how much big companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have collected in order to serve up targeted ads. Not to mention how much of your personal data gets scooped up in all the breaches and hacks.
There are always going to be good reasons for people to go online without being tracked. It may be the only way for a real whistleblower to reveal corruption, considering how some have been treated. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to stay anonymous, no matter what you’re doing. The blockchain was created with the aim of increasing privacy and independence in financial transactions. But in reality Bitcoin is anonymous only on paper, since the exchange advises users to verify their identity by sending in the usual KYC and AML documents - say goodbye to anonymity.
As a result, a lot of people never learn that Bitcoin does not have enough privacy to be comfortably used by anyone, without you being tracked and judged by institutions, governments and anyone willing to pay the price for your data. So if you got into Bitcoin to try to get more money, like our friend Bob, then you owe it to yourself to learn to protect that money, or someone smarter may take advantage of you one day.
Why don’t people try to increase their anonymity online
«I don’t care about privacy, I have nothing to hide»
This is one of the most common arguments against privacy.No matter how often people use it, they generally do care about privacy. It’s why they close their curtains in the evening, have hedges around their gardens and don’t like telling people how much they get paid for their jobs or what exactly they spend this money on. If you really want to drive the point home, ask a parent how they feel about hundreds or thousands of organisations tracking and analysing the behaviour of their child, to influence them for the rest of their lives. A lot of people don’t care about privacy because caring would require them to change the way they live their lives. However, when it comes to people close to them, privacy is suddenly of the utmost importance.
People often don’t care about privacy, until things go wrong.
Why make backups of the files on your phone or laptop? Until the day your laptop crashes or your house burns down and you lose years of pictures and documents.
Why get health insurance? Until the day you have an accident, because someone was spamming vegetable emojis to his friend over WhatsApp, instead of paying attention to the road.
Why care about privacy? Who cares if you get different ads on the Internet? Until the day when very gradually, your opinions, the companies you buy products from and the people you hang out with, slowly begin to affect and change the way you’re expected to live your life, what you’re being charged for that, which information you get to see, and so much more. If you don’t believe this will happen, look around you in the world. It is already happening in many places.
If you don’t want to live in such a world, then privacy is important.
Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous creator of Bitcoin, wrote about privacy in Bitcoin’s Whitepaper: «Some linking of transactions to a common owner is still unavoidable, and could reveal other transactions that belonged to the same owner» This means that Bitcoin itself is not anonymous, as many people have been lead to believe by media.
Bitcoin is pseudonymous, much like email. This means that there are still unique identities, but they don’t necessarily have your personal identity attached to them, just like you can have any random e-mail address without your name in it. Since Bitcoin is not anonymous, there can be privacy issues. If people are able to discover your identity in the network, this could ultimately be used against you.The development of Bitcoin is driven by many idealistic people, who truly believe in an open society with human rights. If you ask these developers what they wish Bitcoin would have had from the start, many will answer with “better privacy”.
Why stay anonymous?
Imagine that each store where you spend cash, would test the bills for traces of drugs. If any traces were found, they would call the police on the spot. As the US dollar is the most widely used currency for drug trade, and 80–90% of all bills have traces of drugs on them, this would stop cash from working.
This is what some governments are currently trying to do with cryptocurrencies.
If you sell something to someone for bitcoin, and the other person is apparently a criminal, multiple governments and institutions may now be watching you, as you interacted financially with them. The government may tell exchanges to confiscate your money if you send your bitcoins there to convert them to your own currency. They may fine you, limit your international travel, or even arrest you, all because there isn’t enough privacy in the system.
And that’s when anonymous exchanges come in, which don’t require KYC and AML documents for identification. Some people will try to make you believe that cryptocurrency is mostly for criminals and that only criminals want privacy, but the truth is that privacy helps everyone’s personal safety. The people who say privacy is for criminals, are often afraid of not being able to control society to do what they think is best.
How to buy Bitcoin without verifying your identity?
Buy Bitcoin with cash
The most anonymous way to buy cryptocurrency is to transfer cash through a locker. You just leave money there, and a courier of the exchange retrieves it. Since you choose the place and time all by yourself before giving the location, it’s impossible to track you. This payment method is available in Moscow and St. Petersburg for the Cryptex exchange.
Buy Bitcoin with Tinkoff QR-codes
No less anonymous, but much more convenient option for crediting funds to an account for the subsequent purchase of BTC is the Tinkoff QR code. You simply generate a code for cash withdrawal through your mobile application, and then transfer it to the operator. Only the bank can identify you by code, but it does not know for what purpose and to whom you are transferring funds. The disadvantage of this method is that you can generate cash withdrawal codes for a total amount of only 150,000 rubles per day from one card. ## How to further increase your anonymity online For the average computer user, surfing the web usually doesn’t come with a lot of invisibility. If it’s not an advertising agency trying to target you, it could be a nefarious criminal looking to steal your passwords. While it’s significantly harder than it once was, it is possible to stay anonymous online.
Browse in private whenever possible. Browsing in private mode is the simplest thing you can do to make some of your general internet usage a bit more anonymous.
Ignore Google, Yandex, Yahoo and other search engines created to make money. To avoid being tracked when searching on the web, we recommend you use a service like DuckDuckGo. This an independent search engine that doesn’t give you personalized search results.
Hide your IP address and location. The easiest way to do this is to use the TOR browser or VPN services. We’ve talked more about this in the other article on increasing privacy.
Use anonymous email and communication. If your personal data is required for registration, for example, a phone number, then you should ignore such services. Anyone can access a temporary mailbox, but it is impersonal, which ensures your anonymity. For chatting you can use Jabber or Signal as a last resort.
As incredible as it may seem, you don’t have to be a magician to be able to use the internet on any computer without leaving any evidence of your usage behind. A Linux OS called TAILS offers you the tools that achieve this kind of online privacy. The TAILS system is small enough to fit on a USB flash drive, so you can plug it into any computer you’re using.
The current state of privacy in Bitcoin, and the Internet in general, is not sufficient. To achieve the necessary level of privacy, additional work is required to get benefits, the value of which is difficult to measure until something goes wrong.
For people to start protecting their privacy, it should be almost as easy as not protecting it. It is still better to avoid using exchanges that require your documents for buying or selling cryptocurrency. Use instead exchanges without verification, for which the privacy and the security of your information are very important.