Bitcoin Wiki
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While Bitcoin can support strong privacy, many ways of using it are usually not very private. With proper understanding of the technology, bitcoin can indeed be used in a very private and anonymous way.

As of 2019 most casual enthusiasts of bitcoin believe it is perfectly traceable; this is completely false. Around 2011 most casual enthusiasts believed it is totally private; which is also false. There is some nuance - in certain situations bitcoin can be very private. But it is not simple to understand, and it takes some time and reading.

This article was written in February 2019. A good way to read the article is to skip to the examples and then come back to read the core concepts.


To save you reading the rest of the article, here is a quick summary of how normal bitcoin users can improve their privacy:

Think about what you're hiding from, what is your threat model and what is your adversary. Note that transaction surveillance companies exist which do large-scale surveillance of the bitcoin ecosystem.

Do not reuse addresses. Addresses should be shown to one entity to receive money, and never used again after the money is spent from them.

Try to reveal as little information as possible about yourself when transacting, for example avoid AML/KYC checks and be careful when giving your real life mail address.

Use a wallet backed by your own full node or client-side block filtering, definitely not a web wallet.

Broadcast on-chain transactions over Tor, if your wallet doesn't support it then copy-paste the transaction hex data into a web broadcasting form over Tor browser.

Use Lightning Network as much as possible.

If lightning is unavailable, use a wallet which correctly implements CoinJoin.

Try to avoid creating change addresses, for example when funding a lightning channel spend an entire UTXO into it without any change (assuming the amount is not too large to be safe).

If digital forensics are a concern then use a solution like Tails Operating…
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