UPDATE: Bitmixer.io is no more. However, this article outlines some alternative strategies.
The resistance needs money. That’s about as basic a statement as it gets. You need to buy things, and you need those purchases to go unnoticed and untracked by the powers that be. You might like the idea of dealing in cold, hard cash–and that’s almost always a great option–but let’s face it. Some things, you can’t/don’t buy with cash. Enter Bitcoin, Litecoin, and other cryptocurrencies. For beginners, often the first BTC wallet you will set up is somehow linked to your name, whether that be through a bank transfer you made to fund it, or the BTC ATM you had to scan your driver’s license at in order to exchange cash for BTC. (There are other, face to face ways to get BTC but many beginners start with something simple). I have a Bitcoin wallet attached to my name that I use for all kinds of normal, day to day things.
While using bitcoins is an excellent way to make your purchases, donations, and p2p payments, without losing money through inflated transaction fees, transactions are never truly anonymous. Bitcoin activities are recorded and available publicly via the blockchain; a comprehensive database which keeps a record of bitcoin transactions.
All exchanges require the user to scan ID documents, and large transactions must be reported to the proper governmental authority. When you use Bitcoin to pay for goods and services, you will of course need to provide your name and address to the seller for delivery purposes.
This means that a third party with an interest in tracking your activities can use your visible balance and ID information as a basis from which to track your future transactions or to study previous activity. In short, you have compromised your security and privacy.
“Okay,” you’re thinking. “You told me to use Bitcoin and now you’re telling me it’s not anonymous. So, what’s the point?” It just means you have to up your game a bit. There’s always a way, and it’s called Bitcoin mixing. Here’s how it works.
- You have your Bitcoin wallet, linked to your name. You put $100 in it, let’s say, which is about .22 BTC right now. You need to get that BTC unattached from your name.
- Use proper protocols:
- Tor Browser, on TAILS operating system, with persistence.
- Public wifi, not near your home.
- If possible, use a computer that is not yours or does not ever connect to your home or work internet; a library, internet cafe, etc.
- Use an anonymous token from a VPN not hosted in the US.
- Guard your metadata at all costs—or try not to create any.
- Open another Bitcoin wallet (or 3).
- Go to a site like BitMixer, and enter your new addresses. Use the service fee slider to choose an arbitrary amount (if you choose the service fee, then it prevents amount-based analysis.) Choose a time delay as well, as this defeats time-based transaction analysis.
- Click Continue, and follow the rest of the process to give them the address to your first Bitcoin wallet (the one linked to you) and set an amount to mix.
- They will take the Bitcoins belonging to you and your name, and give you Bitcoins from somewhere else, that have been mixed with other people’s Bitcoins, to the new addresses you provide.
- Now you have at least two other Bitcoin accounts, that have no connection to your identity. I’d even consider doing it 2-3 times just to be sure.
- If you like, make another wallet to transfer all of your mixed Bitcoin to. Just be sure to never access it without setting up the protocols like you did when you created the wallets.
- You’re ready to make anonymous purchases!
For an few added layers of privacy, make a new Bitcoin wallet to use as a cutout for every purchase you make. When you buy something, use Shapeshift.io to change your Bitcoin into another currency, send it to your one-time use Bitcoin wallet, and then make your purchase.
You might be thinking that this is inconvenient. It’s long and tedious. It’s annoying. It’s too much work, especially when you can use the Amazon app on your phone and buy whatever you need with the credit card they have on file for you. But that’s the situation we’re in. To have any kind of freedom, any kind of privacy, you will have to do inconvenient things. You’ll have to suck up the annoyance and learn how to operate in a world where every word you say and action you take is cataloged by people who have resources at their disposal you could only dream of.
You might be thinking there is nothing you could possibly need to buy that’s so private you need to do all this. Think again, and think very hard. What does money buy? Not just food, clothing, shelter. It buys gear you don’t want to advertise that you have. It buys information, influence. It opens doors that may otherwise be closed to you. If you cannot think of a single instance where those things could be useful to you or your group, then you need to think harder.
You might even be thinking that there’s no point, that the deck is too stacked, the tech is too in their favor, the threat is too much. If that’s the case, if there is absolutely no hope, then why are you involved in the liberty fight at all?
If that’s your belief, so be it. For the rest of you, let’s get to work.
Long live freedom!