A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating an Anonymous Wallet for Covert Practices submitted by
With the recent Bitcoin “bubble” fiasco and the subsequent rise and fall of Bitcoin value, it seems that this subreddit has become obsessed with making money. But get-rich-quick schemes are not at the heart of Bitcoin. Instead BTC should be seen as a way to keep Big Governments and Big Businesses from knowing how much money you have and what you choose to spend that money on. As a currency, it doesn't matter how much the value fluctuates if you plan on spending your wealth on sites like the Silk Road and etc.
(OK, maybe it does matter a little bit if the money you spent yesterday is worth twice as much today; but this guide is for spenders, not hoarders. Or at least for hoarders who also like to spend.)
Let's discuss my favorite attribute of the Bitcoin protocol: anonymity.
Many noobs getting into the Bitcoin game fail to realize that anonymity is an important key to understanding the importance of Bitcoin. In places where your wealth can easily be taking away from you (see Cyprus, Russia, China, the USA and others), Bitcoin can function like a store of cash buried in a dessert in the middle of nowhere – buried so deep that nobody can find it, not even the most powerful men and women on Earth. POINT: If you are purchasing your Bitcoins through services like Coinbase or Mt. Gox, and if you've ever given your real name and bank account information to a Bitcoin Exchange, then you are NOT anonymous. Your Bitcoins can be traced back to you. Your purchases are recorded in the blockchain, and although it's difficult, it's certainly not impossible for those with the knowhow to find you and prosecute you. See this link before continuing.
Bitcoin is not inherently anonymous. You must take steps to protect yourself in order to keep your identity a secret. And even still, if you don't know what you are doing, you run the risk of being caught. So if you care about hiding yourself and your money, I offer this guide as a way to accomplish secret purchases and covert trades. Of course I cannot guarantee you won't end up in jail. At the end of the day, nobody knows how closely governments are tracking BTC purchases over the TOR network. Some people even believe that the TOR network was created by nefarious forces. I doubt it, but you never really know. STEP ONE: Anonymous Hardware
Because you cannot really
know whether or not you are being watched, your first step in creating an anonymous wallet is to protect yourself by buying a cheap
laptop computer and removing the hard-drive. Really, who needs a hard-drive anyway? Toss it in the garbage. STEP TWO: Anonymous Software
If you don't know how to download a Linux LiveCD, then stop reading now. You are probably not skilled enough to protect yourself anyway.
If you don't know how to download a Linux LiveCD, then proceed with extreme caution; downloading an ISO file and burning it to a DVD is pretty damned easy. Easier than anonymity. Those who refuse to learn are at risk.
It's arguable which software you should use, but I recommend connecting to the TOR network using TAILS
, a live DVD or live USB that aims at preserving your privacy and anonymity. TAILS helps you to use the Internet anonymously, leave no trace on the computer you're using, and to use state-of-the-art cryptographic tools to encrypt your files, email and instant messaging. ProTip:
For an extra layer of protection, download the ISO from your local library's computer. Or while you're sipping a mocha at Starbuck's. Then burn it to a DVD and take it home. Place it in your crap computer (the one without a hard-drive) and turn it on. Enter the BIOS menu and boot from CD if your computer doesn't do it automatically.
DO NOT CONNECT TO THE NETWORK FROM YOUR HOME.
I repeat, for an extra layer of security, DO NOT CONNECT TO YOUR HOME WIFI USING TAILS IF YOU WANT TO DO SHADY THINGS. That's just common sense. TAILS itself isn't illegal. But if you're the type to do shady things, you don't want to practice on your home Wifi, which you probably pay for with a bank account or credit card.
After you've spent a day or two using TAILS and familiarizing yourself with the LinuxOS, and once you feel comfortable enough to continue, then head back to your local Starbucks, boot up the LiveCD, and connect. Browse the TOR network and triple-check that you are protected. You can do this by checking your IP address for DNS LEAKS
. Only if you feel comfortably hidden from prying eyes will you want to continue. STEP THREE: Creating an Anonymous Wallet
There are several different ways to to this
, but the easiest way is to use the code at bitadress.org
. Thanks to SpenserHanson
for creating this thread
which describes the process in detail:
STEP FOUR: Funding the Anonymous Wallet
- Save bitaddress.org.html to your computer
- Close browser.
- Disable computer Wi-Fi.
- Open bitaddress.org.html in browser.
- Generate an address and record the private keys.
- Close the browser window.
- Go home. Think about what you are about to do.
Funding your wallet will be the most difficult part of this process. Obviously you don't want to go to a site like Coinbase or Mt. Gox and link up you bank account, then start sending coins to your anonymous address. That would be stupid. Very stupid.
Probably the best way to get coins is to know someone who is willing to send you a few, but even then you lead a trail back to your friend.
My suggestion is to make cash deposits through ZipZap or Bitinstant, and give them false information (for example, use the new email you created, over the TOR network, from a site like Hotmail or Yahoo, which doesn't require a phone number to sign up – I'm looking at you Gmail. Make sure your new account forwards your email to yet another account, perhaps Tormail or a temp address. You probably won't need to use the email more than once anyway, for confirmation, if you need it. And you might want to create a new address with every deposit, just to be safe). There are other options of course. Some companies will sell you Bitcoins anonymously through Bank of America cash deposits. But remember that the moment you walk into a Big Bank and give them money, you are caught on camera. Maybe offer a homeless man some money to make the deposit for you. And hope he doesn't just pocket your money. Regardless, you want to stay away from Big Banks if you can. It really isn't that hard.
If you absolutely must make deposits from your bank account, you could send your coins to an anonymous online wallet first and then to cold storage, but make sure to use several mixing services over a period of several days. And then have trouble sleeping at night.
Another great idea is to use the localbitcoins website
; meet with a seller locally; pay cash and GTFO. STEP FOUR: Spending from the Anonymous Wallet
If you are looking to CASH OUT, there aren't many anonymous options besides meeting with somebody and selling face to face. You could always sign up for your own account at localbitcoins, then hope a buyer contacts you. But this guide isn't about making money, it's about spending your coins.
To buy things, you'll want to go to back to the library, connect through TAILS, download a lite client like Electrum and access your account. Every time you want to spend, you will have to re-download, but it should not take more than a few minutes. And though you are probably safe enough to spend directly from the client, if you really want to be safe you should send the funds to a second wallet though a mixing service, then to a third or fourth or fifth wallet, also through mixing services. These “Mixing Wallets” should NOT be created using the TOR network because the TOR exit node may be monitored. I've never had a problem myself, but it's theoretically possible that an attacker could record the password/private keys for the hosted wallet and steal your coins. Which is why you should NEVER USE THE SAME ACCOUNT TWICE. And never access your cold storage wallet through the net. That would be very very bad.
To created the mixing wallets you will also need a way to hide your identify without using TOR. The best way to do this is to sign up for a VPN service though a public WiFi hotspot and then pay in Bitcoin. The best service I have found is called Private Internet Access
. You can access their service through a public computer, connect to the VPN, and voila, you now can safely create mixing wallets without exposing your password to the open network. Make sure that after you mix the coins you send them all to a safe, final address, which will be your Spending Wallet.
Remaining anonymous will cost your some time and money. With each transaction you're going to have to pay for mixing, and also the transaction fee. And setting up a new email and a new account with every transaction (so that you can spread the coins across multiple fake accounts) will be bothersome but worth it in the long run. You can't put a price on piece of mind when it comes to your safety. REMEMBER
Your Spending Wallet should not contain all of your funds. The bulk of your coins should be address you created using bitaddress. Never trust an online service to hold the bulk of your funds. The recent hacks have shown that the best place to store your private key is in your head. Final Notes:
The Bitcoin protocol itself is not anonymous. And theoretically it's possible to trace every transaction back to you. This is why you need to use fake emails, many multiple addresses, and a VPN service with heavy encryption. Even with the knowledge and the technology to map the blockchain, the FEDS will have a hell of a time tracking multiple address though VPN tunneling back to a cold storage wallet that you created offline and only use to send coins over TOR. There are just too many roadblocks. Of course nothing is impossible. But I sleep very good at night knowing that my door is not going to be kicked in by the Men in Black. And even if you're not doing anything illegal, this sort of behavior is certainly suspicious.
If you were lucky enough to receive a tip from Reddit's own bitcoinbillionaire
(I myself was not) and you haven't cashed out. Create a VPN-tunneled throwaway account and tip yourself before claiming your coins. Then send them through a mixing service and to your cold storage address. Now you're on your way to being an anonymous spender.
I hope this guide helps. I really do. The purpose of Bitcoin isn't to make money. It's to protect the money that you already have, and to protect your identity in places where your identity is compromised.
Everybody in the world wants your money, especially the richest of the rich. You ought to do everything you can to keep yourself safe. Especially if you live in a compromised geography. TL;DR: Go directly to jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.
EDIT: Some typos.
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