Qatari Researchers Identified Users Behind Illegal Bitcoin Transactions

February 6, 2018

A group of researchers from Qatar University and from the Hamad Bin Khalifa University identified users behind illegal bitcoin transactions that was proceeded several years ago. They linked these transactions to real people, found their names, places of residence and some other personal data. 

Many of those people have purchased drugs on a famous darknet market Silk Road 5 years ago. The goal of the study was to show, how it is easy to trace illegal bitcoin transactions, especially if users do not take necessary steps to hide their addresses and protect themselves.

A researcher of Qatar University Husam Al Jawaheri said: 

"The retroactive operational security of bitcoin is low. When things are recorded in the blockchain, you can go back in history and reveal this information, to break the anonymity of users".

Researchers have successfully matched more than 100 darknet transactions with addresses owned by Twitter and Bitcoin Talk users that was published by them. Many of these users donated to Wikileaks and made purchases in darknet marketplaces using Tor. The study reveals that from 46 out of 125 illegal transactions were donations to WikiLeaks and 22 transactions were proceeded to buy drugs. Researchers have not disclosed any personal data that was found during the study. However, all these users have already identified themselves and if someone would do the same work that was made by the researches and link illegal transactions to these users, then they might be in trouble. 

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