What is a cryptocurrency mixer and how does it work?

What is a cryptocurrency mixer and how does it work?

This guide will explain how cryptocurrency mixers and Bitcoin tumblers mix potentially traceable coins, making it harder to track transactions.

Can you trace a cryptocurrency tumbler or Bitcoin mixers?

Due to crypto mixing services, it is tough to track specific coins because all the coins are pooled together and then distributed at random intervals.

Cryptocurrency tumblers let retailers rewrite their crypto history by constructing a custom blockchain utilizing a variety of digital currencies. They route transactions through a complex semi-random network of other fictitious exchanges, making it difficult for users to link currencies to specific exchanges. Thus, coins cannot be traced if moved through a tumbling service.

Bitcoin tumblers and Bitcoin mixers are two alternative techniques to muddle the blockchain of traces of tranfered BTC. Despite the fact that they both accomplish the same thing, Bitcoin tumbler is for people who wish to trust a third party, while Bitcoin mixer is for people who don’t trust anyone. 

BitMix is a Bitcoin tumbler and mixer application that provides anonymous transactions by routing all payments through its own system, taking advantage of BTC’s inherent anonymity capabilities and making it hard to track coins. 

On the other hand, many tools follow the currency’s usages by combining public blockchain data with known addresses of threat actors. This information is evaluated to determine money laundering transactions and the use of currency swaps and mixers.

Are crypto mixers illegal?

Whether using coin mixing services is illegal or not is determined by the jurisdiction in which you reside. Also, are Bitcoin mixers necessary? Or, is tumbling crypto legitimate? It depends on your goals for using these services.

Using mixers to disguise crypto transactions is criminal conduct, according to former United States Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski. For instance, Bitcoin’s key functionality is privacy instead of anonymity, which means your identity is not always revealed, but your transactions can be audited to investigate any misconduct. So, is Bitcoin mixing illegal?

Bitcoin mixers are classified as money transmitters by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Therefore, they must register with FinCEN and apply for a state-by-state license to operate. An Ohio citizen was arrested in 2021 on allegations of money laundering conspiracy because he ran a Bitcoin mixing service on the dark web. The service operated as an unregistered money transmitting business and conducted money transmission without a license despite the FinCEN’s mandatory licensing requirements.

How do cryptocurrency mixers work?

The concept of crypto tumblers or mixers is to run a trade’s digital signatures via a “black box” that hides them. 

Crypto mixers are programs that mash up a certain quantity of cryptocurrency in private pools before transferring it to its designated receivers. For instance, a Bitcoin explorer, which keeps track of all BTC deals, will show that person A transferred Bitcoin to a mixer and that person B received BTC from a mixer. In this way, no one knows who sent BTC and to whom. Therefore, dirty Bitcoin is laundered in the crypto mixing process.

Coin mixers function by taking your cryptocurrency and mixing it with a large pile of another cryptocurrency before returning you smaller units of crypto to an address of your choice, with the total amount you put in minus 1-3%. The coin mixing firm usually collects 1-3% profit, which is how they earn a living.

Coin mixing is comparable to money laundering in that it is criminal conduct. Just because someone engages in coin mixing, however, does not indicate they are committing a crime. Instead, it simply means that they want to increase the privacy of their cryptocurrency transactions.

What are the types of crypto coin mixing services?

Cryptocurrency mixing services are categorized into two types, custodial and noncustodial coin mixers.

Custodial mixing occurs when users submit their “tainted” currencies to a trusted third party, returning “clean” coins after a timeout. However, this technique is insufficient because the users lose possession of their money during the mixing process. As a result, the trusted mixing party may steal funds in the case of custodial mixers.

The use of publicly verifiable and transparent smart contracts or secure multi-party computation to replace the trusted mixing party is a frequent element in noncustodial mixers. The process for noncustodial mixing consists of two steps. 

Users first deposit the same amount of Ether (ETH) or other tokens into a mixer contract from address A. Then, after a user-defined time interval, they can withdraw their deposited coins via a withdrawal transaction to a new address B. 

Schematic representation of non-custodial mixers on Ethereum

Users can confirm to the mixer contract that they deposited without exposing the deposit transaction they issued by using one of several accessible cryptographic techniques such as ring signatures and zk-SNARKs in the withdrawal transaction.

What is a cryptocurrency mixer?

The rapid expansion of cryptocurrencies and the development of crypto infrastructure and vulnerabilities like crypto mixers or tumblers have been a source of concern for government agencies in charge of financial security.

Many people use crypto mixers to keep their cryptocurrency transactions private by mixing potentially identifiable cryptocurrency funds with vast sums of other funds. These services are often used to anonymize fund transfers between services and do not require Know Your Customer (KYC) checks.

As a result, the risk of employing crypto mixers to launder money or conceal earnings is pretty considerable. Mixers and online gambling sites have the most severe money laundering issues, as they process the vast majority of dirty currencies. Mixers, for example, have consistently processed about a quarter of all incoming illicit Bitcoin (BTC) each year, while the proportion laundered through exchanges and gambling has remained relatively steady (66 to 72%).

There are two types of Bitcoin mixers: namely centralized and decentralized mixers. Companies that receive Bitcoin and send back different BTC for a fee are known as centralized mixers, providing a simple solution for tumbling Bitcoin. 

Decentralized mixers use protocols like CoinJoin to obfuscate transactions using either a completely coordinated or peer-to-peer (P2P) approach. Essentially, the protocol allows a big group of users to pool an amount of BTC and then redistribute it such that everyone receives one Bitcoin. Still, no one can know who received what or where it originated from.

Other types of coin mixers include obfuscation-based and zero-knowledge-based mixers. Obfuscation-based mixers, often called decoy-based mixers, employ ways to conceal a user’s transaction graph. An adversary with sufficient resources, on the other hand, can recreate the transaction graph using a variety of ways. 

On the contrary, zero-knowledge-based mixers rely heavily on advanced cryptographic techniques like zero-knowledge proofs to fully erase the transaction graph. The most significant disadvantage of this strategy is that it necessitates extensive cryptography, which may limit scalability.

Read More
European Union’s MiCA Proposal Progresses to Trilogue Stage Without Bitcoin Ban Provision

European Union’s MiCA Proposal Progresses to Trilogue Stage Without Bitcoin Ban Provision

European Union’s MiCA Proposal Progresses to Trilogue Stage Without Bitcoin Ban ProvisionThe Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulatory package passed another potential hurdle this week and is moving to the next stage of the EU’s legislative process. Proponents of a controversial text prohibiting proof-of-work (PoW) cryptocurrencies, which was recently dropped from the draft, did not take an opportunity to block the draft’s progress. EU Parliament, Commission […]
Read More

Russian Prime Minister, Economy Ministry Support Legalization of Cryptocurrencies

Russian Prime Minister, Economy Ministry Support Legalization of CryptocurrenciesPrime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and the Russian Ministry of Economic Development have backed efforts to regulate cryptocurrencies and integrate them into the country’s economy. The support comes amid mounting sanctions over the war in Ukraine which restrict Russia’s access to global finances. Finance Ministry’s Push to Legalize Russian Crypto Space Gains Traction Russian authorities are […]
Read More
Bitcoin, Ethereum Technical Analysis: BTC, ETH Begin Weekend Close to Key Resistance Levels

Bitcoin, Ethereum Technical Analysis: BTC, ETH Begin Weekend Close to Key Resistance Levels

Bitcoin and ethereum began the weekend trading close to key resistance levels, as crypto markets continued to sustain recent gains. Overall, the global cryptocurrency market cap was marginally higher on Saturday, as traders prepared for this weekend’s session. Bitcoin BTC is currently trading 6% higher than at the beginning of the week, this coming as […]
Read More

Central Bank of Honduras Discredits Bitcoin Legal Tender Speculation

Central Bank of Honduras Discredits Bitcoin Legal Tender SpeculationOn March 23, Honduras’ central bank issued a clarification on crypto assets such as bitcoin, and noted that digital currencies are not legal tender or regulated in the country. The announcement, posted via Honduras’ central bank official Twitter account, comes after lots of speculation about the Honduran president, Xiomara Castro, allegedly going to declare bitcoin […]
Read More
LG Electronics adds blockchain and crypto as new areas of business

LG Electronics adds blockchain and crypto as new areas of business

South Korean tech giant LG Electronics has officially updated its business development goals to include cryptocurrency and blockchain-based software.

South Korean tech giant LG Electronics has officially added blockchain and cryptocurrency as new business areas in its corporate charter. 

According to a local South Korean news report, LG added two distinct crypto-related objectives during its annual general meeting on Thursday, March 24. The objectives include “the development and selling of blockchain-based software” and “the sale and brokerage of cryptocurrency,” which led to conjecture whether LG would establish some form of crypto exchange.

When asked about the company’s intention to start its own exchange or platform, an LG spokesperson tempered any speculation, stating, “Nothing has been decided yet. We just mentioned business areas in a broad manner.”

Rumors concerning LG creating a crypto-related marketplace emerged earlier this year when Bithumb CEO Heo Baek-young confirmed that the exchange was working with “a large company” to develop an NFT marketplace.

The tech manufacturer has been on a warpath of NFT adoption and integration, announcing earlier this month that it was working with blockchain tech company Kakao’s Ground X to introduce a line of smart TVs that are fully NFT-capable. LG also announced a partnership with Seoul Auction Blue, an online art auctioneer to carry out further projects related to NFT-based artworks.

Related: South Korea’s leading blockchain facing greater competition in NFT market

LG’s announcements come as fellow tech giants and South Korea, more broadly, continue to adopt cryptocurrencies and blockchain-related tech. Earlier this year, fellow South Korean tech giant Samsung, announced that it would be launching an NFT platform for its smart TVs as well as launching its own store in the Decentraland metaverse.

Most notably, the country elected crypto-friendly President Yoon Suk-yeol earlier this month, with Yoon’s election campaign being centered around deregulating South Korea’s crypto industry as well as establishing initiatives to make the country a future home of blockchain technology “unicorns.”

Read More

Report: Gas Giant Exxon Is Running a Gas-to-Bitcoin Mining Pilot Program in North Dakota

Report: Gas Giant Exxon Is Running a Gas-to-Bitcoin Mining Pilot Program in North DakotaExxon Mobil Corporation is reportedly participating in a pilot program that leverages excess natural gas to power crypto mining machines, according to a recent report quoting people familiar with the matter. The report states that the oil giant is partnered with the firm Crusoe Energy Systems, and the pilot is purportedly taking place in North […]
Read More

Russia May Accept Bitcoin for Gas Exports, Lawmaker Says

Russia May Accept Bitcoin for Gas Exports, Lawmaker SaysRussia is moving away from the dollar and the euro as payment options for its energy exports, and bitcoin has been mentioned as a possible substitute alongside the ruble and the national currencies of partnering countries. A high-ranking parliamentarian has indicated that Moscow may take cryptocurrency for natural gas and other resources. Russian Official Mentions […]
Read More