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Bitcoin Anonymity Over? United States Government Seeks Identity, Transaction Records of Coinbase Users

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The U.S. government is seeking the identity of Coinbase users for tax purposes, sparking fears that Bitcoin’s anonymity may be compromised. According to a legal summons filed in the Northern California District Court, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) seeks to identify several Coinbase users and their financial activity, based on evidence that they may have violated U.S. tax laws: “Based upon a review of the petition and supporting documents, the Court has determined that the “John Doe” summons to Coinbase, Inc. relates to the investigation of an ascertainable group or class of persons, that there is a reasonable basis for believing that such group or class of persons has failed or may have failed to comply with any provision of any internal revenue laws, and that the information sought to be obtained from the examination of the records or testimony (and the identities of the persons with respect to whose liability the summons is issued) are not readily available from other sources.” As indicated by the summons, two things are clear: one, the IRS has tracked Bitcoin-related activity sufficiently to be able to determine that certain users may not be in compliance with tax law, and two, this activity …

Trump-Connected Billionaire Peter Thiel: Bitcoin Threatens Fiat, Tax Authorities Can’t Break Codes

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Over the past few years, Peter Thiel, a prominent venture capitalist with a net worth of $2.7 bln, spoke of the threat Bitcoin poses to fiat money and the financial freedom it grants to its users. Thiel, who appeared on the Economist’s Keynote interview, stated: “It becomes a threat to fiat money at a point where Bitcoin is encrypted in such a robust way that the tax authorities can’t break the encryption, can’t tell how much money you have, and what transactions you are doing.” Trump’s transition team involvement Currently, Thiel’s stance on Bitcoin is notable considering his involvement in President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, establishing himself as a crucial member. He emphasizes that the decentralized nature of Bitcoin allows users and citizens of the U.S. to benefit from financial freedom and escape the monopoly of the government. More importantly, he notes that tax authorities will no longer be able to track the earnings and income of entrepreneurs, workers and other individuals that are forced to deal with extreme amounts of income taxes among others. Anonymity of Bitcoin Thiel believes that Bitcoin is anonymous and that authorities can’t tell how much money users have. Conceptually however, this statement is false. …

8 Major Bitcoin Debit Cards: How Private and Anonymous Are They?

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CoinTelegraph contacted the eight major providers of Bitcoin debit cards with the question: Can Bitcoin debit cards really be private or anonymous? Below are the results, categorized by region and level of disclosure required. Financial privacy: Bitcoin vs. banks One of the main advantages of using Bitcoin over traditional funding methods is privacy. When a Bitcoin transaction is sent, its record is permanent and public on the blockchain, but not tied to any particular identity. Many users, such as those who frequented the Silk Road, prefer Bitcoin for exactly this reason: it’s anonymous and private. However, one of the major challenges of using Bitcoin is the limited number of merchants and services that accept it as payment. Enter Bitcoin debit cards, a product that takes Bitcoin and converts it into currency for use at traditional merchants. The challenge with Bitcoin debit cards is that, by and large, they tend to require the same level of financial disclosure of traditional financial institutions. While this is still an advantage over banks, which can shut down the account of a customer at any time under any pretense (especially under pressure from government), it still does not constitute financial privacy. Full identification (US) Coinbase Coinbase has …

Our Mixing Services Compounding Bitcoin’s PR Problem?

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Many people are drawn to Bitcoin and virtual currencies for the illusion of being able to move funds around in an anonymous way. However, with the blockchain acting as a transparent ledger, there is no such thing as anonymity in the Bitcoin space. Unless Bitcoin users actively use mixing and anonymizing services, that is. But do these services harm Bitcoin’s public image, or are they beneficial to the ecosystem?   Bitcoin Mixers and Anonymizing Services: Even More PR Problems The transparency associated with Bitcoin and other virtual currencies is something companies are more than happy to embrace. Accounting becomes a lot easier, and there is no way to hide any illegal activity on the blockchain. Plus, there is still a certain level of pseudonymity, as all Bitcoin users are identified through a wallet address, without publicly exposing any personal information. Despite all of these positive features, Bitcoin still has a public relations problem, as most people see the virtual currency as a safe haven for money laundering, fraud, and illegal trading. Such a train of thought is quite odd, as Bitcoin is not anonymous and is one of the worst possible options to launder money. Additionally, there is no chance …