Dusting Attack: The Latest Threat To Bitcoin Privacy
We all know that most cryptocurrencies are merely pseudonymous. But still many people think that it is hard to link your real world identity or the just link the wallets you own by taking few obvious steps. Now there is a privacy attack designed specifically to take care of that.
Bitcoin Dusting Attack
First of all I'd like to thank Samourai Wallet Team for bringing this to attention. A great deal if information and explanations can be found on this subreddit. I encourage you to give it a read if you are interested in your privacy. Things were actually pretty bad to begin with. Web merchants routinely leak data about purchases which can be used to make straightforward links to individuals with their Bitcoin purchases. This was generally done through web trackers and cookies. You can read more here.
Only Efficient Privacy Can Solve This
Obsessive privacy is not going to help. Nobody wants to spend few dollars in Tx fees to buy coffee. @pivx is actually this best achiever in this with about 20% of the supply turned to zPIV while offering transactions that merely cost a few cents. Zcash has a lot of developments going on that attempt to make their whole system more efficient. Dash has already got the most advanced and sophisticated mixing pool and ultra cheap transactions. The problem is the low volume. compared to something like @pivx But along with increased usability and merchant network (currently they are getting almost 100 new merchants a week) Dash will eventually be a perfect option.
But Why Bitcoin?
This is a very important question that many would simply overlook thinking hat BTC is the biggest crypto by marketcap. But it also has the biggest trading volume. So why start with just BTC? The answer lies in Tx fees. These Dust Attackers are betting that the BTC will be dominant and popular and they are trying to de-anonymize as many addresses as fast as possible. The more de-anonymized users you have, the easier it is to de-anonymize the rest. This could easily be provided as a service by a company like Bitfury who proudly release articles like this one about analyzing Bitcoin Addresses.
Help Privacy Coin Adoption - It's The Only Way
Third party mixing can easily be honeypots. If your electronic cash doesn't have in-built privacy, it's not a real P2P cash. Period. It's also good to no spend non-private coins when you can help it. There will always be blockchain analysis. You can't shut these companies (or governments) down. Just make their lives incredibly difficult without much cost. that's the most efficient way you can help.
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