If all transactions are public knowledge and coins are identifiable and thus traceable. With the power of subpoena can't a government uncover who bought the coin(s) from an exchange. It might be unlikely but this appears to be a big hole in claim that bitcoins are an anonymous currency. Or do I misunderstand the technology?

  • @Lohoris There's good info there but everyone is focusing on securing a single transaction not the coin history and more broadly exchanging coins to other currencies. Example: If a government sees a coin go to a known "bad" address then to an exchange. They can then subpoena the exchange and the "bad" person is caught.
    – David
    May 3, 2013 at 23:56
  • yes, that is a known fact.
    – o0'.
    May 4, 2013 at 8:09
  • This is true, but likely criminals would find ways of laundering like they do with conventional fiat currencies - something like shared send (blockchain.info/wallet/send-shared) comes to mind. May 4, 2013 at 18:14
  • @GeorgePearce Great link, I'm frustrated that kind of anonymity isn't built in but glad to know about that
    – David
    May 4, 2013 at 23:45


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