9

I'm working on some stats and I was wondering if the relayed by IP on Blockchain.info can be used to get an approximate (country level) origin of the transaction. Would it be reasonable to assume that this transaction has been originated somewhere in Wisconsin?

The reason I ask is that, yes, the network creates a random topology, but due to verification overhead first few relay points are bound to be within a few hops from the origin.

  • Are you thinking the few milliseconds latency gives a clue that a node is near versus far away? – Stephen Gornick Jun 12 '12 at 20:56
  • Well that's what I'm wondering: can I infer something about the origin of the transaction by looking at how it propagated through the network (by sampling at a subset of the nodes)? I'm questioning the validity of such an argument. – cdecker Jun 12 '12 at 21:05
8

It is possible, but it is also quite easy to hide your activity from such inquiries. For example, lets check Address 15VjRaDX9zpbA8LVnbrCAFzrVzN7ixHNsC:

http://blockchain.info/address-relayed-ips/15VjRaDX9zpbA8LVnbrCAFzrVzN7ixHNsC

We can see that most often it appears in the USA, with a dominant IP being 69.164.218.197 . If we check that IP with another tool, we can see that it was owned by Linode. And indeed, this is the address of the Bitcoin Faucet, that used to be hosted on Linode.

However, if you were to say, start your Bitcoin with -connect flag and specify an IP that you know will be running Bitcoin most of the time and not be malicious (such as a trusted pool, the Faucet, or the like), your transactions will appear to come from that IP. Switch the IPs every now and then, and you have a total control of what other people can see the origins as.

So yes, it is possible to infer some information about what IP owns which Bitcoin Address, but it is also possible to hide such data if there are any trusted nodes on the Bitcoin network.

  • By "not malicious" do you also mean "does not collect or share 'relayed by' data with monitoring service"? – Stephen Gornick Jun 12 '12 at 21:39
  • @StephenGornick Yes. – ThePiachu Jun 12 '12 at 21:41
  • we can assume most people dont do that. So we can also assume that such a topology will be accurate for the majority of transactions. – Erik Aronesty Jun 6 '16 at 19:27
1

Since signed blocks come with Relayed by: IP address field There exist IP address resolution topology database, assigning names of mining pools to respective IP adresses.

Blockchain.info recently ceased publishing names of mining pools relaying signed blocks and started calling every party Unknown, however you can still access a database of IP addresses relaying signed blocks and database of IP assigned mining pools from and by third parties to get your stats to work.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.