Good Day All.

Senario. If i pay ransom-ware to bitcoin address "aaabbbccc". I can tell via blockchain when it goes through. I would just like to know am i able to trace all transactions from wallet "aaabbbccc" to another wallet "xxyyyzzz". then from "xxxyyyzzz" all transactions from then onwards.

And if one can do this, at somepoint the money must make it to real currency and or goods. which must be linked to a person or delivery address.

So if like that why cant they trace the ransomware culpirits.

Thanks very much

  • There exists bitcoin tumblers where you send bitcoins to and they give you totally unrelated bitcoins in return. So if the criminals are smart then you will never ever be able to trace them to their real identities. – mishmash Sep 5 '17 at 13:09

There's a core of truth in your question. Indeed, eventually it will reach a point where you can trace it. But there might have been a lot of transactions/hops before that happens.

If it has switched that many hands, how can you be sure that it is still in the hands of the cybercriminals? The money might have been yours but it has been used in quite a few legit transactions. On top of that, finding out the identity of the last person doesn't help in catching the bad guy.

  • 1
    Also, the money can reach an exchange or a mixer, which will make tracing exponentially harder. – alcio Sep 5 '17 at 9:59
  • Exponentially in function of what? – Pieter Wuille Nov 12 '18 at 1:04

Since each Bitcoin isn't tagged in any sort of way, it can get difficult to trace the tokens if they are transferred to an exchange or tumbler/shuffler. Before they go to one of those, it should be easy to trace though.

With the current system it's easier to monitor an account then a Bitcoin since each Bitcoin doesn't have some sort of unique ID, while accounts do.

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