Tracking Mixed Bitcoins

17 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2021

See all articles by Tin Tironsakkul

Tin Tironsakkul

Heriot-Watt University

Manuel Maarek

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Andrea Eross

Heriot-Watt University

Mike Just

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: September 29, 2020

Abstract

Mixer services purportedly remove all connections between the input (deposited) Bitcoins and the output (withdrawn) mixed Bitcoins, seemingly rendering taint analysis tracking ineffectual. In this paper, we introduce and explore a novel tracking strategy, called Address Taint Analysis, that adapts from existing transaction-based taint analysis techniques for tracking Bitcoins that have passed through a mixer service. We also investigate the potential of combining address taint analysis with address clustering and backward tainting. We further introduce a set of filtering criteria that reduce the number of false-positive results based on the characteristics of withdrawn transactions and evaluate our solution with verifiable mixing transactions of nine mixer services from previous reverse-engineering studies. Our finding shows that it is possible to track the mixed Bitcoins from the deposited Bitcoins using address taint analysis and the number of potential transaction outputs can be significantly reduced with the filtering criteria.

Keywords: cryptocurrency, taint analysis, mixer service

Suggested Citation

Tironsakkul, Tin and Maarek, Manuel and Eross, Andrea and Just, Mike, Tracking Mixed Bitcoins (September 29, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3701657 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3701657

Tin Tironsakkul (Contact Author)

Heriot-Watt University ( email )

Edinburgh
United Kingdom

Manuel Maarek

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Andrea Eross

Heriot-Watt University ( email )

Mary Burton Building
School of Social Sciences
Edinburgh, Midlothian EH14 4AS
United Kingdom

Mike Just

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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