Bitcoin tumbling (mixing) is the process of using a third-party service to break the connection between a Bitcoin address sending coins and the address they are sent to. It’s a method of securing the privacy of your BTC by mixing it with other people’s coins, or new coins.
And it is not a very hard process to do. Once you understand the basics you’ll be able to tumble each of your crypto transactions within minutes to make your online anonymity even greater.
Why Do You Need to Tumble Bitcoins?
Since the Bitcoin blockchain is a public ledger that records every transaction, mixing coins is critical for anyone who doesn’t want the entire world to know exactly where they send and store their BTC, or from where they receive it.
Properly mixing coins may seem like a tough task to those who aren’t very familiar with blockchain, but it is actually a simple process that will only take a few minutes of your time for each deposit.
There are good reasons for everyone to mix their coins:
- Precaution must be taken when using Dark Net Markets(DNM). New tools are being built all the time to increase the ability of the public, as well as private corporations and government agencies, to follow coins through the blockchain and track those who use it.
- Visiting gambling sites. Recently there have been complaints on forums about Coinbase after using gambling sites. Coinbase explicitly states in their user agreement that sites like this are not acceptable. So if you are going to do some bitcoin scrambling from Coinbase, you’d better tumble the coins beforehand.
It may seem like a waste of time now, but in the near future, it may be simple for anyone- including friends, relatives, employers, and law enforcement, to track every BTC transaction you’ve ever made and see exactly where it ended up.
How to Mix Bitcoins?
There are many methods of anonymity one can take by obfuscating their IP address, using a VPN, and surfing the net with an anonymizing browser.
However, today we will discuss another method of privacy called coin tumbling, coin join, or coin shuffling. There are also altcoins that practice this natively within every transaction, but we will focus on using tumblers with Bitcoin.
Coin tumbling platforms basically shuffle a bunch of transactions together like a deck of cards where eventually everyone gets the money back while obfuscating the origin of the funds.
There are tons of websites that will mix your coins on the clearnet or over the hidden web using Tor, for example. Some sites include Bitcoin laundry, Bitmix, Bitlaundry, and even Blockchain.info has offered a mixing service within their interface.
How does Bitcoin mixing work?
It might help to first understand that every crypto transaction is available for public inspection in the blockchain.
Note that the actual bitcoins are not trackable, only the amounts, addresses, and the transactions – this is important.
To be able to complete a transfer of bitcoins, you need to know the private key for an address and know the transaction ID of an unspent transaction sending the coins to that address. You don’t just send someone 1BTC, you send them 1BTC out of the 1.2BTC you received from person X. In other words, the balance of an address is the sum of the unspent transactions and each transaction clearly shows where the bitcoins came from.
A tumbler attempts to sever the links between your old address and a new address by sending coins from you to other people and coins from them to you. It also randomizes transaction amounts and sometimes adds time delays to the transactions.
Generally, there should be no link between the original transactions and the final address of the coins.
In this guide we attempt to provide the simplest possible step-by-step instructions to help users who are not familiar with tumbling bitcoins process to do it safely. To mix your coins using this method, you will need:
Step #1: Create a wallet on the clearnet. (Wallet #1)
Step #2: Buy Bitcoins, and send the amount you want to mix to wallet #1.
Step #3: Create a second wallet, this time over the Tor network. (wallet #2)
Step #4: Send your bitcoins from wallet #1 directly to wallet #2.
Step #5: Create a third wallet, also over the Tor network. (wallet #3).
Step #6: Select which mixer you will be using, and set up your transaction there using the address(s) from wallet #3. It is best to use multiple addresses and to set random time delays.
Step #7: Send the coins from wallet #2, over Tor, to the address generated for you by the mixer.
Step #9: You can use Blockchain.info’s Tor hidden service to watch for your coins to arrive from the mixer. Once they have, restart Tor and then send the coins to your market address (or their eventual destination)!
How to Tumble Your Bitcoins Online with Mixing Services?
There are multiple bitcoin laundering services available. The type of tumbler to use will depend on your token. But of course, one cannot expect to use a service designed for mixing a certain digital currency to shuffle another (i.e., using a Bitcoin tumbler to mix up Litecoin).
When the funds are clean, then there is no point in mixing up the Bitcoin since suspicions are not likely to be raised.
In one of our previous posts we have reviewed the most popular and reliable online mixing services:
- Bitcoin Laundry
- Bitcoin Fog
How to Tumble Bitcoins in Wallet?
If you do not think that online mixing service is enough to cover your privacy (you never know where you can come across a shapeshift), you can protect your assets’ origin by creating multiple wallets.
So how to tumble bitcoins with electrum wallet?
- To add more privacy to your transactions, you should probably do so over the deep web with multiple layers of obfuscation. The first thing to do is send BTC to a wallet using clearnet and also create a wallet from the Tor browser.
- The second process is sending the Bitcoin you want to mix from the clearnet wallet to the one created via the hidden web. This method is called the first hop and adds just another layer of confusion.
- Next, using the last wallet you created you can continue creating a few wallets over Tor and completing hops depending on how far you want to go with privacy.
- Lastly, simply choose a trusted Bitcoin mixing service and take precaution on making sure the URL is 100% correct.
Is There a Minimum to How Many Bitcoins You Can Tumble?
Most of the mixer services have the minimum amount that you can shuffle. E.g. BestMixer.io requires you to have a minimum transfer of 0.005 BTC, BCH, or LTC. And on PrivCoin.io there is a minimum of 0.01BTC/transaction. The minimum transaction 0.001BTC is required by CryptoMixer, any amount lower than this is considered a donation, like in the case of PriveCoin, and isn’t sent back to the customer. So make sure you read the rules of the mixer before transferring any coins there.
But beware, when dealing with very large amounts of coins, this will be harder to achieve. Consider laundering your coins in smaller chunks.
How Long to Tumble Bitcoins?
The complete process can easily be done within 20 minutes and when it comes to protecting your privacy at all costs: that isn’t much time. Also, when you have practiced bitcoin tumbling a couple of times it will become a very standard thing for you to do.
And it is something worth doing if you value your privacy and want to make sure you never lose any coins!
How Much Does Mixing Bitcoin Cost?
Nearly all mixing services will charge a fee for using their platform to shuffle your coins, and some of them can be rather substantial. However, some provide a really good layer of anonymity with their pricier services.
MixTum.io will charge you 5% Fee from your transaction as well as a network fee 0.00015 BTC. While CryptoMixer will charge you 0.5%, with an additional 0.0005BTC for every deposited transaction. And BitBlender has a randomized fee of 1-3%.
Different mixers take different amounts, but be wary of anything that looks too good to be true. Some take a small but random percentage to make their transactions more difficult to trace.
How to Stay Anonymous?
If you want to maximize your privacy, here are a few more tips to follow:
- The Tor Browser should be sufficient for most users, but if you want to be sure that you leave no trace, use a hardened live operating system like TAILS.
- Use only those services that do not store cookies or any other personal information.
- Private burner emails. There are plenty of private burner email services out there, as you will get multiple emails when registering your new wallets.
- Delete your notes: We recommended copying down details about your addresses, mix IDs, and PGP guarantees in an encrypted note during the process. When you’re finished and the bitcoin has arrived in your wallet, delete the note.
- Multiple wallets: Use separate wallets and even different accounts if you really want to lay low. This makes managing your bitcoin more tedious, but that’s the price you pay for being invisible.
- Create new wallets and accounts with new email addresses every time. Bitcoin mixing services are likely being watched closely by government agencies and others, so any wallets you send money to or from them could be monitored as well.
- Double check onion links: Tor hidden services, also known as onion sites, do not have SSL certificates. That means it can be difficult to discern if you’re using a genuine site or a forgery.
Everyone has its own reasons to shuffle their coins. Just remember, you should always do your research before using Bitcoin tumbling services and use the ones with the best reviews and highest levels of trust.