Bitcoin anonymity is just a big myth – and using it to launder dirty money is stupid, a crypto ATM chief says

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  • A big misconception about bitcoin is that it’s anonymous and untraceable, CoinFlip’s Ben Weiss said.
  • Using bitcoin to launder money is one of the stupidest things to do, he said.
  • Bitcoin addresses have no name attached, but transactions can be linked to identities with some effort.
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Many people think bitcoin transactions can be anonymous or untraceable, but they’re misunderstanding how the process works, Ben Weiss, CEO of crypto ATM operator CoinFlip, said at a webinar on digital assets this week.

“It’s not anonymous. It’s pseudo-anonymous. You can’t buy any large amount of bitcoin without KYC or ID or driver’s licenses,” he said, referring to “know your customer” and similar identification checks.

“Bitcoin is actually more transparent in many ways than typical things in the financial system,” he added.

The perception is that because the digital currency is often associated with illegal activity, then it must shield the identity of the user. But that is not true, Weiss said.

The bitcoin addresses may not have names registered to them, but in practice, they can be linked to real-world identities, he noted. That’s because every investor is required to log their personal information before they buy the cryptocurrency.

A recent incident, the recovery of much of the $4.4 million ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline to a Russia-linked hacker group, raised questions as to whether bitcoin is free from government control and manipulation.

What isn’t well-known is that relevant enforcement agencies can track down bitcoin purchases, if they are prepared to put in sufficient effort, Weiss said.

That’s why one of the most stupid things anyone could do would be to attempt to launder dirty money using bitcoin, Weiss said. The US government can track bitcoin transactions with the help of blockchain analysts and through serving seizure warrants authorized by district courts, he said.

“You’re really playing with fire if you tried to today,” he said, adding that bitcoin transactions are more traceable than cash.

Tax is one area where some people are still learning that they are out in the open when it comes to cryptocurrency transactions. Many US taxpayers may not realize that if they fail to report crypto assets when filing their annual returns, these may be discovered and there may be consequences. Transactions on the blockchain are not hidden, and the records are public.

To hunt out unreported crypto-related income, the US Internal Revenue Service has launched “Operation Hidden Treasure“. A dedicated team of IRS criminal investigation professionals is seeking out and targeting taxpayers who are not listing cryptocurrency transactions on their tax returns.

Read More: Morningstar lays out the 10 highest-conviction bets being made by US stock-pickers right now – and shares 4 Big Tech names that look cheap

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Elon Musk has been criticized for his ‘trolling’ crypto tweets in a video claimed to have been made by Anonymous

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Elon Musk.

  • “Hacktivists” Anonymous may have been behind a video attacking Elon Musk’s cryptocurrency comments.
  • The video accuses Musk of constantly trolling the crypto markets with tweets that “destroyed lives.”
  • It follows an 8% slide in bitcoin’s value after Musk hinted at a split with the digital token.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A YouTube video claimed to have been made by “hacktivist” group Anonymous targeted Elon Musk for “constantly trolling” cryptocurrency markets.

The video, which was posted on Saturday, accused the Tesla CEO of playing with the crypto markets with his tweets.

A person wearing a Guy Fawkes mask and speaking with a digitally modified voice, said: “For the past several years you have enjoyed one of the most favorable reputations of anyone in the billionaire class because you have tapped into the desire that many of us have to live in a world with electric cars and space exploration.”

The person added: “Recently‚Ķ people are beginning to see you as another narcissistic rich due who is desperate for attention.”

As Forbes pointed out, however, it’s not easy to verify whether the video was genuinely posted by Anonymous. The outlet noted the most popular Twitter Anonymous account, YourAnonNews has already denied being behind the video.

When asked if they could confirm the video was published by them, the tweeted response was: “Again, all the best – but no,” Forbes reported.

There’s no doubt though that Musk is very vocal when it comes to the subject of cryptocurrencies. Over the last few months, he has tweeted to comment on various crypto tokens. On some occasions, their values have either plunged or soared following his tweets.

Most recently, Musk signaled a potential split with bitcoin by posting a broken-heart emoji to Twitter, after which the cryptocurrency slid by as much as 8% on Friday.

His tweet came three weeks after Tesla suspended bitcoin payments over the negative environmental impact of cryptocurrency mining.

The hacking group claimed that his “erratic” public behavior in relation to cryptocurrencies “show a clear disregard for the average working person.”

The video targeting Musk gained more than a million views in 24 hours. It ended by saying: “You may think you are the smartest person in the room, but now you have met your match. We are Anonymous! We are legion. Expect us.”

Anonymous is a loosely affiliated group of hackers specializing in everything from data retrieval to network shutdowns.

It experienced renewed internet fame last year after a video calling out the Minneapolis Police Department went viral, as Insider reported.

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