The Mystery of Bitcoin- Anonymity, Pseudonymity, and Crime


Lucas A. Meyer, GPT-3.5, Stable Diffusion 2.1


May 9, 2023

The Mystery of Bitcoin: Anonymity, Pseudonymity, and Crime

As a fan of mystery novels and TV series, I find myself captivated by the intricate plots and unexpected twists that keep me on the edge of my seat. Currently, my favorite is “Slow Horses.”

In many of these mystery stories, a common thread emerges: the use of bitcoin to pay for illegal activities. This digital currency, shrouded in mystery, is often portrayed as the perfect tool for criminals. However, the reality is far more complex and fascinating, much like the plot of a well-crafted mystery novel.

Imagine the bitcoin ledger as a vast, intricate tapestry, with each transaction woven into its fabric. This tapestry is visible to everyone, and its threads stretch back to the very beginning of time. In the world of crime and mystery, using bitcoin is akin to leaving a trail of breadcrumbs that can be followed back to the perpetrator… forever.

This brings us to the crucial distinction between anonymity and pseudonymity. While bitcoin transactions may appear anonymous, they are, in fact, pseudonymous. Each transaction is linked to a unique identifier, much like a character in a novel using a pseudonym to conceal their true identity. However, as any avid mystery reader knows, the truth eventually comes to light.

The moment the actor uses bitcoin in a way that can be connected to their real identity, the veil of pseudonymity is lifted. If that identity is linked to a crime or to other identities connected to criminal activities, bitcoin offers the possibility of tracing the money back to the crime for a very long time, like a detective meticulously unraveling the threads of a complex case.

Now, you might be wondering if I am giving away too much information. Fear not, dear reader! The sophisticated bad actors in our mystery tales are already well aware of this, and the unsophisticated ones don’t read my LinkedIn posts… only the sophisticated ones do!