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Evaluating User Privacy in Bitcoin

  • Elli Androulaki
  • Ghassan O. Karame
  • Marc Roeschlin
  • Tobias Scherer
  • Srdjan Capkun
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7859)

Abstract

Bitcoin is quickly emerging as a popular digital payment system. However, in spite of its reliance on pseudonyms, Bitcoin raises a number of privacy concerns due to the fact that all of the transactions that take place are publicly announced in the system.

In this paper, we investigate the privacy provisions in Bitcoin when it is used as a primary currency to support the daily transactions of individuals in a university setting. More specifically, we evaluate the privacy that is provided by Bitcoin (i) by analyzing the genuine Bitcoin system and (ii) through a simulator that faithfully mimics the use of Bitcoin within a university. In this setting, our results show that the profiles of almost 40% of the users can be, to a large extent, recovered even when users adopt privacy measures recommended by Bitcoin. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work that comprehensively analyzes, and evaluates the privacy implications of Bitcoin.

Keywords

Bitcoin user privacy privacy definitions experimental evaluation 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elli Androulaki
    • 1
  • Ghassan O. Karame
    • 2
  • Marc Roeschlin
    • 1
  • Tobias Scherer
    • 1
  • Srdjan Capkun
    • 1
  1. 1.ETH ZurichZuerichSwitzerland
  2. 2.NEC Laboratories EuropeHeidelbergGermany

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