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BitIodine: Extracting Intelligence from the Bitcoin Network

  • Michele Spagnuolo
  • Federico Maggi
  • Stefano Zanero
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8437)

Abstract

Bitcoin, the famous peer-to-peer, decentralized electronic currency system, allows users to benefit from pseudonymity, by generating an arbitrary number of aliases (or addresses) to move funds. However, the complete history of all transactions ever performed, called “blockchain”, is public and replicated on each node. The data it contains is difficult to analyze manually, but can yield a high number of relevant information. In this paper we present a modular framework, BitIodine, which parses the blockchain, clusters addresses that are likely to belong to a same user or group of users, classifies such users and labels them, and finally visualizes complex information extracted from the Bitcoin network. BitIodine labels users semi-automatically with information on their identity and actions which is automatically scraped from openly available information sources. BitIodine also supports manual investigation by finding paths and reverse paths between addresses or users. We tested BitIodine on several real-world use cases, identified an address likely to belong to the encrypted Silk Road cold wallet, or investigated the CryptoLocker ransomware and accurately quantified the number of ransoms paid, as well as information about the victims. We release a prototype of BitIodine as a library for building Bitcoin forensic analysis tools.

Keywords

Bitcoin Financial forensics Blockchain analysis 

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Copyright information

© International Financial Cryptography Association 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michele Spagnuolo
    • 1
  • Federico Maggi
    • 1
  • Stefano Zanero
    • 1
  1. 1.NECSTLab, DEIBPolitecnico di MilanoMilanoItaly

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