There are two main variations of a Darknet Bitcoin mixer service, but their essential goal is to mix your Dark Web Bitcoin transactions with other people’s transactions so that it’s much harder or impossible to determine where you’re Bitcoins went and what they paid for.
Anonymous transactions are important when making or taking financial transactions on the Dark Web. You need to be concerned about law enforcement tracking what you’re doing, government agencies reviewing your financial transactions, and even nefarious agents online who are looking to take your Bitcoin digitally or physically.
Dark Web Bitcoin mixer services have been around for some time, and many of the major Dark Web marketplaces even had a default Crypto Mixer service as part of their payment processing.
What Is A Dark Web Bitcoin Mixer Service?
A Bitcoin Mixer or Tumbler is a service that takes in your Bitcoin, mixes it with other users’ Bitcoin, and sends out transactions using random Bitcoin so that your transaction can’t be easily tracked.
So if you’re buying something on the Dark Web, you can use a Crypto Mixer so that anybody looking won’t be able to say that your Bitcoin address sent a transaction to another Bitcoin address linked with Dark Web products and services.
It will be possible to see that you did use a mixer, but not that it was a specific Dark Web Bitcoin Mixer service. Online reports indicate that only 10% of mixer transactions are on the Dark Web for illegal activities.
Centralized vs. Decentralized Bitcoin Mixers
There are two primary types of mixers, centralized and decentralized. It’s important to understand the difference and to determine which mixers provide what service, as some believe that decentralized Crypto Mixers are a better option to trust due to it being harder to trace those transactions.
However, there is no 100% guarantee that any Dark Web Tumblers will be able to fully obfuscate your Bitcoin transactions if somebody is determined to investigate you or the other party in your transactions.
Centralized Bitcoin Mixers
Centralized Bitcoin Mixers are a company that takes in your Bitcoin transactions, mixes your Bitcoin with other users’ Bitcoin, charges you a fee, and then completes your transaction with randomized Bitcoins that you’ve been assigned.
Your primary benefit here is that there isn’t a one-to-one tractable method from you to the person you’re transacting with. So surface checks on the blockchain won’t link your transactions.
The primary issue with centralized Crypto Mixers is that your transaction is being logged in a centralized location, and most keep those records for at least 24 hours and may be storing some information for much longer than that.
Decentralized Bitcoin Mixers
Decentralized Bitcoin Mixers utilize protocols like CoinJoin that connect other users via peer-to-peer on the same protocol to combine and then redistribute the Bitcoins.
It’s doing essentially the same thing as centralized crypto mixers, but there isn’t a central location that stores and mixes the Bitcoins or logs information on the transactions.
The primary benefit is that logs about the transaction aren’t sitting around for people to view in the future, which is one of the big downsides of centralized crypto mixers.
There are a few downsides to decentralized Bitcoin Tumblers; they’re mostly open-source projects, so if there are issues or for some reason your transaction doesn’t complete, you have limited or no support.
You may also find that CoinJoin and similar projects, because they’re mostly free, aren’t user-friendly, and the work behind the scenes on them is from volunteers that are just passionate about the project.
As of 2022, a new CoinJoin UI is being developed to make it a more viable option for regular users, but that is still some time away and limits your ability to really use decentralized Crypto Mixers without a little technical know-how.
Problems with Using Bitcoin Mixers
Whether you can trust a Dark Web Bitcoin Mixer or not, there are a couple of issues that you should be aware of before you even think about using a mixer service. As the service, it may be trusted, but you can’t always trust the mixer to give you the results that you’re hoping for.
Crypto Exchanges Flag Mixer Transactions as Tainted
Many crypto exchanges will block transactions to and from mixers; this is simply to limit their liability and involvement in any type of illegal activity on the Dark Web or simply any type of money laundering that may be going on.
So as a buyer, you may not be able to send your Bitcoin to some or any Bitcoin Tumblers, so you would need to look for alternative options or move to a different crypto exchange or platform to be able to use a tumbler service.
As a seller, you may be able to accept Bitcoin transactions from a buyer, but when you try to send to an exchange to sell or even cash out for real money, you may find it’s not possible, so you’re stuck with Bitcoin and the services that can be purchased directly with it.
It’s possible to remove the flag on your Bitcoin as being tainted by a tumbler service. But that requires you to transact the Bitcoin multiple times. Which can end up costing you a lot of money without knowing exactly how many times you need to move the Bitcoin until it’s cleared for a crypto exchange.
Smaller Bitcoin Mixers Are Easier To Track
Bitcoin transactions can all be seen on the blockchain, so if you send in a specific amount of Bitcoin to mix and then the same or similar amount goes out to another address, it may be apparent that it was your transaction.
Smaller Dark Web Bitcoin mixers may not have enough people performing transactions in a similar amount of Bitcoin as you, so either it’s going to be more obvious that it was you, or you’re going to be waiting too long for enough similar transactions to be registered.
Consider if you want to perform a small transaction, and there are only larger transactions happening; if you get included in that, it’s going to be traceable from your incoming transactions to a small transaction going out from the tumbler.
Why Is A Dark Web Bitcoin Mixer Service Helpful?
Bitcoin tracks and records every transaction that has ever been made on the blockchain; you can check your own transactions or other people’s through a blockchain explorer. Once somebody has your Bitcoin address, they can track what you’ve been doing and which other Bitcoin addresses you’ve been performing transactions with.
If your address or somebody else’s address is known or public, it makes it easier to see what people may be doing when interacting with specific addresses. So essentially, if somebody on the Dark Web is selling illegal products and their address can be seen, you can see which other Bitcoin addresses are paying this address.
You can’t directly look up who owns each address, but you can find clues or even search online to see if anybody has listed this as their address. For law enforcement, it may also be possible to check with crypto exchanges to see who owns the Bitcoin address, as most now require full information to be provided before you can buy Bitcoin.
The other issue you may face is that when you purchase Bitcoin with fiat currency, there is a banking record, and if you try to sell your Bitcoin and convert it into a fiat currency for real-world use, there is another trace of who owned that Bitcoin.
The primary purpose of a Dark Web Bitcoin Mixer service is to obscure what you’re buying so that law enforcement can’t trace you back to illegal products and services, and so that nefarious agents online can’t use clues to match your Bitcoin address to a real-world identity. The other benefit of a Dark Web Bitcoin Tumbler is that your address is known by friends or family.
Should You Trust Dark Web Bitcoin Mixer Services?
The idea behind a Dark Web Bitcoin Tumbler sounds good, you put your Bitcoins into a service, and that service mixes them with other Bitcoins from various people using the service at the same time as you.
Your transactions are then paid for with random Bitcoin, so even if anybody finds out you had Bitcoin and used it through a Dark Web Tumbler, in theory, there isn’t a way to say the Bitcoin you purchased was used for something specific or illegal.
This is essentially true, but within the Crypto Mixer service, your use and the transaction details are generally recorded for at least 24 hours so that you can complain if your transaction didn’t get funded.
So if there is a record within the mixer service, there is always the potential that somebody can
See, record, and prove that you purchased something illegal on the Darknet.
The short answer is that Dark Web Bitcoin Mixer services can be trusted up to a point. But should not be the core security or anonymity feature of your Dark Web transactions.
Not All Dark Web Crypto Mixer Services Are Legit
While there are many legit and trustworthy Dark Web Bitcoin Tumbler services available. There are also many that are purely set up to steal your Bitcoins and potentially your information.
You should review any mixer service you want to use to ensure there aren’t negative reviews online about missing Bitcoins or problems with transactions. Once you’ve sent your Bitcoin somewhere, it’s gone, so if the receiver decides not to send it. You don’t have any recourse.
Hackers or other people on the Dark Web have been known to set up tumbler services. They look legit and provide all kinds of functionality. That you would expect, but once you send them your Bitcoin, they keep it.
Another big issue that has been found on the Dark Web is people setting up sites to mimic legit Dark Web Bitcoin Tumbler services. So you need to ensure that the address you’re going to is actually the legit address for the service you’re wanting.
It’s also been found that Dark Web Hackers have set up websites. That takes you through how to use Crypto Mixers to stay safe while transacting on the Dark Web. And provide onion addresses to connect to Dark Web Mixers. Which aren’t legit and can’t be trusted. In this scenario, they get your trust with valid information. But send you to an untrustworthy site that steals your Bitcoin.
Do Dark Web Bitcoin Mixer Services Cooperate With Law Enforcement?
If you’re making purchases with Dark Web Bitcoin, you’re likely dealing in illegal or grey areas of the law. And you don’t want law enforcement or government agencies to directly find your transactions or information. You don’t want your details to be found if a Dark Web marketplace is taken down for illegal activity.
Any Dark Web Bitcoin mixer will have some information on you. Whether that’s IP addresses that could be traced back through the TOR network or your original Bitcoin details. Which could be traced back to you through purchase records. Especially if you originally purchased them with fiat currency.
Bitcoin Tumbler services aren’t illegal as such. But many countries are trying to implement laws around what information needs to be gathered by the mixer service. This may be a significant issue with tumbler users in the future, especially if you want to use crypto exchanges.
There have also been mixer services taken down in 2019. And as recently as 2021 for money laundering. Once the owners of the service are arrested. The mixers may be taken over by law enforcement to track transactions running through the services.
In most cases, it’s reasonable to assume that Dark Web Tumbler owners will cooperate with law enforcement given the right motivation. If a deal is provided for a less severe penalty.
If tumbler services want to remain around into the future, they may also need to provide access or details on transactions running through them. When requested by law, so this is something that needs to be considered. Even if you’re using the services now as future investigations could uncover your use of the service.
Can Dark Web Bitcoin Mixer Services Keep You Safe?
If you’re using a well-known Dark Web Bitcoin Mixer, you’re generally safe. And can trust the service to process your transactions. One of the big benefits of a mixer is that it provides more anonymity to your transactions from the Dark Web Marketplaces and sellers.
There is a range of cybercriminal entities operating on the Dark Web. They are looking to gain information on buyers. And using a Crypto Mixer keeps your real Bitcoin address out of the hands of nefarious agents looking to take your Bitcoin or cause you other digital or physical problems.
Law enforcement isn’t the only one that can track your transactions. And there are apps available to anybody to use that can trace Bitcoin addresses. Which can lead to clues on who the owner is.
If you use services like Twitter, you can even list your Bitcoin address to get tips or donations. Whether you actually get any or not depends on you. But now your Bitcoin address is in the open and can be potentially traced back to a real person.
There are numerous reports each year of kidnappers and extortion artists finding Bitcoin owners. And trying to take their Bitcoin. So anonymizing your Bitcoin transactions on the Dark Web and in general can be a good safety measure. And in this situation, Crypto Mixers can be trusted.
Can Dark Web Crypto Mixer Transactions Be Traced?
Even without cooperation from crypto mixer owners. There are apps available publicly that can trace Bitcoin Tumbler transactions. It’s also safe to assume that law enforcement has private apps. And methods for tracing transactions sent through Crypto Mixers.
There was a high-profile investigation into a large Dark Web Marketplace in 2019. And indictments of the owners of the Marketplace showed that law enforcement was able to trace transactions through various Dark Web Crypto Mixers.
The United States Postal Service investigated part of the transactions and determined. Whether they went through Bitcoin Tumblers and which Dark Web Tumblers were actually used.
The more troubling outcome was that the USPS was able to use blockchain transaction records. And proprietary software to demix the transactions. Which allowed them to connect original buyers with sellers. And with the connection to the Dark Web Marketplace. It was possible to prove what buyers had purchased with their Bitcoin.
If you’re using Dark Web Mixers as your only anonymity and security process. You should not trust Crypto Tumblers as it’s been proven that law enforcement and government agencies can demix at least some Crypto Tumbler services.
Centralized Bitcoin Mixers were specifically mentioned in the indictments. So it may indicate that decentralized Bitcoin Mixers are safer to be used. Though there is no guarantee that other government entities can’t demix these as well.
Centralized Vs. Decentralized Dark Web Bitcoin Mixers
With two distinct types of Dark Web Bitcoin services, you need to determine which is better for your needs and skill level. As well as what you’re using the Dark Web transactions for.
You also need to review and find the best service that matches your needs as well to ensure that your expectations are met. Rather than making assumptions that all Crypto Mixers are the same.
Should You Use A Centralized Dark Web Bitcoin Mixer?
If you simply want to obfuscate your Bitcoin transactions on the Dark Web. So that sellers can’t easily identify who you are and keep people from prying on what you’re doing. Then a centralized Dark Web Bitcoin Mixer is going to be an easier option for you to use.
Your transactions may be logged. So check with the service how long that will be and whether any information is kept after that timeframe. You want to ensure that there is a data destruction policy in place. So that everything is removed within 24 hours or less.
Transactions should offer a letter of guarantee which essentially guarantees. That your transaction will be completed, and if there are issues, the Crypto Mixer support team can review and fix any issues.
A service such as Blender.io is a good user-friendly, and trustworthy Crypto Tumbler. That you can use to get started on the Dark Web. That provides adequate privacy, security, and trust.
Should You Use A Decentralized Dark Web Bitcoin Mixer?
If your privacy is of utmost importance and you have a little technical know-how. Then a decentralized Dark Web Bitcoin mixer is going to be the best option to ensure. That it’s much harder to trace your Dark Web transactions.
You can download your own open-source software to connect directly to the CoinJoin protocol. Or you can use a service like UniJoin.io that adds a layer of the user-friendly interface to your decentralized Bitcoin transactions.
You can also use Bitcoin wallets like Wasabi Wallet. Which utilizes the CoinJoin protocol and provides a wallet for you to use exclusively for Dark Web transactions.
Concerns with Decentralized Dark Web Bitcoin Mixers
Something to be wary of when using something like Unijoin.io or Wasabi Wallet is that rather than direct connections to the CoinJoin protocol. You’re using an app from a company, and the service may be logging certain things about your usage of their platform. As they’re essentially hosting the decentralized application for you.
There are a number of concerns online about how and what is being recorded by different decentralized Dark Web Bitcoin services. You’re never 100% private when using another service, so you need to review all possibilities.
If you have the technical know-how and want to be completely private, use an open-source CoinJoin app. And run it yourself, as this will be the best option for limiting logging information about your transaction.
Are Dark Web Bitcoin Mixers Illegal?
Using the Dark Web or Dark Web Bitcoin Mixer services is not illegal. If you’re performing legitimate transactions and just want to hide what you’re doing. It’s perfectly legal to use a mixer. It’s estimated that only 10% of Crypto Mixer transactions are involved in illegal activities. And that figure continues to go down each year.
What is illegal is money laundering, and that is the big issue around Dark Web Bitcoin Tumblers. Where sellers or hackers use them to hide where their Bitcoins have come from.
For some, this can mean they’re hiding that they sell illegal products or services online. And by putting their Bitcoins through a mixer. It’s much harder to trace where it came from, so you can say anything.
Bitcoin Tumblers have also historically been used for ransomware groups. Where the ransomed Bitcoin is pushed through a mixer. And there is no sign of where the Bitcoins go after that, especially if multiple mixers. Or later transactions are performed to further hide the Bitcoin taken.
These illegal activities are why many crypto exchanges don’t trust Crypto Mixers. Especially those focused on Dark Web transactions, as it draws them into illegal activities that may be investigated later.
There have been too many problems and arrests around Crypto Mixers that many people simply don’t trust them or the Bitcoin passing through them.
Are Dark Web Bitcoin Mixers Still Used?
Bitcoin is still used by many Dark Web Marketplaces. Though none of the larger marketplaces offer dedicated mixers as they previously had. The biggest issue is that people don’t 100% trust Bitcoin Mixers any longer. So they have been looking for alternatives.
From 2019 until now, there have been a huge number of busts on the Dark Web due to illegal products and services being sold. Many reports show that Crypto Tumblers were used in the transactions. And ended up being traced back to both the buyer and seller.
So while a Crypto Mixer itself can be trusted with your Bitcoin if you do your research. There is no guarantee that your transactions can’t be traced by law enforcement agencies. So it’s not a good option if you are a seller or if you are highly concerned about hiding what you’re buying and selling.
If your goal is simply to hide your Bitcoin address from interested friends or sellers. A Bitcoin Tumbler is an effective and trustworthy tool to use.
Alternatives to Dark Web Bitcoin Mixer Services
For the regular user just looking to make purchases through the Dark Web. But wants privacy, the two primary options are Privacy Wallets and Privacy Coins. Both have advantages and disadvantages in using them for Dark Web transactions.
In most cases, Dark Web Mixers are heading out of the spotlight. And that can be seen with their usage of them and the change many of them are making toward Privacy Wallets. Which are the next evolution of Crypto Mixers.
Privacy Wallets are the next step up from using Dark Web Mixer services. They allow you to continue using Bitcoin in a secure and private way. Blockchain analytics has seen a major shift from people using Bitcoin Mixers to more private wallets being used in the past few years.
When using a privacy wallet like Wasabi Wallet, you are essentially using a Crypto Mixer with added privacy features decentralized. Most privacy wallets are also using the standard CoinJoin protocol. Which has become the standard and receives the most community support.
Two significant problems with privacy wallets are that more crypto exchanges are starting to block them along with standard Bitcoin Tumblers. There are also fewer Dark Web Marketplaces that are even accepting Bitcoin as a payment method.
Some privacy wallets are switching to alternative coins. But even those coins may not be accepted in the future. As marketplaces look to privacy coins for true private Dark Web transactions.
Dark Web Bitcoin Mixers were a significant first step in private Dark Web transactions. However, that has started to shift with many marketplaces no longer accepting Bitcoin. Or at least offering up a newer and better alternative to the Bitcoin Tumblers, which is privacy coins like Monero (XMR).
Monero is a cryptocurrency that has been built from the ground up to be private. And keep transactions hidden and parties in the transactions obfuscated from the blockchain. Unlike Bitcoin, which requires add-on services to try and hide transaction details.
Every transaction using Monero is obfuscated. So while everything is logged to the blockchain. The information provided is unique for each transaction, and much of it is hidden.
As an example, a standard Monero transaction is logged, showing a unique recipient. And the sender that won’t be used again, the amount of the transaction is vague. And doesn’t reflect the actual amount being sent, and information like IP addresses is not logged.
So while people looking at the blockchain can see a transaction happened and it can’t be changed. There is no way to see the exact details of the transaction as it’s completely anonymous. And addresses don’t get reused for logging into the blockchain.
Can You Trust A Dark Web Bitcoin Mixer?
If you’ve researched different Dark Web Bitcoin Mixers and found a legit company that has good reviews. You can trust that your Bitcoin will be safe with the mixer and that it will be delivered to the recipient. Ensure that you’re going to the correct address and not a clone or fake.
What you can’t trust is that law enforcement can’t see your transaction or who you are. That is simply not the case. If law enforcement is interested in your Dark Web Bitcoin Tumblers transactions. They have the ability to find out who you are unless you’re using other security and privacy measures.
Something to consider though is that most marketplaces are switching to privacy coins like Monero. So the use of Bitcoin Tumblers is going to become limited. Unless you’re dealing directly with a seller and in that scenario. You can’t always trust that the seller will provide what you’re buying.