How do I send Bitcoin anonymously and privately?

Since bitcoin transactions are traceable, the question “How do I send Bitcoin anonymously?” is being asked more and more these days.

Understanding why Bitcoin isn’t anonymous

When Satoshi Nakamoto first created Bitcoin, he wanted a transparent and traceable public blockchain, so that everyone could see each other’s balance. Bitcoin was really aimed at bringing freedom to the financial world.

To do that, Bitcoin, by design, is transparent. All Bitcoin transactions are public, traceable, and permanently stored on the Bitcoin network. Bitcoin addresses are the only information used to define where Bitcoins are allocated and where they are sent. These addresses are created privately by each user’s wallet. 

However, once addresses are used, the history of all the transactions in which they are involved becomes public knowledge; anyone can see the balance and all transactions of any address, that is why the question ““How do I send Bitcoin anonymously?” is being more popular nowadays.  

Since users usually have to reveal their identity in order to receive services or goods, sending Bitcoin anonymously is, in fact, quite a difficult mission. As blockchains are immutable, it’s important to note that something untraceable now may be easy to trace in the future. 

In short, if you own a Bitcoin address and use it to send or receive BTC, the history of your transactions is traceable. Everyone can see your trade, the address of your trading partner and the amount of every transaction you’ve made. 

The transparent nature of the blockchain is actually one of the causes for the community to keep asking: “How do I keep my Bitcoin transactions anonymous?”. 

How to buy and send Bitcoin anonymously?

1. Incognito Wallet – A crypto wallet to send, receive and store Bitcoin anonymously

The Incognito Wallet is based on the Incognito Blockchain – a project that aims to be a privacy sidechain designed to give access to other blockchains. The Incognito Wallet allows you to store, send and receive all your crypto assets with total privacy. 

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Incognito is the private crypto wallet

This private crypto wallet is both user-friendly and technologically innovative. You don’t need to worry about using a new address with every transaction, nor the KYC/AML policy of any crypto exchange; this wallet helps you with everything. In other word, Incognito is an ideal answer for this trendy question “How do I send Bitcoin anonymously?”.

Pros

  • No one can see your balance or track your activity. As a result, you take back control and don’t need to trust any entity with your personal data or transactions.
  • You can send and receive Bitcoin with total privacy and anonymity and can turn all your coins and tokens into privacy versions. 
  • Incognito and its gift of anonymity is totally free.

Cons

  • Private crypto wallets like Incognito’s are new in the space. Users have already gotten used to their own wallets, so they might find it hard to switch.
  • The Incognito Wallet does not currently list as many coins as other wallets, though this figure is growing.

2. LocalBitcoins.com – A peer-to-peer crypto exchange to buy Bitcoin anonymously

LocalBitcoins is a Finland-based crypto exchange that has been operating since 2012. This exchange provides services for users in more than 200 different countries. People from all over the world use LocalBitcoins as one of the answers of the question “How to keep my bitcoin transaction anonymous” through various payment methods.

The biggest advantage of  LocalBitcoins is that it’s a peer-to-peer (P2P) platform, meaning that it allows buyers and sellers to trade directly and without a third party. As a result, they’ve found a way to keep Bitcoin transactions anonymous.

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People from all over the world use LocalBitcoins to buy and sell Bitcoin anonymously

The platform supports over 20 different real-world payment methods, including local bank transfers, PayPal, cash-in-hand meetups, cash in the post and others.

Pros

LocalBitcoins allows the user to buy Bitcoin without verification and also supports a wide variety of payment methods. The site is easy to work with and also upholds users’ privacy and security.

Cons

  • Highly variable prices. As there are many sellers on the exchange, they can set wildly different prices combined with many kinds of fees. Sometimes you may find a suitable seller but they’re asking for an unreasonably high price.
  • Because of regulations, LocalBitcoins has had to tighten its KYC process, so you don’t have much freedom as before.

3. Bitcoin ATMs – Buy Bitcoin anonymously with cash

Bitcoin ATMs are similar to normal ATM machines in many ways. They are physical machines that accept your fiat currency and give back Bitcoin. And there are two-way Bitcoin ATMs as well, which actually buy Bitcoin from you and pay you in cash.

Nowadays, as governments want to regulate crypto transactions as much as they can, many Bitcoin ATMs may require some KYC information. However, you still can find anonymous ATM machines that allow purchases without the need for identification.

You can use the Bitcoin ATM map to find your nearest Bitcoin ATM.

The process at one of these ATMs is pretty simple: 

Firstly, you scan the QR code of the Bitcoin wallet address you want the assets to go to. In some cases, the machine will generate a paper wallet for offline storage.

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You can find anonymous ATM machines that allow purchases without KYC information

Next depends on the configuration of the ATM itself, which differs between manufacturer. You might be asked to scan your fingerprint or provide another form of verification. 

Once you’re verified, enter the amount of Bitcoin you want to purchase (you can also enter the amount of fiat currency you want to spend). Finally, you just need to insert the cash and wait for a few seconds until your Bitcoin is delivered to the wallet address you scanned.

Pros

Cash is one of the most anonymous methods. Through Bitcoin ATM, you can buy Bitcoin with cash without giving away your identity publically, obviously making these Bitcoin transactions untraceable.

Cons

  • Most Bitcoin ATMs that do not require KYC only allow you to buy a limited amount of BTC.
  • High fees. Sometimes you have to pay between 8% and 20% higher than the current market rate.
  • Bitcoin ATMs vary from country to county. You will find many machines in the US but may struggle to find one in other countries.

4. Bitcoin Mixing – Keep my bitcoin transaction anonymous 

Bitcoin mixing is a process that tries to break the link or traceability between addresses.

Mixing Bitcoin breaks the link between wallet addresses by either creating temporary addresses or by swapping coins with other addresses of the same value. This makes it much harder to follow transactions on the blockchain.

There are many Bitcoin mixing services that you can choose such as Smartmixer, Wasabi Wallet or Samurai Whirlpool.

Pros

With Bitcoin mixing, no one can track your transactions and figure out your actual address.

Cons

  • It’s not free – users have to pay for the service.
  • Bitcoin mixing is often associated with Bitcoin laundering and Bitcoin washing, which you don’t want to be inadvertently involved in.  
  • You must trust the service providers not to steal your funds and keep your login history secure.

5. Tor browser and VPN – Stay anonymous on the Internet

If you weren’t aware, most common web browsers track your data, IP address, and history. Even when you’re using incognito mode. Instead of this, when buying, selling or making Bitcoin transactions, you’re better off using a privacy browser like Tor. 

Other than that, you could use a VPN, which doesn’t store the history of your activities on their servers. It encrypts all of your Internet traffic and routes it through multiple servers of your choice at different locations before arriving at the final location.

Using a VPN is another way to improve the anonymity of your Bitcoin transactions. However, you will have to trust the VPN service provider not to log your activities.

Pros

  • Even if you don’t need to make a Bitcoin transaction, using a private web browser and/or a VPN is a solid way to protect your data.
  • Many private browsers and VPNs are now free to use

Cons

  • Some VPNs/Private browsers are not particularly user-friendly
  • Combining the two can slow down your internet speed quite considerably

Anonymity for a greater purpose

The media frequently associates Bitcoin with financial crime and money laundering. However, it’s a fact that Bitcoin transactions are always traceable, meaning that anyone can find out:

  • How many Bitcoins somebody held or holds within any address
  • Exactly when they received those BTC
  • The sender of the BTC
  • The address that BTC was sent to

Frankly, it’s a bad idea to publicize such information and financial data because you may become the target of cybercrime, which is as good a reason as any to find ways to send Bitcoin anonymously and keep transactions untraceable.

Summary of “How do I send Bitcoin anonymously”

Bitcoin, unlike physical cash, is transparent and traceable. All Bitcoin transactions are recorded on a public ledger that anyone can access. While transparency has its merits, the lack of privacy is a serious issue and we need to be concerned about it.

In the search for anonymity and privacy, you will find many helpful methods, but remember that anonymity has its price. 

Sometimes it simply comes with a higher price tag, like buying Bitcoin through Bitcoin ATMs, on exchanges such as LocalBitcoins.com or using Bitcoin mixing to break the link between addresses. 

However, this is a light at the end of the tunnel. With private crypto wallets like the Incognito Wallet, you don’t need to pay anything – it’s totally free. All you need to be is open-minded and accept this innovation.

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