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Quoted from[1] and Wikipedia[2]: "Bitcoin is an experimental, decentralized digital currency that enables instant payments to anyone, anywhere in the world. Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority: managing transactions and issuing money are carried out collectively by the network."

Without proper precautions paying with Bitcoins is not anonymous. All transactions are saved in a publicly available "eternal logfile". Before using Bitcoin, users are recommended to read some recent, relevant anonymity research:

  • Researchers of the Darmstadt University of Technology have provided an analysis of Bitcoin's anonymity[3] on the Chaos Communication Congress 2011.
  • D.Ron and A.Shamir's 2012 paper [archive] found IP addresses of users could be identified and linked with the different Bitcoin addresses of an account. As an example, they published information about the Bitcoin usage of Wikileaks; until March 2012, Wikileaks used 83 Bitcoin addresses and received 2605.25 BTC from supporters.
  • This 2018 paper [archive] found Tor onion service users could be deanonymized through Bitcoin transaction analysis. In short, they assessed that Bitcoin was pseudonymous because it lacks retroactive operational security, meaning historical pieces of information lead to user identification. For example, their analysis showed public information leaks about declared Bitcoin addresses to social networks, the Blockchain and onion websites could be linked to 125 unique users and ultimately 20 Tor onion services (including The Pirate Bay and Silk Road).

This is only a very short introduction into Bitcoin. It is highly recommended to learn about Bitcoin in general before attempting to use it anonymously. That could be done for example by reading Wikipedia, Bitcoin website, Bitcoin wiki, Bitcoin forum and maybe some news articles. Additionally to this page it is also recommended reading the sources of this website (at the bottom), especially the Bitcoin wiki article about anonymity [archive].



With The official Bitcoin client [archive] downloading and verifying the blockchain unfortunately takes a very long time. To enable Stream Isolation in the official Bitcoin client (bitcoin-qt) the user can go to the settings in the client and in the Network tab set the Socks proxy to enabled,, port 9111, Socks Version 5. Better use electrum.


See electrum.

Other Clients[edit]

TODO: Add instructions for more clients (especially bitcoin-qt), refine these insructions.


There are also webservices to manage your Bitcoins using Tor Browser. Be careful with Bitcoin webservices / ewallet! It has happened in past that such a service ( got compromised[4] and all Bitcoin were stolen. Use them only for small amounts you don't care much to lose.

For example Blockchain[5] and StrongCoin[6] are offering the administration of an anonymous eWallet on their web servers. Registration at StrongCoin just needs an email address. Access to the wallet is protected by the common combination of username and password. InstaWallet[7] and[8] are suited for the administration of smaller amounts. A registration is not necessary. Accessing your eWallet is only possible with a unique link which is generated once you enter InstaWallet's website. There is no password protection. Feel free to look for other services.

Gratitude is expressed to JonDos [archive] for permission [archive] to use material from their website. (w [archive]) (w [archive]) [9] The "eWallets" chapter of the Whonix ™ Money wiki page contains content from the JonDonym anonymous payment page [archive].

Accepting Bitcoin as Payee[edit]

Receiving Bitcoin anonymously (strictly speaking, pseudonymous) as a payee alone is quite easy. Just install a Bitcoin client inside Whonix-Workstation ™ (as described in the introduction chapter) and get a Bitcoin wallet up and running. Give the Bitcoin address to the people likely to give money to you, for example if you are running some sort of anonymous website and like people do donate to you, just publish the Bitcoin address.

The payer is responsible for its own anonymity on its own. Some organizations try to increase the privacy of the payer by giving each payer an extra Bitcoin payment address, I can't say if this will improve things much or obfuscate your income better. At least this[10] news source claims FBI said so. It is being discussed controversy. Anyway, the payer should feel responsible for itself when wanting to stay anonymously while paying.

Spending the received Bitcoin anonymously is a whole other story and covered in the following chapters.

Funding a Bitcoin Wallet[edit]


You can either mine Bitcoin or buy them. Both methods are quite difficult to do in a significant amount while staying anonymous.


Mining Bitcoin needs a lot of computation power and it is my understanding, that solo mining is next to impossible. You would have to join a mining pool (or to create your own). Even if you did, it takes quite some time and/or computation power which also means electricity costs. Mining Bitcoin is not a part of this guide, feel free to research that yourself. Any kind of mining software should be safe in Whonix-Workstation ™. If that mining software can be made working effectively in a virtual machine is a whole different question, the answer may be yes, but it could be difficult.


You can also fill your wallet by buying Bitcoin. At the top of this page is a comparison of different non-Bitcoin payment methods. Any of them could theoretically be used to buy Bitcoin from a Bitcoin market. Practically it will be impossible to buy Bitcoin as an anonymous untrusted person with a payment method which can be charged back, due to a significant risk of fraud. Those include (non exclusive list) credit cards and Paypal.

Bank Wire Transfer[edit]

Bank wire transfer can be used to buy Bitcoin, but it is difficult (Impossible? Legally forbidden everywhere?) to open an anonymous bank account.

Anonymous Credit Cards and Prepaid Cash Cards[edit]

Anonymous credit card, Giftcard, Paysafecard, Ukash, etc. could be more anonymous, but be sure to read footnote [11] [12] (near the top, you notice when you read from the top to the bottom).

It will be difficult (not impossible) to find an exchange Paysafecard/Ukash for Bitcoin, because Paysafecard stated, that they don't want to be involved into Bitcoin and anonymity services. Also the fees are exorbitant. Search for "paysafecard or ukash Bitcoin exchange" or similar, if you are still interested.

Since the exchanges are not part of the Bitcoin network, you have to ensure that they are legitimate. (And don't take the money and don't send Bitcoin.) It may be safer if you send small amounts until you have enough to lower the risk.

Buying with Cash[edit]

You can buy Bitcoins by cash or send cash by land mail without bank transfer and without leaking name or address to the Bitcoin seller. Please not the comparison about these methods on the top of this page.

  • You may use the website Paxful [archive] to search for Bitcoin sellers near you to buy Bitcoins via in-person meeting.
  • You may use the website Coin ATM Radar [archive] to find a Bitcoin ATM [archive] near you.
  • You may use the IRC channel #bitcoin-otc [archive] in the Freenode network to contact a Bitcoin seller. Offers of sale you may find in the open order book. On IRC you may approach a prospective salesman and negotiate arbitrary methods for the money transfer. A web interface [archive] for the chat is available if you did not like an IRC client like HexChat (Chat article). There is an option to register a pseudonym [archive] (it is not mandatory, though) which needs an OpenPGP key. As a registered user you may earn reputation. Check the reputation of other users to avoid scam.
  • Feel free to look for other services.

Gratitude is expressed to JonDos [archive] for permission [archive] to use material from their website. (w [archive]) (w [archive]) [13] The "Buying with Cash" chapter of the Whonix ™ Money wiki page contains content from the JonDonym anonymous payment page [archive].


While Bitcoin can be accepted anonymously as described above, funding an account anonymously is very difficult, since there are no perfectly anonymous methods to get money into the Bitcoin ecosystem.

By cross reading many forum posts in the Bitcoin forums it looks like many Bitcoin users do not care to be anonymous at all. Others like to be anonymous and use another strategy. They accept, that their payment method to buy Bitcoin, for example bank wire transfer is non-anonymous, but (try) to anonymize their Bitcoin afterwards. This is discussed in the next chapter.

Before using non-anonymous methods, especially bank wire transfer, to purchase Bitcoins, you should consider, that buying Bitcoins, which magically disappeared afterwards, may be alone suspicious enough. Bank statements are kept for a long time. It may depend on your location, legislation, the amount of money and your personal threat model, if that is acceptable to you.

Anonymzing existing Bitcoins[edit]

The Bitcoin wiki notes: [14]

Using bitcoins is an excellent way to stay anonymous while making your purchases, donations, and p2p payments, without losing money through inflated transaction fees. But Bitcoin transactions are never truly anonymous. Bitcoin activities are recorded and available publicly via the blockchain a comprehensive database which keeps a record of bitcoin transactions.

(a) One method to anonymize already existing Bitcoins could be to get them out of the Bitcoin eco system and to get them anonymously back into it afterwards. (Not implying that this is easier.) Of course, this only works if it does not matter to you if the existing Bitcoins can get linked to you personally.

(b) Since the methods to purchase Bitcoins with strong anonymity are limited, many people recommend to route them through many Bitcoin exchanges run by different parties. We can't make a statement on how secure that is. In summary various sources say, depends on the amount of money, if the exchange can be trusted, if the exchanges keeps logs, how many people are using the exchange and if you get back your own or different Bitcoins. The Bitcoin wiki anonymity page [archive] covers this topic better. You can find discussions about this topic in the Sources chapter on this page.

Ambox warning pn.svg.png Bitcoin mixing (tumbler) services are generally not recommended. Even if an anonymous service is legitimate and does not log transactions, mixing may lead to the receipt of coins that are more "tainted" - ironically attracting more interest due to their prior use, and eroding privacy in the process. [15] A similar, perhaps non-custodial (lower risk of loosing coins) technique called CoinJoin [archive] is sometimes discussed related to this.

Increasing Bitcoin Anonymity[edit]

The following methods may increase the relative privacy of Bitcoin transactions. Check the legality of these methods in your jurisdiction before proceeding.

Low Privacy / Easy[edit]

  1. Deposit coins on an exchange that does not require personal data - a decentralized exchange might be safer.
  2. Using a block explorer, withdraw the coins and check if “other coins” were received as expected. The deposit and withdrawal transactions should look different.

Higher Privacy / Difficult[edit]

  1. Deposit coins on an exchange that does not require personal data - a decentralized exchange might be safer.
  2. Purchase a privacy-focused coin like Monero. This step requires significant research on which coins actually implement effective privacy safeguards, including the cryptographic methods in use. [16]
  3. Withdraw the coins.
  4. Using a coin like Monero which uses a non-public transaction ledger, make a transaction shifting coin from your own account to another account you control. [17]
  5. Consider buying some other privacy-focused coin using another decentralized exchange.
  6. Withdraw the coins again and perform another internal transaction.
  7. Trade the coins back to the target currency (like Bitcoin).
  8. Withdraw the coins.

Paying in Bitcoin[edit]

This chapter assumes, that you successfully anonymously funded a Bitcoin wallet or that you successfully anonymized existing Bitcoins. Once that is done, not saying the previous steps are easy, not so much is to do. Connection security is already provided, thanks to Whonix-Workstation ™ and Tor. You can anonymously (strictly speaking pseudonymous) send Bitcoin to any other Bitcoin address.

It is important, that you keep care not to de-anonymize yourself by re-using the same Bitcoin address to buy stuff, which can be linked to your person. If you plan on re-using the Bitcoin address to spend the remaining Bitcoins in that wallet, you should read (b) in chapter "Anonymzing existing Bitcoins" above.

Withdrawing Bitcoin[edit]

This chapter assumes, the Bitcoins are already anonymized. Either because of anonymously Accepting Bitcoin as Payee (see chapter above) or because because existing Bitcoin were anonymized. (see chapter above)

Buying items and sending them to an address should be safe (assumption valid above) as long as the price is not to high and doesn't create suspicion. Like always, we can't give you a guarantee, that this is true, but we don't know what we might oversee after reading a lot about this topic. The items you bought could be converted into cash, if you sell them. You have to be careful not to create suspicion as well.

Anonymously cashing out Bitcoin directly into cash looks very difficult. (Impossible, while preserving strong anonymity.) Even thought, Bitcoin can be made more anonymous, when you leave the Bitcoin ecosystem you are left to the conditions of the other payment methods. Have a look again at the top of this page for a comparison of various payment methods to recall their advantages and disadvantages. Cash by land mail (to an anonymous inbox) or meeting in person appears to be most anonymous, but is still far away from strong anonymity.


After having installed bitcoin, please consider making a donation to Whonix ™ to keep it running for the years to come.

Donate Bitcoin (BTC) to Whonix ™.



  1. [archive]
  2. [archive]
  3. [archive]
  4. [archive]
  5. [archive]
  6. [archive]
  7. [archive]
  8. [archive]
  9. Broken link: [archive]
  10. [archive]
  11. Cash codes are printed once bought and could contain a code tied down to the exact shop location, perhaps date and time. I don't know if that already happens. If so that would be non-anonymous if they also keep camera recordings and/or bought by non-anonymous means (ex: credit card). The country code is already encoded into the cash code of Paysafecard and Ukash. A country code and/or city code already decreases anonymity.
  12. Anonymous credit cards and gift cards are not anonymous if you need to leave your real name and/or address or if you can't buy them with cash.
  13. Broken link: [archive]
  14. [archive]
  15. [archive]
  16. Until this question has been resolved, it is safest to use several privacy-focused coins that use different code bases, technologies and developers.
  17. It is unclear if this step is necessary, since it is unknown if a deposit leads to a transaction ID which also reveals the account number (address) it was sent from.

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