Anonymous Money

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Electrum Bitcoin Wallet
Electrum Bitcoin Wallet
Monero Anonymous Crypto Currency
Bank Wire
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Ambox warning pn.svg.png Warning: This page is a work in progress, so do not rely on it! Before attempting any of these procedures, always first check if it is legal in your jurisdiction. Read the entire page if anonymous money is of interest.

Readers should understand that anonymous money and payments is a very difficult topic. If outdated or incorrect information is noted, please make direct edits or post in the Whonix ™ forums about the issue; improvements are most welcome.

As noted on the Documentation home page:

Whonix ™ is a technological means to anonymity, but staying safe necessitates complete behavioral change; it is a complex problem without an easy solution. The more you know, the safer you can be.

This is even truer here. Independent research is always recommended to verify the currency of information on this page or to discover if new developments have changed the situation. With greater knowledge, it is expected a stronger level of anonymity is possible.


It is obviously illegal to use Bitcoin, alternative cryptocurrencies, or other anonymity techniques for the purpose of money laundering [archive]:

Money laundering is the illegal process of concealing the origins of money obtained illegally by passing it through a complex sequence of banking transfers or commercial transactions. The overall scheme of this process returns the "clean" money to the launderer in an obscure and indirect way.

Similarly, participating in or running schemes which others use for money laundering may also be illegal or make the participant vulnerable to accusations of aiding criminals or terrorists. [1] Many jurisdictions also place limitations on using Bitcoin (or related) anonymity techniques to hide the source of funds greater than $10,000 - $15,000 because it violates anti-structuring laws [archive]. [2]

To comply with relevant laws, many cryptocurrency exchanges require users to undergo Anti-Money Laundering and Know-Your-Customer (AML/KYC) checks. This normally involves personal information such as real name, income, occupation and home residence which is linked to bitcoin addresses and later transactions. A number of jurisdictions are also strengthening anti-money laundering laws to prevent cryptocurrencies being used for crime and corruption related activities. [3]

If the reader is in any doubt, Whonix ™ is not intended for, nor endorses any anonymous money techniques that violate anti-money laundering or anti-structuring laws, facilitates tax evasion, or aids other illegal activity. Always abide by relevant laws in your local jurisdiction when using cryptocurrencies and other anonymous money methods.

Payments Overview[edit]

Payer Perspective[edit]

Method Anonymous Registration Accepted [4] Tor Use Permitted [5] Processor cannot Freeze Account
PayPal No No No
Western Union No No [6] No
Anonymous credit card, Giftcard [archive], Paysafecard [archive] etc. Maybe [7] [8] No No
Bitcoin Yes [9] Yes Yes
Bank transfer No No No
Cash by land mail No - Yes
Meeting in person No [10] - Maybe [11]

Payee Perspective[edit]

Method Personal Data Transferred Accounting Period Comment
PayPal Real name, email address 5-10 minutes Fees when receiving money from a different country
Western Union [12] Receiver’s bank name, bank code and bank account number


1-2 working days [13] Transaction fees
Anonymous credit card, Giftcard [archive], Paysafecard [archive] etc. Identifying credentials are normally required such as a picture ID [14] [7] [8] < 1 minute Euros only, no dollar payments
Bitcoin See: Accepting Bitcoin as a Payee ~2 hours Payer is responsible for payment anonymity
Bank transfer Bank account number 1-3 working days Bank fees
Cash by land mail [15] Fingerprint, DNA, handwriting, mail center location 1-7 days Risk of lost cash or theft
Meeting in person See footnote [10] Requires setting up a meeting Even arranging to meet in person is an anonymity threat

Gratitude is expressed to JonDos [archive] for permission [archive] to use material from their website. (w [archive]) (w [archive]) [16] The "From Payment Receiver perspective" chapter of the Whonix ™ Money wiki page contains content from the JonDonym payment page [archive].

Payment Processor Perspective[edit]

Method No Personal Data No IP Address No Transaction History
PayPal No No No [17]
Western Union No [18] No No [17]
Anonymous credit card, Giftcard [archive], Paysafecard [archive] etc. Maybe [7] [8] No No [17]
Bitcoin Maybe [19] No No [20]
Bank transfer No No No [17]
Cash by land mail No [21] Yes [21] No
Meeting in person No [10] Yes Yes, unless cash is deposited into institutions

Prepaid Cards[edit]

It is possible to buy prepaid cards at a lot of newspaper stands, gas stations and supermarkets anonymously using cash. [22] However, strict limits are normally imposed; for example, in Germany the Gesetz über das Kreditwesen (Banking Act) means there is an individual limit of 100 Euros per month. [23]

To locate outlets selling cash codes (Paysafecard, Giftcard and so on) in your area, use the "Find sales outlets" search function on the provider's website. To ensure the smooth and anonymous deployment of cash codes, follow this advice:

  • Refrain from checking the cash codes before using them and use the codes immediately. Due to restrictive security settings cash codes are blocked automatically if they are entered from more than one IP address.
  • If your cash code gets blocked automatically, then try writing an email to the provider's support section. If a copy of the cash code is provided they may give you a new, unblocked one.

Gratitude is expressed to JonDos [archive] for permission [archive] to use material from their website. (w [archive]) (w [archive]) [24] The "Using prepaid cards" chapter of the Whonix ™ Money wiki page contains content from the JonDonym anonymous payment page [archive].



See Bitcoin and Bisq: Decentralized Bitcoin Exchange.


See Electrum.

Ledger Hardware Wallet[edit]

See Ledger Hardware Wallet and Hardware Wallet Security.


See Monero.

See Also[edit]


Suggested Reading[edit]

Primary Sources / References[edit]

Other Possible Services[edit]

As this chapter is only a brief introduction to anonymous money, interested readers can investigate other possible options and suggest further edits. For example, the following services have not been explored at the time of writing:


After setting up Bitcoin or Monero, please consider making a donation to Whonix ™ to keep it running for many years to come.

Donate Bitcoin (BTC) to Whonix ™.

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  1. This point was formerly noted in the Bitcoin wiki [archive].
  2. For instance, transactions of more than $10,000 must be reported in the US, with similar thresholds applying in European and other jurisdictions.
  3. [archive]
  4. "Accepted" as in possible. This means the account is not closed once anonymous account registration is noticed. There is no known jurisdiction where this type of payment is stated as being legal.
  5. This also includes "possible" Tor use. Obviously it is not possible to use an internet-based anonymizer for real world activities such as snail mail or meeting in person.
  6. [archive]
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Cash codes are printed once bought and could contain a code linked to the exact shop location, as well as the date and time of purchase. If that occurs, then it would be a non-anonymous method if they also keep camera recordings and/or the purchase was by non-anonymous means (such as a credit card). In the case of Paysafecard, the country code is already encoded into the cash code. A country code and/or city code already decreases the level of anonymity.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Anonymous credit cards and gift cards are not anonymous if a real name and/or address must be provided, or if they cannot be purchased with cash.
  9. See: Funding a Bitcoin Wallet.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Possible identifiers include a person's appearance, clothes, possibly their name, the date and time of the meeting, potentially a car's make/model/license plate number, and so on. If someone can remember your appearance this cannot be considered strong anonymity.
  11. For example, customers who eventually make suspicious transactions such as unusually large cash deposits or who have multiple accounts they pay cash into can have their accounts frozen due to the threat of money laundering.
  12. PayPal does not generally have a minimum payment; see here [archive]. However, in Europe payment by Western Union may only be possible for 40 Euro and above. You have to pay the complete transaction fees and it may take up to a week until payment arrives.
  13. 13.0 13.1 [archive]
  14. For example see the terms and conditions of use for Giftcard [archive] and Paysafecard [archive].
  15. Please note: Neither third parties are liable for money sent by mail. Do not send registered letters with reply advice.
  16. Broken link: [archive]
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Transaction history -- which account number was credited, the size of the payment, the date/time of the transaction, and the recipient of funds -- is available to the payment processor, authorities, tax investigators and a number of other third parties.
  18. Western Union FAQ [archive]:

    Your Receiver’s bank name. Your Receiver’s Bank Code and bank account number. The amount and currency you wish to send.

  19. Bitcoin is discussed in detail here.
  20. theymos, a administrator stated [archive]:

    The history of a coin is publicly available. Anyone can see the flow of BitCoins from address to address.

  21. 21.0 21.1 ATMs register serial numbers of bank notes, where and when notes were dispensed, and to whom. Modern ATMs very often have cameras which continuously record. Credit card numbers are also very often tied to card holder data.
  22. Refer to the comparison tables for information on the degree of anonymity.
  23. [archive]
  24. Broken link: [archive]

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