A very big debate in the crypto community involves the traceability of Bitcoin transfers. Some claim that all transactions are anonymous. Others believe that this pseudo-anonymity offers no additional benefits. What is the truth?
Are Bitcoin transactions traceable?
As with many other answers, this too depends on many factors.
Bitcoin transactions can easily be traced by anyone on the web, at least at the wallet address level. If you wish to track where a certain wallet address is sending Bitcoin to, all you would have to do is type in the public address in Blockchain Explorer.
You will be able to see all prior transactions as well as the addresses the BTC was sent to.
This practice, however, does not guarantee that you will get information related to the identity of the parties involved. There have been countless hacks, with hundreds of thousands of stolen Bitcoin, and very often no suspects to point at.
In many cases, Bitcoin wallets help their users remain anonymous. It is not until they start transferring their coins that clues start to form.
This is, in many cases, the approach of legal authorities. By carefully tracking where Bitcoin is being sent, they have managed to solve crimes. How is that possible?
How criminals are caught by following Bitcoin transactions
Ever since 2017, there has been a massive effort to whitelist as many Bitcoin wallets as possible. In the context of cryptocurrency, a whitelisted address stands for Bitcoin wallets that stands for exchange wallets or a digital wallet that allows people to buy and sell Bitcoin.
When suspicious amounts of Bitcoin are transferred to whitelisted addresses, the exchange will flag the address and start to investigate the potential of criminal activity. This, in turn, will provide the authorities with valuable information that could potentially lead to an arrest.
This was the case in Oktober 2019, when a Bitcoin trail led police to break up one of the world’s largest markets for child pornography.
So, are Bitcoin transactions traceable? Yes, they are, but only if one or more whitelisted addresses are involved.