New Study Says Bitcoin Isn’t That Decentralized

A new study has been released suggesting that bitcoin is not anonymous, nor is it as decentralized as we’ve all been led to believe.

Study Shows Lies Being Told About Crypto

The world of crypto has long grown on the prospects of giving people full control over their finances. They are allegedly free from prying eyes and third parties who under more traditional circumstances, would have a say in how these individuals handle their money and tackle their future monetary decisions. This is what has ultimately made digital currencies like bitcoin so popular in recent days.

But this new study suggests that perhaps bitcoin isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Several researchers from universities all around the country have gotten involved in the study and contributed their data to the final document in question. At the time of writing, the study has not been published by any well-known scientific journals and is being reserved primarily for private readers and media outlets.

However, it has ultimately garnered a heavy bit of support from academics and technologists everywhere, including Jaron Lanier of Microsoft fame.

One of the most surprising things uncovered in the study is that much of the bitcoin mining occurring as of late is done by a small group. It is estimated that roughly 64 bitcoin miners are responsible for much of the new unit extraction that’s occurring nowadays. We’ve all been led to believe that mining can be done with anyone who owns a computer and the right rigging machines. However, that certainly doesn’t appear to be the case this time around.

Overall, the miners in question extracted nearly three million BTC units, which at press time amount to roughly $84 billion. Sarah Meiklejohn – a cryptography expert at University College London – explained in an interview:

We all kind of knew that mining was [somewhat] centralized. There aren’t that many miners. This is true even today, of course, and it was even more true at the beginning.

In addition, it appears that there have been several tools unveiled in the past few years that allow authorities to fully unmask who’s responsible for bitcoin and related crypto transactions. This all began after Ross Ulbricht – the man behind the crypto-based black market Silk Road – was caught. Since then, law enforcement agents have been eager to capture criminals in their tracks.

Who Has Access to These Tools?

In an op-ed, Lanier wrote:

Bitcoin seems to have, in sharp contrast to its common reputation, become something of a perfect tool of state surveillance, revealing activities that many users believed to be protected by pseudonymity to sophisticated state security agencies while hiding transactions from communities of peers such as other developers, friends, or community credit unions that would have been better placed to monitor them in context.

He believes big agencies such as the NSA have long had access to these tools.

Tags: bitcoin, Jaron Lanier, study