101201privacyreport_ES1Part of the discourse around the pros and cons of Ecoins is that they can be easily used to launder illegal funds or purchase illegal goods.  If anonymity and secrecy are good for crime, Ecoins are bad for crime.   Buying with Ecoins is like buying with cash.  Like cash, the identity of the buyer and seller are anonymous to one another and everyone else.  However, the payment network that processes Ecoin transactions is complete transparent.  Anyone in the world can look up the exact path of every Ecoin transaction of all time.  This information is stored in the block chain.


The block chain is the perfect genealogy of every Ecoin.  If people are still using Bitcoins in a million years, the Block chain will still be able to track every transaction back to the original Ecoin mining event.  While the block chain increases at an amazing rate, the data is well organized and therefore easy to query.  It is relatively simple to identify suspicious patterns and once one illegal actor is identified, it is easy to track the flow of currency every step of the way out.

Ecoins offer criminals no secrecy and only a a trivial amount of anonymity.  Every Ecoin transaction requires a computer or internet device to have a unique (anonymous) identity on the Ecoin peer to peer network.  While your identify on the network is anonymous, it is unique.  Almost all web devices are identifiable by location or owner.  Criminals get almost no anonymity and no secrecy when they transact criminal activities using Ecoin.   The real anonymity of Ecoins is the anonymity the consumer gets from the seller, marketers, credit card processors etc.  It is not the type of anonymity that protects or hides illegal activities. For the most part, law enforcement seems to be embracing the Ecoin movement, perhaps in part because it may make their jobs easier.

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One Thought on “Are Ecoins good for crime?

  1. cosmiccharlie on December 1, 2013 at 11:00 pm said:

    It’s a very silly argument to say that just because transactions can be traced through a blockchain that they could be pinned a specific person. Sure they could in some cases, but any half-savvy person can obfuscate the trail to make this impossible.

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