According to a report that appeared in The Intercept, as well as statements from special investigator Robert Mueller, the US government is apparently quite adept at tracking bitcoin and bitcoin transactions. Based on the indictment, the Russian government attempts to manipulate the 2016 presidential election were in some part paid for through bitcoin that the Russian GRU mined.

Perhaps the idea was to use bitcoin mined by the group itself as a way to maintain anonymity. However, that seems to have not worked due to a number of oversights and a lack of “compartmentalization”.

It’s a well-known fact that the bitcoin blockchain is completely open and accessible to anyone. All transactions that have ever happened since the genesis block can be reviewed and analyzed.

In other words, if an illicit transaction is tracked to a single wallet, then all transactions coming from or going to that wallet can also be tracked using advanced blockchain analysis techniques and software. The concept of blockchain analysis is essentially that with a full copy of a blockchain, advanced software can build a map of sorts that can reveal connections between a sequence of wallets or accounts.

To make things worse for those seeking anonymity, most all payment processors like BitPay record critical information about those interacting with them. According to the article in The Intercept, payment processing services like Coinbase and BitPay were critical in building a map of financial movements that the GRU made. Read more from…

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