HomeWinBuzzer NewsBitcoin Was Not as Anonymous and Decentralized as You May Think

Bitcoin Was Not as Anonymous and Decentralized as You May Think

New research shows a small group were propping up Bitcoin in its early days, while the platform was not as anonymous as thought.


Plenty of revisions are happening around as the concerns around the long-term prospects of the industry continue. Earlier this week we reported on how thousands of cryptocurrency platforms could collapse. Now, a study shows that may not have the benefits it comes advertises with.

Those benefits would be being a decentralized and anonymous platform. Bitcoin – the most famous, valuable, and widespread – may not have been offering those perks at all. New research from a group of universities analyzed data from major crypto platforms during the early days of the industry.

The information shows that during those early days the “wealth, income, and resources” of Bitcoin “were highly centralized”.

Furthermore, the ways that the research team parsed and analyzed the data revealed the information of some users. This means the claims of anonymous transactions are not quite as accurate as Bitcoin proponents may have been saying back then.


It is worth noting the study has been published, but not in a peer-reviewed journal. I would caution anybody against simply believing a non-peer-reviewed paper but that does not mean the information is false. In fact, the paper has already had the backing of numerous leading academics and technologists.

In terms of decentralization, the team found in bitcoin's early days it was propped up by a relatively small group. In other words, a small group of people were mining coins, which remains mostly true today:

“We all kind of knew that mining was fairly centralized,” said Sarah Meiklejohn, a University College London cryptography expert, in an interview with the New York Times about the study. “There aren't that many miners. This is true even today, of course, and it was even more true at the beginning.”

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Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.

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