Transparency, anonymity and pseudo-anonymity
The Bitcoin system guarantees the anonymity of the users who use it. However, it is necessary to understand specifically what is meant by ” anonymity “. Thanks to the Blockchain it is in fact possible to know in a transparent way how many Bitcoins retain any address (which is equivalent to knowing how much money there is on a bank’s current accounts); at the same time it is not possible to know who is referring to a single address, which means in fact that it is not possible to know who the cryptocurrencies belong to. Anonymity is therefore guaranteed by this system.
What is known is that few addresses retain very large amounts of Bitcoin (so much so as to lead to the hypothesis of very heavy speculative activities on the value of cryptocurrency), but at the same time no one knows to whom these great agglomerates of value refer.
Today, however, the regulations have restricted the conditions for access to Bitcoins, forcing the large platforms to adapt to an EU directive (n. 2015/849) which requires the identification of the user who is trading with cryptocurrencies. This means that, if anonymity is guaranteed within the Bitcoin system, at the same time on the perimeter of access to the same system an identification takes place which allows the tracking of any activities. In doing so, the authorities are planning to limit the possibilities of money laundering or investment in illegal activities: the risk was to have a recognized and expendable cryptocurrency, but at the same time a privileged freeway for the underworld. Today this risk is absolutely not circumvented,
Specific services have also been created to confuse the traces and to avoid that the transactions can allow the reconstruction of specific operations backwards. These operations are specifically designed to confuse the waters on the Blockchain so that its monitoring does not allow to understand what specific addresses are doing, to where they are hijacking their bitcoins and for what purposes.
Starting from 2018, however, something has started to change with respect to the original approach: according to a European anti-money laundering directive , in fact, every operation with cryptocurrency managed on the continental territory will have to certify the identity of the user and this aspect is full responsibility for the exchange that enables it. The transposition of the directive by member countries will in fact prohibit the pseudo-anonymity that lies behind cryptocurrency transactions, homologating real currencies with virtual ones to approve the regulations. Once the anonymity has been broken down, the EU hopes, money flows can be controlled to prevent cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin from becoming privileged channels for money laundering and terrorist cell financing.