On July 15, 2020, more than 100 high-profile Twitter accounts were hacked to promote a scam asking individuals to send bitcoin to a specific address, with the promise that any bitcoin sent would be doubled. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have recently been the target of financial scams, in part because of the perceived anonymity associated with the transactions. The use of mixers allows users to keep their transactions from being identified in the blockchain, so mixers can be used to facilitate money laundering.
However, bitcoin transactions are not completely anonymous. Identities can still be triangulated from blockchain transfer patterns, like crypto exchange account information, as happened in the July Twitter hack. In “Twitter Hack Highlights Crypto Mixers’ AML Issues,” Principal Ilan Guedj, Senior Economist Zhong Zhang, and Manager and Lead Data Scientist Julian Chan provide a primer on mixing for bitcoin and its implication on financial privacy and regulation.