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Future Internet 2013, 5(2), 237-250; doi:10.3390/fi5020237
Article

Structure and Anonymity of the Bitcoin Transaction Graph

1,2
, 1,*  and 1,2,3,*
1 Department of Computer Science, TU Darmstadt, Hochschulstr. 10, D-64289 Darmstadt, Germany 2 Department of Physics, TU Darmstadt, Pankratiusstr. 2, 64289 Darmstadt, Germany 3 Department of Biology, TU Darmstadt, Schnittspahnstr. 10, 64287 Darmstadt, Germany
* Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 February 2013 / Revised: 1 April 2013 / Accepted: 22 April 2013 / Published: 7 May 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Cash: Design and Impacts)
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Abstract

The Bitcoin network of decentralized payment transactions has attracted a lot of attention from both Internet users and researchers in recent years. Bitcoin utilizes a peer-to-peer network to issue anonymous payment transactions between different users. In the currently used Bitcoin clients, the full transaction history is available at each node of the network to prevent double spending without the need for a central authority, forming a valuable source for empirical research on network structure, network dynamics, and the implied anonymity challenges, as well as guidance on the future evolution of complex payment systems. We found dynamical effects of which some increase anonymity while others decrease it. Most importantly, several parameters of the Bitcoin transaction graph seem to have become stationary over the last 12–18 months. We discuss the implications.
Keywords: graph structure; Bitcoin; network dynamics; anonymity; privacy graph structure; Bitcoin; network dynamics; anonymity; privacy
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Ober, M.; Katzenbeisser, S.; Hamacher, K. Structure and Anonymity of the Bitcoin Transaction Graph. Future Internet 2013, 5, 237-250.

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