Hello. I am a bitcoin. This is the story of my journey.
I was born on September 17, 2013 at 7:53 am. I came to life in a BTC Guild mining pool, a reward for mining block #258798 in the blockchain. Bitcoin was trading at $126 on my birthday, and 25 of us bitcoins were generated that moment.
In a mining pool, multiple clients contribute computing power to generate a block in a group-copulation sort of way. That meant that ten minutes after birth, all of us were separated and distributed amongst the miners.
I was actually just 0.1 bitcoin. Well really, I’m not a bitcoin, because a bitcoin is not a tangible thing like those Federal Reserve Notes you call money. I’m more like a bank account balance, where each transaction confers the right to transfer that balance to a new receiver. This story is a trace of transactions.
Bitcoin mixing is the process of combining a user’s funds with that of many others so it becomes impossible to tell where a transaction originated. It looks something like this:
This is money-laundering, of course. But there are plenty of legitimate reasons for seeking anonymity! Many people simply don’t want their spending history on public display*.
Virgin bitcoins like myself are particularly valuable for mixers – virgin meaning fresh from the coinbase, with no transaction history.
How effective is the mixing service? A taint analysis measures the strength of association between different bitcoin addresses. Prior to tumbling, the analysis looked like this:
After 6 hours of tumbling, it became this:
Six hours after entering the Marketplace, at 10:12 am, I was seized along with 29,657 of my comrades. Later that day, Ross Ulbricht was arrested at a library in San Francisco.
The FBI or whatever transferred us to an address for Silkroad Seized Coins. And there we sat and waited for a really long time. Lots of people sent micropayments to our address, with words of encouragement and spam and phishing attempts attached.
The following June, we were moved to a new location for the US Marshals auction and divided into 3000-BTC blocks.
That was a rough few weeks as I envisioned a future providing liquidity for SecondMarket or some such. The price of bitcoin was over $600 by then; who else would want a $1.8M auction block?
And here I am today. I don’t know what comes next, but I feel in my heart that fate includes a trip to Elaine’s bitcoin wallet. You see, I was always disappointed in the timing of the Silk Road seizure. I had only just arrived in the marketplace! I didn’t even have the opportunity to partake in a trade for cocaine or murder-for-hire or even just some damn porn. But now, maybe I will.
*It is easy to trace bitcoin transactions, but difficult to determine if they actually reflect real-world dealings.
By the way, if you use bitcoin, you should really generate a new address for each transaction. I would know, because I am a bitcoin.