Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have seen a sharp increase in popularity over the past years. While the concept of Bitcoin and its promise of a decentralized, user-controlled currency is highly appealing, cryptocurrencies have severe implications regarding user privacy. It is a common misconception that Bitcoin is anonymous. In fact, Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies are pseudonymous, meaning they operate on cleary identifiable and trackable entities. For example, Bitcoin's public ledger means that the flow of currency within the network is completely transparent to any external observer. If individual Bitcoin addresses can be identified, external observers are able to profile user behavior and can potentially infer sensitive information.
During this project, you will gain hands-on experience of how blockchain analysis works: You and your teammates will be provided with Bitcoin addresses of vendors operating on three different dark net markets. It is your task to run a forensic analysis on that data. In particular:
You will receive help from the chair during all stages of the project, but you will have of opportunities to implement your own ideas, approaches and analyses.
The kick-off meeting will be held on 28 September 2021, 15:30 via Zoom. Students admitted to the course have received an invitation via E-Mail.
The goal of this project is to give you an understanding of how Bitcoin works, what tools can be used to analyze it and what security risks are associated with public blockchains. You should be able to demonstrate that with a concrete example in your project report.
Below the links to the recommended materials are given (will be expanded).
You will primarily use free and open source software. If you want to familiarize yourself with the tools, here's a list. For the most part, these tools are a recommendation only – you can use your preferred alternatives if you want.
You will have to connect to our server via SSH. If you're running GNU/