Isn't bitcoin the opposite of anonymous?

Hi, there’s something I don’t understand about bitcoin : each account is “anonymous”, but all the transactions are public ?

If someone orders something online from me, he could pay in bitcoins, but how anonymous is it, if I can make a note somewhere that this name & address belongs to 31uEbMgunupShBVT…. Even if he creates a new bitcoin address, he would have to transfer the old funds into it.

Am I missing something ?

It’s more anonymous than paypal, and less dangerous than meeting some dude in the middle of the night in an abandoned industrial park to buy shady things.

That’s it in a nutshell!

If you know somebody’s wallet address you can use the blockchain to determine their balance and all their inbound and outbound transactions. It’s anonymous only in the sense that the wallet address cannot be linked to the identity of an individual unless said individual publicly discloses their address.

For example this is the wallet address of the Silk Road seized coins.

There’s also an interesting Reddit thread on the anonymity of Bitcoin here. Hint it’s not anonymous.

What about creating new addresses ? Could that be used to cover one’s tracks ?

There’s always going to be a trail in the block chain that will lead you to the new address. But there’s no way that you can know for sure that address also belongs to the individual who transferred the Bitcoins vs paying some other 3rd party.

There is a project called Zerocoin which is seeking to adapt the Bitcoin protocol to make it truly anonymous.

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