Batching bitcoin and cryptocurrency transactions together is nothing new. In fact, Live Bitcoin News recently reported that Coinbase was beginning to batch bitcoin payments together as a means of protecting its blockchain from problems related to traffic congestion and high fees.
Batching Is Starting to Garner New Meaning
However, some are beginning to look at the process of batching a little differently. They’re not necessarily seeking to commit malicious acts with crypto or to launder funds, but they do value their privacy a bit more than others might, and want to ensure their identities remain hidden enough that they can engage in financial activity without being found out.
A new feature known as “coin join” has been introduced to crypto customers like these. The feature masks transactions and mixes them together so it’s much harder to identify the parties engaged in the transactions. The term has caused quite a bit of controversy in that some believe it’s just a fancier term for “mixing,” which they claim is closely associated with money laundering and other illicit behavior.
Among the applications utilizing the coin join feature is one known as the Samourai Wallet, which has allegedly batched more bitcoin transactions together in March than any other month since last summer. Samourai faces competition from the likes of the Wasabi Wallet – which has batched more than 3,700 bitcoin and crypto transactions together since the month’s first week – and another company called Join Market.
Bitcoin podcaster Matt Odell explained in a statement:
Mobile support is a huge step forward in user experience. All bitcoin users should be encouraged to use coin join. Otherwise, they expose their transaction history to those they pay and those who pay them.
He also claims that to refer to coin join as mixing is inaccurate in that mixing tends to occur directly between users, while coin join is more of a “collaborate” process. He mentions:
This is a fundamentally different proposition than custodial tumblers or ‘mixers’ like Helix.
However, there’s a problem with coin join in that many exchanges don’t view it differently from mixing like Odell suggests. In fact, many trading platforms – from Coinbase and Binance, arguably two of the largest crypto exchanges in the world – tend to flag mixing or coin join wallets as suspicious, claiming that owners are looking to commit financial crimes.
Regulation Is in Play
Bits of Gold CEO Youval Rouach says his company is one of the few to flag such activity. He says that while people can use Samourai Wallet, they cannot cash out of it. While he has no ill will towards these customers, regulatory tactics, he says, are in place for a reason. He mentions:
We see regulation not as a hurdle, but as a step forward towards mainstream adoption… Brokers should report those transactions to the anti-money laundering authorities.