Leading crypto wallet service provider Samourai Wallet has launched a public beta version of their new privacy-enhancing CoinJoin service, Whirlpool.
CoinJoin is an anonymization process that groups and scrambles a transaction’s entry and exit with a collection of concurrent transactions.
CoinJoin transaction scrambling has seen significant success, especially with privacy-minded bitcoin owners. Wasabi Wallet, which contains an implementation of CoinJoin, helped triple CoinJoin usage in the past year alone.
The Whirlpool framework is a CoinJoin implementation that grew out of a heavily modified fork of the ZeroLink theory.
As such, Whirlpool disassociates crypto senders and recipients to make it harder to trace transactions. It acts as an additional layer of privacy for Samourai Wallet’s mainstream bitcoin users.
A few caveats do surround CoinJoin, however. One challenge lies in gathering a large enough group of users willing to participate in blind transactions.
In the Wasabi Wallet implementation, for example, it took several hours to gather 100 participants to execute a CoinJoin.
There are also some restrictions built into the bitcoin network, such as the hard limit on the amount of data that a single transaction block can hold.
The problem with untraceability
Some crypto enthusiasts have also criticized the seemingly at-odds nature of bitcoin’s transparency and privacy-focused services like CoinJoin.
Samourai Wallet, however, believes that they can coexist, especially since both are already happening on the network.
“Amounts are already being obscured, whether you like it or not,” the company said on its official Twitter account.
“PayJoin on JoinMarket, Stowaway on Samourai, and other implementations coming down the line all break the common-input-ownership heuristic and at the same time obscure amount transacted.”
The level of untraceability offered by services like CoinJoin may also increase the fungibility of the bitcoin network, thereby helping wash away the stigma connected to bitcoin previously used in illicit trades.
It is worth noting, however, that that same untraceability may further raise the hackles of regulatory authorities seeking to stamp out those illicit trades in the first place.