Wasabi is “the most convenient and secure way to mix bitcoins” says Europol. It’s a „decentralized” bitcoin mixer and a very effective one “with many privacy focused options,” they say.
They claim generally they are unable to de-obfuscate transactions. That they are not required to apply AML measures, and therefore presumably it’s a fully legal service. And they are unable to seize any of these coins because Wasabi does not hold them.
The user has „complete control” of the private keys, they say. We could seize the site, Europol says, but IP logs would be „worthless” as they use „TOR by default.”
Unlike trash wallets that reveal your IP address when asking full nodes – which are run mostly by us or our partners, Europol effectively said – Wasabi downloads the whole block so Europol has no clue what address they interested in because a a block usually has thousands of transactions and addresses.
„Blind signatures assure even Wasabi operators can not link inputs and outputs” this
glamorous advert report says.
Leaving Europol complaining about them only being able to see what goes in or out and maybe seeing the transactions of ‘dum’ people, but even there they say Wasabi sometimes takes measures to inform them they haven’t been mixing properly.
They missed the opportunity however to say this is „idiot-proof” because it probably isn’t, but they do say it is „trustless” with everything visible on-chain, yet they apparently can’t decipher it.
Some 30% of deposited amounts are from the Dark Web, they say, with that usually being mainly geeks buying „quality” weed or dmt in eBay like forums where they probably give reviews in detail regarding quality, delivery, and maybe even give ratings.
Things they probably could have gotten from the street gangs but without the quality reviews which potentially can include even chemists that maybe analyze them to
autistically then rant or praise on the forum.
The lack of quality checks on the street gang instead is leading to some problems especially for teenagers who might be getting far too powerful chemicals or incorrectly mixed ones.
Still whether drugs are good or bad – we think bad overall – is none of our business or that of Europol which doesn’t make the law, but has to enforce it. Hence their interest in this wallet.
Do we believe them? Partially. What they say regarding their own capabilities could well be the full truth. Maybe then they thought to tell everyone about their lack of capabilities in the hope of attracting researchers or for-profit companies that can go pitch how they can potentially de-obfuscate.
Or maybe they are saying all this because they know exactly how to do it and want criminals to use it. This is however open source code (Wasabi Wallet lead developer nopara73 pictured above), so on balance we lean more towards the former.
Yet the purpose of publishing all this is perhaps to let everyone know they are aware of what’s going on and they are watching. Whether that matters since they claim they can’t actually see, is for the goodies and badies to decide for themselves.
What does matter as far as we are concerned is their failure to catch any hacker-thief, save for the dumb SIM ones, despite there being quite a lot of crypto stolen through such hacks.
And presumably they haven’t caught them because they don’t have the capability to attribute identity at least in cases where the individual is very interested in hiding their identity.
Which makes all this very challenging and thus seems to have made at least some at Europol very excited about finally getting to work on cutting edge blockchain bitcoin stuff with crypto and maths and with (since it’s open source) or against „praise-worthy” Wasabi devs.
Final point to make is that Europol probably needs a private, secure, „decentralized” and a „trustless” way of transacting to move their own funds in circumstances where they might need to do it to pay for example frontline agents.
So that might make this wallet doubly interesting for them both in regards to enforcing the law against petty criminals as well as in regards to enforcing the law or national interests against potentially far more powerful individuals or entities.