While the real number of Bitcoins [BTC] the theft until the date will actually remain a mystery, the official number exceeds $ 1 billion in BTC. Transactions in the Bitcoin ecosystem are not anonymous and are public in nature but are rather untraceable. The reason why they are impossible to trace is because, unlike each US dollar bill, which is engraved with a serial number, individual Bitcoins are not numbered and therefore, dragging the genesis of coins [or stolen coins] it's quite elusive.
However, few scholars of the University of Cambridge, Mansoor Ahmed, Ilia Shumailor and Rose Anderson, have published a document entitled – Tendrils of crime – displaying the spread of stolen coins, clarifying a system to trace the stolen coins that can be further recovered from where the victim was stolen
The newspaper also said that "one-to-many" transactions are, albeit very rare [as many wallets do not permit the transactions from one source to multiple entities at a given time], those that are commonly used for money laundering purposes.
The document, in short, explains two types of tracking processes, the latter of which seems to be useful in drawing recourse to the stolen currency (or coins). This approach is called Taintchain, which uses a device called FIFO (stands for first in, first out). FIFO is an ancient accounting method that has been applied in various fields including law and more recently – in the cryptocurrency space.
Basically it divides every Bitcoin into its smallest unit called satoshis, ie 1 Bitcoin into 100 million unique satoshi that carry all the information of its movement. The FIFO algorithm allows you to drag the course of currency movement up to the genesis portfolio. The rule that applies here is that if the first coins that were stolen in the wallet were stolen, then even the first ones that were paid by the wallet were stolen.
With graphical interpretations and apt visualization tools, the document states that the second approach is much more practical. The document concluded by highlighting that, despite several shortcomings, this approach seems to work and that they are ready for improvisation.
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