An unknown individual or group could also be amassing the IP addresses of Bitcoin (BTC) customers and linking them to their BTC addresses, violating the privateness of those customers, in accordance with a weblog put up from pseudonymous Bitcoin app developer 0xB10C. The entity has been lively since March 2018, and its IP addresses have proven up on a number of public posts from Bitcoin node operators over the previous a number of years.

0xB10C is the developer of a number of Bitcoin analytics web sites, together with and They’ve additionally been awarded a Bitcoin developer grant from up to now.


0xB10C calls the entity “LinkingLion” as a result of the IP addresses related to it move by LionLink community’s colocation knowledge middle. Nonetheless, ARIN and RIPE registry data reveal that this firm might be not the originator of the messages, in accordance with 0xB10C.

The entity makes use of a variety of 812 totally different IP addresses to open connections with Bitcoin full nodes which might be seen on the community (additionally referred to as “listening nodes”). As soon as it opens a connection, the entity asks the node which model of the Bitcoin software program it’s utilizing. Nonetheless, when the node responds with a model quantity and message stating that it has understood the request, the entity closes its connection about 85% of the time with out responding.

In response to the put up, this conduct could point out that the entity is making an attempt to find out if a specific node will be reached at a specific IP deal with.

Whereas this conduct isn’t essentially a trigger for concern, it’s what the entity does the opposite 15% of the time that could be a priority. 0xB10C said that about 15% of the time, LinkingLion doesn’t shut the connection instantly. As an alternative, they both pay attention for stock messages that include transactions or ship a request for an deal with and pay attention for each stock and deal with messages. They then shut the connection inside 10 minutes.

This conduct would usually point out that the person is a node making an attempt to replace its copy of the blockchain. Nonetheless, LinkingLion by no means requests blocks or transactions, which suggests that they should be pursuing another objective, the put up mentioned.

Associated: Zero-knowledge proofs are coming to Bitcoin

0xB10C said that LinkingLion is likely to be recording the timing of transactions to find out which node first acquired a transaction, which might then be used to find out the IP deal with related to a specific Bitcoin deal with, as they defined:

Connections that full the model handshake and keep related study our node’s stock, like transactions and blocks. The timing data, i.e., when a node publicizes its new stock, is particularly related. The entity is more likely to first learns about our new pockets transaction from us. Because the entity is related to many listening nodes, it will possibly use that data to hyperlink broadcast transactions to IP addresses.

To assist defend the neighborhood from this privateness risk, 0xB10C has produced an open-source ban record that nodes can implement to ban LinkingLion from connecting to them. Nonetheless, he additionally warned that the entity may get round this ban record by altering the IP addresses it makes use of to attach. In 0xB10C’s view, the one everlasting resolution to the issue is to alter the transaction logic inside Bitcoin Core, which builders have up to now been unable to do.

The vulnerability uncovered within the put up appears to primarily have an effect on customers working their very own Bitcoin nodes. 0xB10C didn’t say whether or not it additionally impacts atypical customers counting on Electrum or different Bitcoin wallets that connect with third-party nodes, nor did they are saying whether or not customers can defend in opposition to the assault utilizing a digital personal community. Cointelegraph has reached out to 0xB10C on LinkedIn to get solutions to those questions however was unable to achieve them by the point of publication.

Privateness has been a unbroken concern for Bitcoin and crypto customers through the years. Though Bitcoin addresses are pseudonymous, their transaction histories are fully public. Bitcoin educator Andreas Antonopoulos has argued that Bitcoin will by no means be really personal. However Breeze Pockets has attempted to improve privateness on the community by using offchain transactions and cryptographic puzzles.