Many users of the crypto-currency Bitcoin see it as the first fully anonymous and untraceable currency. It’s not. But with the addition of a clever piece of code called Zerocoin, it could still fulfill that dream of truly private payments.
Zerocoin, the work of a group of cryptographers at John Hopkins University who plan to present their system at next month’s IEEE Security and Privacy conference in San Francisco, offers an extension to Bitcoin that would make the task of identifying Bitcoin users or tracing their transactions nearly impossible. If adopted by enough of the Bitcoin network, Zerocoin’s inventors believe it could become a fundamental upgrade to Bitcoin’s code, integrating itself into the currency and solving what many see as serious privacy flaws in Bitcoin’s current implementation.