Skip to content

Best Practices

As with every­thing in Bitcoin, taking control of your privacy is a gradual, step-by-step process. Learning about and imple­menting these best practices takes patience and respon­si­bility, so do not be discour­aged if it seems overwhelming at first. Every step, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction.

Take Action

The following are action­able steps you can take to increase your privacy:

Self-custody your coins

Not your keys, not your bitcoin. If someone else is holding your bitcoin for you, they know every­thing there is to know about these coins: amounts, trans­ac­tion histo­ries, future trans­ac­tions, etc. Taking self-custody of your coins is the first and most essen­tial step.

Bitcoin Wallet Guide

Do not reuse addresses

Reusing addresses destroys the privacy of both the sender and the receiver. It should be avoided at all costs.

Address Reuse

Minimize exposure to KYC

Linking your real-world identity to your bitcoin addresses is a neces­sary evil in most juris­dic­tions. While the effec­tive­ness of these regula­tions is question­able, the impli­ca­tions for regular users are mostly negative as a multi­tude of data leaks have shown. If you choose to use KYC on- or off-ramps, make sure that you under­stand the relation­ship between yourself and the service in question. You are trusting this service with your personal data, including the future safety of this data. If you want to skip KYC entirely, have a look at no-KYC only.

No KYC Only

Minimize exposure to third parties

Trusted third parties are security holes. If you can rely on yourself instead of trusted third parties, you should.

Trusted Third Parties Are Security Holes

Run your own node

Not your node, not your rules. Running your own node is essen­tial to use Bitcoin in a private manner. Every inter­ac­tion with the Bitcoin network is facil­i­tated by a node. If you are not in control of this node, whatever you are doing is seen by the node you are inter­acting with. This means whoever is in control of the node is able to see what you are doing. The bitcoiner node guide is a great resource to get you started.

Bitcoiner Node Guide

Use the Light­ning Network for small trans­ac­tions

The off-chain nature of the light­ning network increases the trans­ac­tional privacy of its users without having to jump through too many hoops. While it is still early, the absolutely reckless days of the light­ning network are likely behind us. Using it for small- and medium-sized trans­ac­tions can help improve both your privacy as well as your fee footprint.

Bitcoiner Lightning Guide

Do not use public block explorers

Looking up addresses in public block explorers will link those addresses with your IP, which, in turn, can be linked to your real identity. Software packages like Umbrel, Citadel, RaspiBlitz, and BTCPay Server make it easy to run your own block explorer. If you have to use a public block explorer, make sure to mask your IP by connecting to them via Tor, or at least use a VPN.

Mempool Instances

CoinJoin early and often

Because Bitcoin is forever, using trans­ac­tional best practices such as collab­o­ra­tive CoinJoin trans­ac­tions will ensure that your privacy is protected going forward. While CoinJoin trans­ac­tions are nuanced, user-friendly software exists to help you create and automate these kinds of trans­ac­tions. Samourai's Whirlpool is a good  solution for Android users, for example. There is also JoinMarket, which, thanks to projects like JoininBox and Jam, can be set up quite easily on your own node.

Getting Started with Jam


The above is a slightly modified version of Bitcoin Privacy: Best Practices" by Gigi, released originally under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license and modified for Jam by the author.