"Dark Wallet" bitcoin software aims to keep users anonymous

A group of politically-charged coders have released a bitcoin application designed to protect its users from any form of surveillance.

The program, named Dark Wallet, will seek to subvert incoming legislation aimed at linking users to their bitcoin transactions. Brainchild of subversive group unSystem, the software raised 30,000 from an October 2013 crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.

An accompanying video for the campaign promised Dark Wallet would be "a line in the sand" for all bitcoin users wishing to remain anonymous.

All bitcoin transactions are stored within a ledger called the blockchain, which is copied to users' computer and checked to prevent fraud in the network. Although this prevents forgery, it also leaves bitcoiners vulnerable, as their spending record can easily be traced back to their IP address.

Dark Wallet aims to remedy this by combining any payments made with another already in progress nearby. In effect, this means that if law enforcement agencies attempt to backtrace spending records they would be unable to distinguish one from the other.

"This is a way of using bitcoin that mocks every attempt to sprinkle it with regulation," said founder Cody Wilson, speaking to Wired. "It's a way to say to the government You've set yourself up to regulate bitcoin. Regulate this."

The software also protects those receiving the coins. Using something known as a stealth address, any user can set Dark Wallet to publish an encrypted address online. When a buyer sends coins to that address, Dark Wallet reroutes them to a random encryption that matches the receiver's specific key.

The developers behind Dark Wallet admit that it has flaws, and that they will be ironed out in due time; integration with anonymity software Tor is also in the works.

Wilson said that he specifically intends for the software to be used in online black markets; he also doesn't deny that Dark Wallet might be used by terrorists, murderers-for-hire or paedophiles.

"Liberty is a dangerous thing," he added.