Bull Bitcoin — Protecting Against Financial Censorship And Reclaiming Customers’ Privacy, One Coinjoin At A Time

The Swede
Bull Bitcoin
Published in
6 min readJul 3, 2019


If you fuck with the bull, you’ll get the horns.

In a bold move that puts its customers first, Canada’s Bitcoin companyBull Bitcoin takes aim at surveillance capitalism, putting blockchain analytics squarely in the crosshairs of its horns, while pioneering the way forward for other exchanges and bitcoin businesses to comply with Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronics Documents Act.

Prioritizing User Privacy

Bull Bitcoin is the first and largest Bitcoin payments processor in Canada, and now the world’s first bitcoin brokerage to integrate the privacy technique called “coinjoin” into their standard business practices.

What is Coinjoin?

Coinjoin is a bitcoin privacy tool that will assist Bull Bitcoin in protecting both the privacy and safety of its customers, as well as contribute to increased privacy and safety of bitcoin users worldwide.

Coinjoin is a type of coin scrambler that allows users in a trustless way to combine a series of bitcoin payments with the payments of other users into what appears to be a single payment. In doing so, coinjoin obfuscates the data trail that blockchain analytics companies or bad actors could use to determine the identity of the users.

Why Implement Coinjoin?

First and foremost, because our customers want it. Period.

That said, coinjoin needs to be implemented because contrary to popular belief, bitcoin usage is not anonymous. Bitcoin is pseudonymous, meaning that your identity is not specifically attached to your bitcoin transactions. However, all the transactions that ever take place on the bitcoin network are available for the entire world to see on its publicly available ledger, the blockchain. Advanced data techniques are being used and more developed that can link your usage back to your identity. Additionally, “trusted third-parties” used to obtain bitcoin (e.g., Coinbase, Gemini, Binance) keep records of customers addresses, making future transactions less private. Coinjoin provides several benefits including:

· Privacy tools customer want

· Consumer protection

· Compliance with Canadian privacy laws

What are the inherent dangers of not implementing coinjoin?

Not using coinjoin means privacy is being compromised. Less privacy means increased risk of financial censorship. Blockchain analysis firms and their advanced deanonymization tools are threatening the censorship resistance of the bitcoin network.

“The big thing is: we don’t know what these companies plan to do with this information, we don’t know how securely they store the information, and we can’t even really guess at what kind of negative outcomes there might be with this kind of information leaking in the future.” — Dave Bradley, Bull Bitcoin President and Co-Founder

Bull Bitcoin is taking steps to ensure that their customers are protected from potentially dangerous unintended consequences of their financial data being leaked to bad actors, whether they be criminals looking to steal or cause physical harm, big data blockchain analytics companies looking to exploit their personal information for a profit, or oppressive government regimes looking to suppress economic freedom.

Less privacy may also be illegal from the perspective of government regulations. Compromising customer privacy may mean risk of non-compliance with information protection laws.

“If a Canadian Bitcoin company fails to implement coinjoin, we believe they are in violation of Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (schedule 1, 4.7). By enabling coinjoin, blockchain snoops will not know which clusters of transactions are one entity or a random bunch of depositing users. All the assumptions of blockchain analytics are essentially broken.” — Francis Pouliot, Bull Bitcoin CEO and Co-Founder

But I thought coin mixers were only for criminals?

This is a common argument against coinjoin made by the very companies that shill blockchain analytics. This argument is used to scare regulators and drum up splashy news stories, because that’s what sells the news…and their services.

But let’s cut the bullshit. It is also patently false. Although it is true that criminals may find value in the coin mixing process, there are many other types of people and organizations with no criminal intent that both want to use bitcoin and increase the anonymity of their transactions.

Advocates for online privacy rights — technologists, tech companies, engineers, and activists that champion internet privacy and safety legislation across the world — who choose to use bitcoin have an interest in keeping their sensitive financial information private.

High net worth individuals that do not want to become the target of hackers, or worse, professional kidnappers, may want to keep their transaction records completely anonymous to avoid potential dangers associated with criminals knowing their private financial information.

Businesses performing large bitcoin transactions may want to keep their payments secret, to prevent them from being tracked by their competition and to preserve their competitive advantages. Their employees may not want the general public to know they’re being paid in bitcoin and how much they make.

Regulators and governments, like the government of Canada, that enact legislation such as the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, want consumer protections like what coinjoin provides for users’ private financial records.

Finally, anyone who believes money must be fungible has an interest in implementing coinjoin. Newsflash: that’s EVERYFUCKINGBODY!

How does coinjoin work? How does Bull Bitcoin use coinjoin?

Bull Bitcoin uses the Wasabi Wallet — the premier open-source, non-custodial, privacy-focused bitcoin wallet — to provide trustless coin shuffling that combines its customers’ transactions with other users’ transactions, providing the privacy protection its customers want and Canadian regulators require.

When customers use Bull Bitcoin’s payments processing service to spend bitcoin (Bylls) or Bull Bitcoin’s brokerage service to buy bitcoin, their payments or transactions are run through the Bull Bitcoin Wasabi Wallet to sufficiently anonymize the coins such that the payment recipient or any future user of those coins will be unlikely to be able to trace the coins back to a specific user. Prying eyes can see what goes into the mix, but cannot distinguish that from what comes out the other end of the joining process.

When Bull Bitcoin customers use its brokerage service to buy bitcoin, they can be assured that the coins they buy are as fungible and anonymized as they can be from their origins. However, the process is not perfect. The bitcoins that they receive from Bull Bitcoin are partially deanonymized in the sense that they can be traced back to Bull Bitcoin. Therefore, Bull Bitcoin encourages its customers to run newly purchased bitcoins through the coinjoin process once the purchase from Bull Bitcoin is complete. The simplest way to do this is to download and use the Wasabi Wallet.

Importance of Coinjoin

In addition to the immediate benefits to its direct customers — increasing fungibility and anonymity of coins and protecting sensitive financial records, Bull Bitcoin’s implementation of coinjoin benefits the long-term health of the bitcoin network.

Bitcoin must remain censorship resistant to be successful. Coinjoin is a trustless method to ensure that bitcoin continues to be a payment system that prevents unwarranted and unwanted standards from being imposed on its users. The more people that use coinjoin, the more censorship resistant bitcoin will become.

Don’t fuck with Bull Bitcoin’s customers, you’ll get the horns.