Dark Wallet promises anonymity for bitcoin transactions

Coders push new Bitcoin app to keep users' identities private

A group of coders has launched a Bitcoin wallet that will make it more difficult to trace transactions using the digital currency.

Dark Wallet is a browser app for bitcoin payments that uses both encryption and CoinJoin technology.

CoinJoin essentially mixes multiple bitcoin transactions, selected at random, as one transfer of funds and conceals the original payers.

A similar technology called Shared Coin was implemented last November in the Bitcoin wallet on Blockchain.info. The site says the feature allows users to "route transactions through a shared wallet breaking the chain of transactions."

However, Dark Wallet offers anonymous transactions by default.

The political orientation of Dark Wallet's backers unSystem attracted attention to the app when it was launched on the Indiegogo crowdfunding website, where it raised more than US$52,000 last December.

"Bitcoin is the next battle ground in the fight against supranational political domination," wrote the backers, including Cody Wilson, known for creating the world's first 3D-printed gun.

On Twitter, Wilson retweeted a link to a Wired article in which he is quoted as saying about Dark Wallet: "Its just money laundering software.

Wilson was not immediately available for comment.

In a promo video for Dark Wallet, developer Amir Taaki appears with 3D-printed firearms, musing about the wallet's name. Taaki is associated with DarkMarket, a prototype decentralized online exchange that has been likened to the drug bazaar Silk Road, which the FBI dismantled in October 2013.

The Dark Wallet Alpha extension can be loaded into a Chrome browser, but developers have warned it is not stable and users should proceed with caution.

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