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A Complete Bitcoin CoinJoin Information


Every little thing you must learn about using CoinJoin in your bitcoin transactions.


To know CoinJoin, it might assist to grasp UTXOs (unspent transaction outputs) and Bitcoin transactions. You possibly can skip this part if you understand sufficient about these, however it might be precious to learn it anyway.

Bitcoin Transactions

In easy phrases, a Bitcoin transaction is made up of inputs and outputs (containing bitcoin quantities) and a digital signature(s) made with a personal key.

A very good analogy is a financial institution test, which accommodates

  • Which account the cash is coming from
  • Who’s getting paid
  • The quantity
  • And a signature

Here’s a random Bitcoin transaction I copied from the Bitcoin blockchain utilizing the publicly obtainable Bitcoin node https://mempool.area/ (Sorry if this transaction is yours!):

On the left column, 5 bitcoin quantities have been entered as inputs, and so they have been spent to 2 completely different outputs on the best (The full of the quantities on the left almost equal the quantities on the best; the small distinction is collected by the miner of the block).

On the underside left, the mining payment is calculated: 81,200 sats or 100 sats per byte (of curiosity, this was an outrageously excessive and pointless payment to supply given the ready listing was not significantly lengthy on the time).

The signature particulars should not proven, however each node does test that the signatures are legitimate.


“UTXO” is a horrible, horrible title. Whereas it precisely describes what it’s, and it’s comprehensible by an skilled Bitcoiner, it’s full gobbledygook for somebody new. It could be higher if it was referred to as “Obtained Coin” or one thing related. Simply from my pointing this out, you would possibly already perceive what it’s.

Though bitcoins are divisible, consider bitcoin quantities not like a dividable liquid, however of discrete quantities, like cash in a handbag. I like to make use of Bitcoin’s competitor, gold, for example:

Think about you obtained a gold coin weighing 1.2 ounces. And now you need to pay somebody 0.2 ounces. You’d must soften the 1.2 ounce coin and make two cash, one weighing 0.2 ounces for the fee, and the remaining as a 1.0-ounce coin so that you can preserve.

Bitcoin is comparable. Once you obtain 1.2 bitcoin to your pockets, you’ve a discrete 1.2 bitcoin “obtained coin” or UTXO. When you needed to spend 0.2 of that, you possibly can’t break off a chunk of it and spend solely that; you must “soften” all the 1.2 bitcoin quantity first by placing it right into a transaction. With the transaction, you possibly can divide it up nonetheless you need, and ship it to as many alternative addresses as you need, together with again to one in every of your personal addresses.

That is the place the idea of “change” is available in. To spend 0.2 bitcoin, you’re taking the 1.2 bitcoin as an enter to the transaction, and make two outputs; one as fee (0.2 bitcoin), and one other (1.0 bitcoin) as change again to you (to one in every of your personal addresses). It could appear like this:

Alice’s 1.2 bitcoin sitting in one in every of her wallets’ addresses has been break up into two. The Lambo vendor’s pockets handle has obtained 0.2 bitcoin, and a special handle in Alice’s pockets receives 1.0 bitcoin.

One last instance – think about you’ve the next UTXOs in your pockets, and you must pay 0.6 bitcoin to somebody:

  • 0.2 bitcoin
  • 0.5 bitcoin
  • 0.002 bitcoin

Your transaction would take the 0.2 and 0.5 bitcoin UTXOs and put them right into a transaction (and go away the 0.002 bitcoin UTXO alone). The transaction would have two outputs: 0.6 bitcoin because the fee, and 0.1 bitcoin as change. After the transaction, your pockets can have a 0.002 bitcoin UTXO and the 0.1 bitcoin UTXO. Two “cash” in complete, with a complete stability of 0.102 bitcoin (ignoring mining charges to maintain it easy).

What Is A CoinJoin?

Many individuals don’t realise {that a} single transaction can include digital signatures by multiple individual. With out this capacity, CoinJoins should not doable.

A CoinJoin is when two or extra individuals mix their transactions into one transaction, in such a approach that it’s unclear who owns which coin after the transaction. The anomaly is created by matching the dimensions of the inputs or the outputs, as shall be seen within the instance under.

It’s doable for an outsider to trace cash as they get spent, to a person individual (whether or not or not that individual’s true id is understood). For instance, a coin could be moved from handle A, to handle B, to handle C, and it might be doable to find out that the cash in handle C belong to whoever owned Handle A. That is the pseudonymous property of Bitcoin. Nevertheless, as a result of prospects of exchanges are pressured to submit identification paperwork (Know Your Buyer legal guidelines, or “KYC”), then as a result of cash withdrawn from the change and despatched to handle A have an actual id related to it to sure surveillance firms, they subsequently know the id of who owns handle C within the instance above. It’s necessary to understand that there isn’t a identification on the blockchain; the true id info is exterior to Bitcoin. Solely individuals with entry to the change’s KYC knowledge can accurately establish who owns a coin. Who’re they? They’d be both the change, surveillance firms the information is bought to, governments, or hackers.

CoinJoining breaks the Handle A to B to C pseudonymous identification hyperlink, as I’ll present. As I discussed, that is achieved by utilizing equivalent values of UTXOs. For instance, here’s a CoinJoin:

On the left, there are two inputs to this transaction that belong to 2 completely different individuals, Alice and Bob. Solely the individuals with entry to KYC knowledge know that it’s Alice and Bob’s. To everybody else, it’s Particular person A and Particular person B.

Two 1.0 bitcoin UTXOs have been created and it’s unclear which belongs to Alice (Particular person A) and which belongs to Bob (Particular person B). Every has a 50% likelihood of belonging to Alice, and 50% to Bob. The proprietor of the 0.2 and 0.5 bitcoin quantities could be deduced fairly simply with mathematical logic.

Specializing in Alice, she has obtained 1.0 bitcoin into one in every of her wallets’ addresses. It isn’t utterly personal; to an outdoor observer, that 1.0 bitcoin has a 50% likelihood of belonging to her. To extend her privateness, these cash could be blended once more, however she ought to combine with another person, not with Bob.

What Can CoinJoin Do For You?

Hiding your bitcoin from the federal government? CoinJoining doesn’t disguise the dimensions of your KYC (Know Your Buyer) bitcoin stack from the federal government. In case you have KYC cash, meaning you submitted your ID to an change and acquired bitcoin with that account. It’s best to assume that the change will disclose all of your transactions and withdrawals to the federal government if requested.

So in case you bought 1 bitcoin and withdrew that to your personal pockets after which CoinJoined it, it might be unimaginable for the federal government to know what handle(s) your bitcoin is in, however they nonetheless know you personal 1 bitcoin. When you bought it, it presumably is the regulation to report the sale. In the event that they ever cross legal guidelines to confiscate bitcoin or to tax unrealised features, they’ll know precisely how a lot you’ve.

Boating Accident

When you declare to not personal bitcoin since you misplaced all of it in a boating accident, the cash which can be identified to be yours earlier than your accident should sit there and by no means transfer. When you spend, your tragic boating accident will probably be revealed as a fraud. For completeness, I’ll say that having blended your cash previous to the accident helps, however not one thing I’m advocating. It’s a harmful technique.

Spending Privateness

What it could possibly do although, is if you spend bitcoin, the recipient is not going to have a report of the place that fee got here from. I’ll clarify. Suppose you’ve 10 bitcoin in an handle, and you utilize it to pay somebody 0.001 bitcoin. The recipient can lookup the blockchain and see that it got here from an handle holding 10 bitcoins. Nevertheless, in case you blended your cash, the fee will come from an handle holding a a lot smaller quantity, and the historical past of that smaller quantity is unknowable too. Which means that all your different cash is not going to be revealed, equalling privateness.

Do you have to do it?

So in case you perceive that you would be able to’t disguise your bitcoin complete from the federal government, and also you don’t plan to have a boating accident, and all you need is spending privateness, do you have to CoinJoin?

Take into consideration this query as you learn on, and, know that spending utilizing the Lightning Community goes to be sufficiently personal for almost everybody.

Having mentioned that, if everybody CoinJoined, or if CoinJoining was a default implementation in wallets, privateness is enhanced for everybody even when they don’t try it.

Is It Incorrect? Is It Unlawful? What Are The Dangers?

Some individuals are involved that someday, blended bitcoins will probably be labeled as “tainted” and subsequently not accepted on exchanges. That is likely to be true, however it is usually a straightforward downside to circumnavigate. You possibly can merely use the cash to open Lightning channels, and anybody receiving Lightning transactions has no approach of realizing the channel was opened with blended cash.

As well as, you possibly can combine a portion of your cash as a substitute of all of them, to hedge your bets.

How To CoinJoin? Possibility 1 – Automated Providers

There are providers obtainable the place you submit your cash to a pool for mixing. For instance, Samourai’s Whirlpool, Wasabi, or JoinMarket. Every has benefits and drawbacks.

Whirlpool and Wasabi

Each Samourai and Wasabi take a variable payment for providing an automatic mixing service. You permit your software program working, and the central coordinating program will combine your cash with different paying prospects. Worth varies relying on mixing settings, nevertheless it prices roughly 0.2% of the quantity you need to combine, together with the service payment and mining charges.


JoinMarket is completely different. There’s nonetheless an automatic service, nonetheless, customers’ cash enter mixes primarily based on a free market. Customers can both provide their cash for mixing (market “makers”) with others and may earn a payment. Or customers pays these makers to combine their cash with them (“takers”).

As a maker, you must go away your cash on a sizzling pockets on a pc, and watch for individuals to just accept your provide, competing with different makers on worth and measurement – it’s not sure that your cash will probably be blended, or when. There’s additionally a threat of conserving your cash in a sizzling pockets quite than in chilly storage. You’re rewarded for this threat by being paid the payment you set (in bitcoin) in case your cash are blended.

As a “taker” though you pay a payment, your coin enters a mixture primarily instantly. The time it takes to do one combine depends upon when the subsequent Bitcoin block is discovered by a miner. Total utilizing JoinMarket sounds fascinating and enjoyable to do, nonetheless, it’s fairly a technical problem to tug it off efficiently. It isn’t prepared for the mainstream market. These with some Linux command line expertise on the very least would be capable to sort out this.

As I don’t typically suggest automated mixing providers because of an absence of management over exterior parameters, I’ve not made a information. Slightly web search needs to be fruitful although.

How To CoinJoin? Possibility 2 – DIY CoinJoin

Producing your personal CoinJoin transactions has the benefit of complete management, and it saves prices; nonetheless, it requires you to coordinate transactions with different individuals which doubtlessly limits the quantity of CoinJoins you are able to do. It additionally requires some data about producing CoinJoin transactions, and absolutely controlling transactions typically.

Additionally, it’s useful to have understanding of transaction privateness, in any other case, you would possibly inadvertently make an error and undo all of your effort.

The most important benefit I discover is exploring the fascinating potentialities. I’ll clarify how to do that, however a prerequisite is to know how you can use Electrum Desktop Pockets. You possibly can be taught right here.

Step 1: Run A Node

It’s necessary to run your personal node. When you don’t, the cash you combine and ship to your pockets are not personal. That is true whether or not you utilize an automatic mixing service or not. Why? As a result of with out a node your pockets is offering its addresses and IP handle to a random node which might be a surveillance firm.

There are lots of good causes to run a node (I clarify six causes right here). I like to recommend working the MyNode package deal for inexperienced persons (see my MyNode information). Alternatively, in case you have some expertise, the absolutely open-source RaspiBlitz is great (my RaspiBlitz Gguide).

Step 2: Create A Personal Pockets

You could have already got a pockets, however as I discussed, if it has ever linked to a public node, the addresses in that pockets should not personal (even the empty unused ones), so sending personal cash there damages privateness.

When you make a brand new personal key utilizing a {hardware} pockets, ensure that it by no means connects to the {hardware} pockets’s software program/node. For the generally used Ledger, that is virtually unimaginable. It is advisable create a seed BEFORE connecting to Ledger Stay. When you join, Ledger Stay doubtlessly information all of your addresses and your IP handle. However don’t fear, when you do this, you possibly can create a brand new pockets utilizing the identical seed: simply add a passphrase, and that individual pockets will probably be personal. The pockets with out the passphrase could be discarded, or by no means used. (I present rather more element about appropriate {hardware} pockets utilization right here.)

For the Coldcard {hardware} pockets, this isn’t an issue, because it by no means requires you to hook up with their software program.

If you wish to be a purist, create your personal seed utilizing cube or coin flips and calculate the seed utilizing an air-gapped laptop. It’s actually enjoyable and you may be taught so much about Bitcoin safety.

Step 3: Discover Somebody Who Needs To CoinJoin With You

This may be difficult. Contact me, I’m at all times up for a CoinJoin. As your circle of Bitcoin buddies widens, and your abilities enhance (and theirs) extra alternatives will current themselves.

Step 4: Assemble A CoinJoin Plan

Resolve on:

  • Which UTXO you’ll use
  • What handle it can go to
  • The scale of the blended coin
  • Will there be any change
  • The place will the change go
  • What mining payment to pay

For instance, I’ll take a UTXO of 0.01724084 bitcoin, and spend it as two cash; one as a blended coin of 0.01 bitcoin, and the opposite because the change of 0.00724084 bitcoin (the change will truly be somewhat smaller to pay the mining payment as nicely).

I’ll then must plan for my CoinJoin associate to spend a UTXO and create an equivalent 0.01 bitcoin blended output. There’s nothing particular about this output by itself. The one purpose it’s blended is as a result of it’s equivalent in measurement to my 0.01 bitcoin output.

My transaction:

Associate’s Transaction:

Mixed Transaction:

Step 5: Generate Your Transaction And Save It

In Electrum, choose the UTXO you need to combine. Discover it within the handle or cash tab and right-click it, and select <Spend from>:

Then head over to the <Ship> tab, and paste within the handle the place you need to ship the blended coin to:

Click on <Pay> after which <Superior>

Select your mining payment, then click on <Finalize>.

Ignore the excessive payment ratio warning: Electrum is getting confused as a result of the switch is inner. It thinks the fee is tiny because of a coding oversight by the developer.

The <Finalize> button modifications to <Export>; click on it and save the transaction to a file. In case you are utilizing a {hardware} pockets, you’ll usually want to pick out an choice particularly for {hardware} wallets:

Discover within the picture above it says “embody xpubs.” Since we’re going to be sharing this unsigned transaction with one other individual we could not essentially utterly belief, we don’t need to present that info. An xpub doesn’t enable them to steal cash however it might enable them to see your total pockets. There’s a approach round this,however I must take you thru a detour to show nonetheless


The aim of this detour away from ”How To Make CoinJoins” is to clarify how you can bypass the requirement to incorporate xpubs within the saved transaction. You’re both going to be signing CoinJoin transactions with a {hardware} pockets, or with a software program pockets on a desktop laptop that accommodates your personal key.

Coldcard {Hardware} Pockets

The Coldcard by default checks that the addresses the cash are being spent from belong to the personal key it holds. However keep in mind, a CoinJoin transaction accommodates UTXO inputs from different peoples’ wallets too.

The best way it checks is by requiring the xpubs to be a part of the transaction you import to it, after which it could possibly recognise if the addresses contained within the transaction belongs to itself or not.

We have to change this default behaviour to do CoinJoins.

After logging in, go to the <settings> menu, then <multisig wallets>, then <belief PSBT?>. Choose “OK” after studying the message and choose <Belief PSBT>. Now you can signal CoinJoined transactions even when the xpubs for the CoinJoin companions weren’t provided – similar to a daily software program pockets.

Different {Hardware} Wallets

I’ve examined the BitBox02 {hardware} pockets and couldn’t see the same choice to “belief PSBT.” I additionally examined a CoinJoin and it declined to signal because of an unrecognised enter, i.e., it seen the CoinJoin associate’s enter handle didn’t belong to itself. So, I can’t see a approach to make use of the BitBox02 for CoinJoining.

I’ve not but examined different {hardware} wallets; you could want to do that your self.

Software program Pockets Hop

Another is to create a brief software program pockets, and any UTXO destined for CoinJoin can first be despatched from the {hardware} pockets to the software program pockets. You then use the software program pockets to assemble the CoinJoin. This fashion, you minimise the quantity of bitcoin out of chilly storage, nevertheless it does add a further transaction price.

Air-Gapped Software program Pockets

My favourite approach is to create your personal {hardware} pockets with an air-gapped Raspberry Pi Zero working Electrum, which you’ll construct your self fairly cheaply by following my linked directions. After which these directions will educate you how you can do air-gapped spends utilizing QR codes. That is the way you’d make a personal key from scratch utilizing the system, as a substitute of utilizing a key created by a {hardware} pockets. You don’t have to make use of a Pi Zero – you possibly can construct an air-gapped desktop laptop half by half, ensuring there are not any Wi-Fi or Bluetooth elements. It’s rather more pleasurable to make use of and quicker, but additionally costlier.

Detour Returns From “Learn how to CoinJoin? Possibility 2 – DIY CoinJoin”

Continued … Step 5: Generate Your Transaction And Save It

You now know how you can bypass the necessity to save xpubs in your exported transaction. As an alternative, it can save you a transaction this fashion:

Step 6: CoinJoin Parter Follows Step 5 As Effectively And Sends You Their UNSIGNED Transaction

After your CoinJoin associate saves his/her transaction to a file, it must be despatched to whoever is coordinating the CoinJoin. Provided that the transaction goes to be revealed on the general public blockchain, the knowledge being despatched shouldn’t be significantly delicate. However it’s nonetheless fascinating to not disclose your actions to anybody performing web surveillance.

A straightforward technique to talk is by utilizing ProtonMail. If each sender and recipient use the service, then messages are encrypted by default. If one consumer shouldn’t be utilizing ProtonMail then the message shouldn’t be encrypted.

A extra cumbersome approach, however way more fascinating (which I wholeheartedly encourage you to be taught) is to make use of public/personal key cryptography to encrypt the information your self and ship it throughout any insecure transmission medium, reminiscent of Gmail. Here’s a information I wrote on this.

Step 7: Merging Transactions Into A CoinJoin Transaction With Electrum

When you obtain all of the unsigned transactions from a number of of the CoinJoin companions, you need to save them to your laptop, and begin by opening your transaction in Electrum like this:

Then, close to the underside proper facet of the transaction window, you’ll see a <Mix> button. Click on that, after which <Be part of inputs/outputs>.

There are a number of methods to enter the transaction knowledge to Electrum, however simply clicking the folder icon to offer it a file is the simplest.

After <Load transaction> you’ll see the mixed transaction:

Some issues about this transaction are value noting. The highlighted addresses point out that Electrum recognises the addresses as belonging to itself. Inexperienced are receiving addresses, yellow are change addresses.

The transaction has two inputs, one in every of them recognised as self (inexperienced), and 4 outputs, one in every of which is to a inexperienced (self) receiving handle, and one other a yellow change handle. There’s one unhighlighted enter that belongs to the CoinJoin associate. There are two unhighlighted outputs that additionally belong to the CoinJoin associate, one in every of them is his/her CoinJoin UTXO and the opposite is change.

Discover within the output window there are two equivalent quantities of 0.01 bitcoin. One is highlighted as our personal, however when considered on the blockchain, nobody will know which of the 2 belongs to this pockets.

Step 8: Signing

To date so good, however we’re not completed.

The transaction now must be signed by every CoinJoin associate. Solely when all events have signed is the transaction legitimate and could be broadcast. Whoever is the ultimate signer has a specific amount of “energy” as they’ll maintain up the transaction. You possibly can determine amongst yourselves who will probably be final to signal and broadcast.

Let’s say you can be the final to signal. You then’d export this merged transaction to file, and ship it to the CoinJoin associate. They should load the transaction:

Then signal:

After signing, export to file, and ship again to you. If there are lots of CoinJoin companions, then every individual should signal and ship it to the subsequent individual for signing.

When it comes again to you, you load the transaction, signal it, then click on the <Broadcast> button which is to the best of the <Signal> button.


Effectively carried out! How cool was that? Now do it once more.

What Now?

When you’ve obtained a adequate variety of blended UTXOs, it’s necessary to know what to do with them:

#1 By no means promote for fiat, clearly.

#2 By no means merge them with a KYC coin as that undoes the privateness of the blended coin.

#3 Keep away from merging completely different blended cash collectively in case you may help it.

#4 Word that the change UTXOs should not personal and are nonetheless KYC’d cash.

#5 Combined cash are the cash you possibly can privately spend. Be sure to perceive precisely which cash you’re spending, and don’t by chance introduce KYC cash into the enter (which merges them). Studying to make use of a strong Bitcoin pockets, reminiscent of Electrum, helps.

It is a visitor publish by Arman the Parman. Opinions expressed are fully their very own and don’t essentially replicate these of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Journal.