Using Bitcoin mixing services is always a double-edged sword. While these services provide anonymity, they also require trust between unknown parties. In some cases, things can go very badly. One Reddit user lost close to US$3,500 due to a lower transaction fee. If he had taken the time to do the mixing himself, these issues would not have occurred.
Using Third Parties is Always A Risk
The Bitcoin mixing service in question – BitMixer – did nothing wrong during this whole ordeal. The user sent them Bitcoins to gain additional anonymity and paid a high-priority transaction fee for doing so. BitMixer, however, used the standard TX fee, causing a delay in having the transaction completed. Since this was a business deal relying on transaction speed, the sender lost out on US$3,500.
To put this into perspective, the sender is angry because BitMixer doesn’t let users specify a transaction fee to receive funds back. While it is certainly possible such a feature could prove useful for mixing service users in the future; the provider is not obligated to add it. Not everyone values speed over lower fees, and in most cases, lower fees seem to be more important.
This lower transaction fee used by BitMixer caused the transfer to be delayed by several hours. A US$0.13 fee for a bitcoin transaction is somewhat standard these days, and hours of delays seems a bit unusual. Then again, if there was a mempool backlog due to network congestions, events like those may transpire. A higher transaction fee would have completed the transfer sooner; that much is certain.
At the same time, services like BitMixer are not unique in what they can offer. It is -with some technical expertise – more than feasible for Bitcoin users to conduct their own mixing services. In doing so, they can determine whether they want to prioritize speed over transaction fees or vice versa. Using a third-party is convenient, but they may not always offer what one is looking for.
Is BitMixer to blame for using standard transaction fees? Not necessarily, but it is worth looking into additional options for users who prefer speed over savings. A system that matches input and output fees could prove to be a solution. Regardless of what the team decides to do, they’re not at fault for what happened to this particular user. After all, he decided to rely on a third-party service in the Bitcoin world.
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