Enjoy Free Global Shipping on Orders Over $699. Shop Now!



No products in the cart.

Privacy Pools: How to Protect Users’ Privacy While Meeting the Compliance Requirements

In 2023, Roman Semenov, a co-founder of Tornado Cash, was sued by the U.S. government for allegedly facilitating money laundering. This case illustrates the legal challenges developers face when enhancing blockchain privacy. In response, Vitalik Buterin has proposed “privacy pools,” smart contract-based solutions designed to improve privacy on blockchains while accommodating law enforcement needs.


Blockchain technology has transformed numerous industries with its inherent transparency. However, this transparency often compromises user privacy. In response, cryptocurrency tumblers like Tornado Cash have been developed to enhance transaction privacy. These tumblers use smart contracts to mix identifiable cryptocurrencies from different sources, allowing users to deposit coins from address A and then withdraw them from an unrelated address B, effectively concealing the transaction path and breaking the tracking chain.

Despite their privacy benefits, these tumblers have been exploited for money laundering. As a result, when governments struggled to track illegal cash flows effectively, they targeted these platforms. Tornado Cash, one of the largest tumblers, faced significant scrutiny and legal challenges from regulatory bodies concerned with its potential for illegal activities, resulting in sanctions and legal actions against its developers.

In light of these challenges, Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, proposed an innovative solution known as “privacy pools.” These pools use smart contracts to balance privacy with transparency while offering a potential legal and technical framework to address regulatory concerns. This article will explore the concept of privacy pools, examining their purpose, functionality, benefits, and limitations, as well as their significance in the evolving landscape of blockchain privacy solutions.

Vitalik Buterin’s Proposed Solution: Privacy Pools

Vitalik Buterin suggests the implementation of “privacy pools” using smart contracts to strike a balance between privacy and transparency. Privacy pools group users together, ensuring that transactions within a pool remain private. 

How Privacy Pools Work and Balance Privacy with Compliance

Privacy Pools enhance transaction privacy by segregating legitimate funds from those linked to criminal activities, grouping them into distinct sets or categories. This allows users to demonstrate the cleanliness of their funds to regulators. The use of zk-SNARKs (Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge) further enables users to verify the legitimacy of their transactions without revealing specific details. These cryptographic methods ensure that users’ identities remain private during withdrawals, effectively balancing privacy with regulatory compliance.

Association Sets in Privacy Pools

Privacy pools utilize “association sets” to enhance transaction anonymity and validate the legitimacy of funds. These sets categorize wallet addresses into groups of “good” depositors, who are not linked to criminal activities and “bad” depositors. Users select an association set for withdrawals to maintain anonymity and validate their funds.

Illustrative Example

Consider five users: Alice, Bob, Carl, David, and Eve, where Eve is known for criminal involvement. To maximize privacy and reduce suspicion, Alice, Bob, Carl, and David exclude Eve from their association set, forming a group of {Alice, Bob, Carl, David}. Due to her known criminal involvement, Eve ends up in a set that includes all five deposits, as she cannot exclude her own. This arrangement isolates Eve’s risk, maintaining the integrity and privacy of the other users.


Subscribe to our Top Crypto News weekly newsletter

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Role of Association Set Providers (ASPs)

In practice, users don’t manually choose their deposits for the sets. Instead, they subscribe to Association Set Providers (ASPs), trusted third parties who generate sets with specific characteristics. These ASPs can operate entirely on-chain without human intervention or off-chain, independently creating and publishing association sets. They analyze transactions using blockchain analytics for Anti-Money Laundering purposes and manage:

  • Inclusion Proofs: These confirm transactions from “good” depositors.
  • Exclusion Proofs: These detect and exclude transactions from “bad” depositors.

This process ensures that users like Alice, Bob, Carl, and David can avoid association with high-risk individuals like Eve, thus safeguarding their transactions within the privacy pool.

Benefits of Privacy Pools

Privacy pools offer several advantages to both users and regulatory institutions. They enable users to maintain their privacy while providing the ability to demonstrate the legitimacy of their funds. Additionally, they assist regulatory bodies in effectively identifying and monitoring money laundering activities.

Limitations and Future Developments

Privacy pools depend on Association Set Providers (ASPs), introducing risks of centralization and potential trust issues. Malicious actions by ASPs could compromise the system’s integrity and security. Ensuring the security of the smart contracts that govern these pools is another challenge, as is achieving the right balance between privacy and regulatory oversight. Future improvements may focus on refining the technology, enhancing scalability, and fostering interoperability among different privacy pool implementations.

Benefits for CoolWallet Pro Users

CoolWallet Pro users, who prioritize their crypto security and privacy, stand to gain from using privacy pools. These pools enhance privacy by obscuring the details of users’ transactions on the blockchain, ensuring compliance with regulatory demands. Additionally, since CoolWallet Pro stores cryptocurrency offline, it reduces the risk of exposure to online threats. This offline storage, when combined with the obfuscation features of privacy pools, further reduces the likelihood of personal transaction data being traced or exposed. Together, these features provide CoolWallet Pro users with a comprehensive solution for secure and private cryptocurrency management.


Privacy pools offer an effective solution to the ongoing challenges of balancing privacy with transparency in blockchain technology. By leveraging zk-SNARKs and association sets, these pools protect user privacy while complying with regulatory requirements. Such innovations mark a significant advancement in overcoming the complexities faced by blockchain in today’s regulatory landscape.

Go to previous article

Smart Scan: Stay Cool and Safe with Enhancing Security

Go to next article

Introduction to Perpetual Futures Contracts

© 2024 - CoolWallet - All Rights Reserved.
Website by Innovext