Exchange Pattern Mining in the Bitcoin Transaction Directed Hypergraph

  • Stephen RanshousEmail author
  • Cliff A. Joslyn
  • Sean Kreyling
  • Kathleen Nowak
  • Nagiza F. Samatova
  • Curtis L. West
  • Samuel Winters
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10323)


Bitcoin exchanges operate between digital and fiat currency networks, thus providing an opportunity to connect real-world identities to pseudonymous addresses, an important task for anti-money laundering efforts. We seek to characterize, understand, and identify patterns centered around exchanges in the context of a directed hypergraph model for Bitcoin transactions. We introduce the idea of motifs in directed hypergraphs, considering a particular 2-motif as a potential laundering pattern. We identify distinct statistical properties of exchange addresses related to the acquisition and spending of bitcoin. We then leverage this to build classification models to learn a set of discriminating features, and are able to predict if an address is owned by an exchange with \(>80\%\) accuracy using purely structural features of the graph. Applying this classifier to the 2-motif patterns reveals a preponderance of inter-exchange activity, while not necessarily significant laundering patterns.


Bitcoin Exchanges Transaction graph Directed hypergraph Motif Classification 



This material is based on work supported in part by the Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration under Award Number(s) DE-NA0002576. It is also supported in part under the Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a multi-program national laboratory operated by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© International Financial Cryptography Association 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Ranshous
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cliff A. Joslyn
    • 2
  • Sean Kreyling
    • 2
  • Kathleen Nowak
    • 4
  • Nagiza F. Samatova
    • 1
    • 3
  • Curtis L. West
    • 2
  • Samuel Winters
    • 2
  1. 1.North Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.Pacific Northwest National LaboratorySeattle, WAUSA
  3. 3.Oak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA
  4. 4.Pacific Northwest National LaboratoryRichlandUSA

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