Tips for Maximizing Your Privacy When Using Tornado Cash

Tips to best use Tornado Cash for privacy

With the traceability of the blockchain, Tornado Cash has emerged as an essential tool that allows near perfect on-chain privacy for transactions of all sizes. However, looking beyond its features and technological innovations, one must acknowledge that using Tornado Cash properly is paramount for achieving the privacy that it had been designed to deliver.

From the fundamentals of securing your internet traffic to post-withdrawal behaviour, this comprehensive guide dives into various techniques on to utilize Tornado Cash for maximum privacy. Whether you are a seasoned user looking to refine your privacy practices, or a newbie just starting out with Tornado Cash, we hope you will gain invaluable insights from this article.

For avoidance of doubt, the use of the term Tornado Cash app here refers to the classic UI to interact with the protocol. Always use the official link to the app for your own safety.

Fundamentals: Securing Your Internet Traffic Through VPNs and TOR

Securing your internet access

Even before you begin using Tornado Cash, put in some effort to secure your internet traffic as it can reveal a ton of information about you. Here are some possibilities:

  • Choosing the Right VPN: Not all VPNs are created equal. Avoid free VPN services, as they often log and sell your data. Instead, opt for reputable VPN providers that respect user privacy. Ensure that they latest technologies such as Wireguard, a protocol heralded as the latest standard in VPN technology, offering both security and speed.
  • Leveraging the TOR Network: For an additional layer of anonymity, the TOR network provides a robust solution. By routing your internet traffic through multiple layers of encryption, TOR makes it extremely difficult to trace your online activities back to you. Here are ways to integrate TOR with Tornado Cash usage:
    • Access Tornado Cash through the TOR browser to ensure your web activity is encrypted.
    • Configure the SOCKS proxy settings of the Tornado Cash CLI tool to route through TOR, further anonymizing your transactions.
    • For those seeking an even deeper layer of security, Whonix offers a comprehensive anonymity framework that can be run on your primary operating system or within a virtual machine.

Integrating VPNs and TOR into your repertoire not only enhances your privacy on the blockchain but also shields your internet presence from prying eyes. This dual approach to anonymity ensures that both your on-chain and off-chain activities remain confidential.

Setup: Browser Choice and Local Deployment

Now that you have secured your internet traffic, we are going to look into your choice of browser, its configuration, and the possibility of deploying the Tornado Cash app locally.

  • Browser Selection and Configuration: The choice of browser plays a major role in securing your privacy. Mainstream browsers such as Google Chrome are notorious for running background analytics that can compromise user anonymity. Instead, opt for privacy-focused browsers such as Brave, Firefox or TOR. These browsers offer enhanced privacy features and are compatible with open-source extensions that minimize tracking. When configuring your browser, prioritize settings that reduce exposure to tracking cookies and analytics services.
  • Local Deployment: For increased safety and anonymity, consider deploying Tornado Cash locally. This approach safeguards against phishing attempts and reduces reliance on third-party services. If you have minimal technical knowledge, utilizing tools like the IPFS browser extension will simplify the process substantially and allow you the deployment of Tornado Cash locally with ease.

Take note that web browsers store vast amounts of data, such as history, cache, and cookies, which can reveal your online activities. When using the Tornado Cash app, the browser stores deposit and withdrawal records, even your note data. Hence, it is important to regularly delete your browser history and clear cache and cookies to hide these traces to guard against unauthorized access through a compromised browser or shared computer.

Getting Started: Wallet Selection and Making a Deposit

Selecting the right wallet for transacting

Let’s now move on to using the Tornado Cash app. To start with, choosing the right wallet and securing your notes upon the first deposit are crucial steps in safeguarding both your privacy and funds. Here is what you need to know to protect your digital assets while maintaining full privacy, as you begin your journey with using Tornado Cash:

  • Wallet Selection and Configuration:
    • MetaMask Concerns: While MetaMask is among the most popular Ethereum wallets, it’s important to note that it logs IP addresses by default during wallet creation and transactions. This poses a significant privacy risk, as your IP address can link your blockchain activities to your real-world identity.
    • Risk of RPC Access Keys: When using MetaMask, each instance is assigned an Infura RPC access key. This enables different transactions on different addresses within the same wallet to be linked together. To mitigate this, consider deleting and reinstalling Metamask whenever needed to reset the access key between transactions.
    • Choosing Privacy-focused Wallets: Alternatively, opt for wallets that prioritize user privacy and do not log personal data. Open-source wallets such as Frame, Enkrypt, and Tally Ho are excellent choices for complete privacy when transacting.
  • Deposit Note Confidentiality: Your deposit note in Tornado Cash is not just the key to accessing your funds, it also links directly back to your depositing address, potentially compromising your anonymity if not handled carefully. Remember to always store your notes securely, or consider setting up a Note Account within the Tornado Cash app for secure storage on the blockchain.

Importantly, you need to be aware of the risks of Metamask to make an informed decision on whether to carry on using it, or to opt for an alternative wallet that ensures true privacy.

Using the Tornado Cash App: Recommended Practices for Enhanced Anonymity

Recommended practices when using the Tornado Cash App

Beyond the bells and whistles of technical setups, achieving optimal privacy with Tornado Cash hinges very much on the simplest of aspects – your transaction practices. Here are several recommended practices that you ought to take note of:

  • Strategic Withdrawal Timing: The anonymity of your transactions depends very much on the number of subsequent transactions within Tornado Cash. Withdrawing immediately after depositing can make your transactions easier to correlate. Always wait for additional deposits into the pool before withdrawing to increase your “anonymity set,” which will make it more challenging to link deposits to withdrawals.
  • Utilizing Multiple Addresses: Depositing from and withdrawing to single addresses can create easily traceable patterns. Instead, use multiple addresses to fragment your transactions. This complicates the task of linking transactions, thereby enhancing your privacy.
  • Varying Gas Parameters: Consistent gas values can be used to fingerprint and potentially link your transactions. By configuring arbitrary gas values for your deposits and withdrawals, you introduce variability that makes the recognition of a pattern more difficult.
  • Choosing Strong Anonymity Sets: The extent of privacy through Tornado Cash is probabilistic. Blend into the crowd through pools (eg. 10 ETH instead of 100 ETH) with higher numbers of deposits as they naturally make your transactions less distinguishable.
  • Fragmenting Deposits: If you’re looking to deposit a large amount, consider making multiple deposits into lower denomination pools too as they tend to have a greater number of deposits. This strategy not only increases your anonymity but also distributes your transaction footprint across multiple pools, albeit at a higher transaction fee cost.

Transacting in a smart way enhances your anonymity greatly. By carefully planning your interactions with the protocol and employing a mix of strategies, you can significantly improve the privacy of yourself and other fellow users.

Finishing Off: During and After Withdrawal

Finally, we will be delving into several factors that matter greatly for the most crucial stage of the process – withdrawal. Diversifying your withdrawal methods helps in avoiding pattern recognition and behavioral profiling, critical aspects that can compromise your anonymity in this stage. Here are areas that you need to take note of:

  • The Risk of Singular Relayer Usage: Relayers listed within the Tornado Cash app help mask your IP address during withdrawal transactions, acting as intermediaries. However, consistently using the same relayer for withdrawals can create a detectable pattern. This behavioral consistency can be used to infer connections between your transactions, reducing the effectiveness of the privacy Tornado Cash provides. To go around this issue, ensure that you utilize different relayers for each withdrawal. Leaving it as the default relayer option after your note is processed should do the trick, as the app is designed to pick a random relayer during each withdrawal.
  • Post-withdrawal Behaviour: Be mindful of what is done with funds after a withdrawal is made. If a specific series of events occur (eg. swapping to a particular token and staking at a specific protocol) across multiple withdrawals, the pattern could be picked up and a link made, resulting in compromised privacy.


Privacy in the digital realm, especially within the cryptocurrency space, is a continuously evolving challenge. Tools like Tornado Cash offer powerful means to enhance transactional anonymity, but their effectiveness also hinges very much on user practices as we have seen in this guide. By paying attention to the various aspects discussed—from achieving a secure setup to randomizing withdrawal methods—you can significantly bolster your privacy when using Tornado Cash more broadly, transacting on the blockchain. Remember, achieving true digital anonymity across protocols is a proactive and ongoing process, requiring diligence, awareness, and the adaptation of new privacy-preserving techniques as they emerge.