Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin published a research paper suggesting using secret addresses to increase privacy-preserving transfers. Buterin elaborated that secret addresses can be implemented quite quickly in Ethereum today and will significantly improve user privacy on the blockchain network.
Buterin Proposes Secret Addresses as a Solution to Privacy Issues in the Ethereum Ecosystem
Three days ago, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin published a blog post detailing the benefits of private addresses and their use. Hidden addresses are a feature supported by other blockchain networks such as Monero (XMR) to increase privacy and anonymity when conducting transactions. The network generates one-time addresses that are not connected to the user’s general address. In a blog post, Buterin insists that “one of the biggest challenges remaining in the Ethereum ecosystem is privacy.”
Buterin describes a number of different ways to create cryptographically opaque public addresses with a key corruption mechanism, elliptic curve cryptography, and quantum persistent security. It also addresses “social recovery and multi-L2 wallets” and “spend allocation and view keys”. Buterin notes that there are some concerns that could affect long-term use, such as the difficulty of social recovery. “In the long run, these problems can be solved, but the long-term secret address ecosystem looks like a system that will really depend heavily on zero-knowledge proofs,” Buterin said.
Although Monero uses hidden addresses, the technology is also featured on cryptocurrency networks such as Zcash, Dash, Verge, Navcoin, and PIVX. It should be noted that some of the above-mentioned cryptocurrencies have different implementations of secret addresses. Concluding his research post, Buterin details that private addresses can easily be implemented into the Ethereum network and that wallets will need to adapt to the changes. In general, supporting hidden addresses will require significant changes to the underlying architecture of Ethereum-based wallets and their current settings.
For example, current wallets use a different address format. Lite clients must generate new, one-time addresses for each transaction, and wallets must be able to properly encrypt and decrypt transaction data. “Key secret addresses can be implemented fairly quickly today and could be a significant boost to practical user privacy on Ethereum,” Buterin said. “It takes some work on the wallet side to support them. However, in my opinion, wallets should move towards a more local multi-address model (for example, creating a new address for each app you interact with might be an option) for other privacy-related reasons.”
What are your thoughts on the implementation of secret addresses on the Ethereum network? Do you believe this will significantly improve user privacy on the blockchain network, or do you have any concerns about longer-term use? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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