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Author Topic: Will the Stealth BIP (Bitcoin Improvement Proposal) ever be done?  (Read 6990 times)
ABISprotocol
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June 08, 2015, 12:26:54 AM
 #1

It seems like there have been endless delays and what appear to be "development arguments" which have hindered what could have been, by now, development of Stealth, or more precisely, the Stealth BIP (BIP number 63).

You can see a recent remark of mine on this subject in the Bitcoin repository here in which I linked to a twitter thread where developers discussed this issue:
https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/issues/5783#issuecomment-109680602

Indeed, here in the Electrum repository, on Jan. 11, 2015, dabura667 remarked,
"Will re-open once Stealth is settled on. It keeps having "its the last change" over and over again... so I'll wait til it is a BIP.
I will keep my branch up to date with the latest Dark Wallet version in case someone wants to use the commits."
https://github.com/spesmilo/electrum/pull/817#issuecomment-69489090

On the other hand, nothing is keeping someone from actually writing the BIP, as it seems like "all they would need to do" is communicate with Peter Todd and Greg Maxwell to ask if they could actually write it up as per the procedure at bitcoin/bips:
https://github.com/bitcoin/bips
Here's the archived proposal from Peter Todd for Stealth Addresses, with acknowledgments:
http://sourceforge.net/p/bitcoin/mailman/message/31813471/

Since it's already been assigned a number, why not just have it now published to github at bitcoin/bips and move ahead, and the other technical issues could be worked on further at the draft stage.  It seems logical to see it move forward at this time.  Please feel free to tell me here why it should not be published at this time or why I am a blithering idiot. :-)

Respectfully,

-ABISprotocol

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June 08, 2015, 12:32:16 AM
 #2

Wouldn't this get more useful responses in the dev & nerd section?

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June 08, 2015, 12:33:44 AM
 #3

Wouldn't this get more useful responses in the dev & nerd section?

One never knows.

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June 08, 2015, 12:39:27 AM
 #4

So, in plain english what is the stealth bip and why should the average non-techie noob like me care? Is is a modification to make bitcoins more anonymous?  That is what it sounds like to me but I am not sure.
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June 08, 2015, 12:59:40 AM
 #5

So, in plain english what is the stealth bip and why should the average non-techie noob like me care? Is is a modification to make bitcoins more anonymous?  That is what it sounds like to me but I am not sure.

As I understand it in a basic way, the Stealth Address will help mitigate the problem of address reuse, though this may be an oversimplification of what it does.  
(One socially meaningful function that people could really appreciate right away is that stealth addresses would likely make a straightforward and guilt-free way for a organization (non-profit for example) to post such an address to receive donations, as they would not then be revealing a bunch of information about the donors [and others in the network] every time someone donates to the organization.)

Why should you care?  Essentially it's from a privacy angle, as that address reuse is done then this conveys information about you and others in the network.  One could measure the extent to which you may be compromising privacy of others in the network based on your actions but without getting into that here, suffice it to say, address reuse isn't that great for the privacy of the network, and if wallets had support for stealth addresses, and if people had the ability to choose to use stealth or not to use it, depending upon their preferences of course, then that would be a good thing.

It's actually not what I would call "anonymity" because the use of Stealth as described wouldn't result in anonymity per se (IMHO).  I believe it would actually result in enhanced privacy.    From the original paper by Peter Todd, "The txin's owned by the payor are not revealed to the payee. In fact, they could be held by a third-party who simply makes a transaction with the appropriate txouts on behalf of the payee. (...) Less information about the txouts is leaked."  I don't consider such developments anonymous actually, but it's a pretty good privacy scheme.  Here's what I believe to be the first ever successful stealth transaction:
https://blockchain.info/tx/63e75e43de21b73d7eb0220ce44dcfa5fc7717a8decebb254b31ef13047fa518
Notice that there are things you can see about it.  It's certainly not fully anonymous, from my perspective.

OK, the final part of your question was, BIP.  What is the stealth BIP?  That's the Bitcoin Improvement Proposal.  Stealth has been suggested to be made as a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal so that this would have support in bitcoin / core.  The process lays out ideas that would help improvements happen and the developers vet them.  There's a 'readme' that covers that here:
https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/blob/master/README.mediawiki

Respect,

ABISprotocol

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June 08, 2015, 01:33:19 AM
 #6

What does it do, and how exactly will this make my transactions more secure or more private?
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June 08, 2015, 03:27:51 AM
 #7

So, in plain english what is the stealth bip and why should the average non-techie noob like me care? Is is a modification to make bitcoins more anonymous?  That is what it sounds like to me but I am not sure.

As I understand it in a basic way, the Stealth Address will help mitigate the problem of address reuse, though this may be an oversimplification of what it does.  
(One socially meaningful function that people could really appreciate right away is that stealth addresses would likely make a straightforward and guilt-free way for a organization (non-profit for example) to post such an address to receive donations, as they would not then be revealing a bunch of information about the donors [and others in the network] every time someone donates to the organization.)

Why should you care?  Essentially it's from a privacy angle, as that address reuse is done then this conveys information about you and others in the network.  One could measure the extent to which you may be compromising privacy of others in the network based on your actions but without getting into that here, suffice it to say, address reuse isn't that great for the privacy of the network, and if wallets had support for stealth addresses, and if people had the ability to choose to use stealth or not to use it, depending upon their preferences of course, then that would be a good thing.

It's actually not what I would call "anonymity" because the use of Stealth as described wouldn't result in anonymity per se (IMHO).  I believe it would actually result in enhanced privacy.    From the original paper by Peter Todd, "The txin's owned by the payor are not revealed to the payee. In fact, they could be held by a third-party who simply makes a transaction with the appropriate txouts on behalf of the payee. (...) Less information about the txouts is leaked."  I don't consider such developments anonymous actually, but it's a pretty good privacy scheme.  Here's what I believe to be the first ever successful stealth transaction:
https://blockchain.info/tx/63e75e43de21b73d7eb0220ce44dcfa5fc7717a8decebb254b31ef13047fa518
Notice that there are things you can see about it.  It's certainly not fully anonymous, from my perspective.

OK, the final part of your question was, BIP.  What is the stealth BIP?  That's the Bitcoin Improvement Proposal.  Stealth has been suggested to be made as a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal so that this would have support in bitcoin / core.  The process lays out ideas that would help improvements happen and the developers vet them.  There's a 'readme' that covers that here:
https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/blob/master/README.mediawiki

Respect,

ABISprotocol

I just wanted to say thanks for this summary.  I am sure that many people will read this.  It is clear and concise, and readable by people that are not computer programmers.  Thank you for taking the time to write it darling!  Kiss
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June 08, 2015, 03:40:45 AM
 #8

So, in plain english what is the stealth bip and why should the average non-techie noob like me care? Is is a modification to make bitcoins more anonymous?  That is what it sounds like to me but I am not sure.

As I understand it in a basic way, the Stealth Address will help mitigate the problem of address reuse, though this may be an oversimplification of what it does.  
(One socially meaningful function that people could really appreciate right away is that stealth addresses would likely make a straightforward and guilt-free way for a organization (non-profit for example) to post such an address to receive donations, as they would not then be revealing a bunch of information about the donors [and others in the network] every time someone donates to the organization.)

Why should you care?  Essentially it's from a privacy angle, as that address reuse is done then this conveys information about you and others in the network.  One could measure the extent to which you may be compromising privacy of others in the network based on your actions but without getting into that here, suffice it to say, address reuse isn't that great for the privacy of the network, and if wallets had support for stealth addresses, and if people had the ability to choose to use stealth or not to use it, depending upon their preferences of course, then that would be a good thing.

It's actually not what I would call "anonymity" because the use of Stealth as described wouldn't result in anonymity per se (IMHO).  I believe it would actually result in enhanced privacy.    From the original paper by Peter Todd, "The txin's owned by the payor are not revealed to the payee. In fact, they could be held by a third-party who simply makes a transaction with the appropriate txouts on behalf of the payee. (...) Less information about the txouts is leaked."  I don't consider such developments anonymous actually, but it's a pretty good privacy scheme.  Here's what I believe to be the first ever successful stealth transaction:
https://blockchain.info/tx/63e75e43de21b73d7eb0220ce44dcfa5fc7717a8decebb254b31ef13047fa518
Notice that there are things you can see about it.  It's certainly not fully anonymous, from my perspective.

OK, the final part of your question was, BIP.  What is the stealth BIP?  That's the Bitcoin Improvement Proposal.  Stealth has been suggested to be made as a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal so that this would have support in bitcoin / core.  The process lays out ideas that would help improvements happen and the developers vet them.  There's a 'readme' that covers that here:
https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/blob/master/README.mediawiki

Respect,

ABISprotocol

I just wanted to say thanks for this summary.  I am sure that many people will read this.  It is clear and concise, and readable by people that are not computer programmers.  Thank you for taking the time to write it darling!  Kiss

You're welcome!

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June 08, 2015, 06:34:51 AM
 #9

When I saw the Bip number 63... I thought it was a stronger encryption. Thank you for the detailed explanation.

Could the reason be, that 3rd party mixers and built in mixer features within wallet providers void the need for such upgrades?  Or do you think it would be better to implement improved privacy on the protocol levels?

I am ALL for more privacy and would welcome ANY methods to achieve these goals. {Why do the government or a stalker need to know, how I spend my money?}

Thanks for posting this.  Grin 

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June 08, 2015, 02:50:52 PM
 #10

So, in plain english what is the stealth bip and why should the average non-techie noob like me care? Is is a modification to make bitcoins more anonymous?  That is what it sounds like to me but I am not sure.

As I understand it in a basic way, the Stealth Address will help mitigate the problem of address reuse, though this may be an oversimplification of what it does.  
(One socially meaningful function that people could really appreciate right away is that stealth addresses would likely make a straightforward and guilt-free way for a organization (non-profit for example) to post such an address to receive donations, as they would not then be revealing a bunch of information about the donors [and others in the network] every time someone donates to the organization.)

Why should you care?  Essentially it's from a privacy angle, as that address reuse is done then this conveys information about you and others in the network.  One could measure the extent to which you may be compromising privacy of others in the network based on your actions but without getting into that here, suffice it to say, address reuse isn't that great for the privacy of the network, and if wallets had support for stealth addresses, and if people had the ability to choose to use stealth or not to use it, depending upon their preferences of course, then that would be a good thing.

It's actually not what I would call "anonymity" because the use of Stealth as described wouldn't result in anonymity per se (IMHO).  I believe it would actually result in enhanced privacy.    From the original paper by Peter Todd, "The txin's owned by the payor are not revealed to the payee. In fact, they could be held by a third-party who simply makes a transaction with the appropriate txouts on behalf of the payee. (...) Less information about the txouts is leaked."  I don't consider such developments anonymous actually, but it's a pretty good privacy scheme.  Here's what I believe to be the first ever successful stealth transaction:
https://blockchain.info/tx/63e75e43de21b73d7eb0220ce44dcfa5fc7717a8decebb254b31ef13047fa518
Notice that there are things you can see about it.  It's certainly not fully anonymous, from my perspective.

OK, the final part of your question was, BIP.  What is the stealth BIP?  That's the Bitcoin Improvement Proposal.  Stealth has been suggested to be made as a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal so that this would have support in bitcoin / core.  The process lays out ideas that would help improvements happen and the developers vet them.  There's a 'readme' that covers that here:
https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/blob/master/README.mediawiki

Respect,

ABISprotocol

Correct me if im wrong,but doesn't giving a master public key have the same result? For example, in Electrum, you give someone your master public key so they can pay you, creating a brand new, 1-time only address, which vastly improves anonymity.
Of course this Stealh address things seems more convenient than giving away a master public key, but seems to me the result is similar.
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June 08, 2015, 07:53:33 PM
 #11

Correct me if im wrong,but doesn't giving a master public key have the same result? For example, in Electrum, you give someone your master public key so they can pay you, creating a brand new, 1-time only address

The difference is: with a master public key, the sender can use it to figure out who else paid money to that address, past and future. With stealth addresses, the sender knows only the address they sent to (or maybe not even that... but you could work it out in any case by looking at which block it was confirmed into and how much the transaction was for)

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June 08, 2015, 09:37:28 PM
 #12

Whilst this does not help the bitcoin implementation ... Shadow (see sig) implemented dual key (scan and spent key) stealth address in its code base for those that want to have a play with it.
Lots of great benefits for improving once privacy.

^ I am with STUPID!
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June 08, 2015, 10:09:04 PM
 #13

Moved to dev and tech. Bitcoin discussion was an alright place for the thread to be, but you are likely to get better discussion in this section.
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June 09, 2015, 02:15:53 AM
 #14

Long story short, right now I think my time is better spent focusing on more fundemental issues with Bitcoin like scalability.

I've also got no-one interested in funding stealth address development right now; I do need to pay rent!

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June 09, 2015, 04:39:20 AM
 #15

Don't several wallets implement stealth addresses already? 
Why do you want this github BIP?  Just go do what you need to already. 

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June 09, 2015, 07:45:43 AM
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Long story short, right now I think my time is better spent focusing on more fundemental issues with Bitcoin like scalability.

I've also got no-one interested in funding stealth address development right now; I do need to pay rent!

I'll chip in some bits!

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June 09, 2015, 11:36:23 AM
 #17

Long story short, right now I think my time is better spent focusing on more fundemental issues with Bitcoin like scalability.

I've also got no-one interested in funding stealth address development right now; I do need to pay rent!

Are there a few developers with some free time that just need some funds to pay the bills to finish this? If so, please setup a lighthouse fundraiser and I will gladly contribute and help promote it.
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June 10, 2015, 02:35:59 AM
 #18

What does it do, and how exactly will this make my transactions more secure or more private?

Hello,

There is a summary response above which I hope covers this, but if you wanted something else, there is a brief but useful description here by some folks who have been developing stealth.js for darkwallet:
https://github.com/darkwallet/stealth.js/blob/master/README.md

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June 10, 2015, 02:43:17 AM
 #19

What does it do, and how exactly will this make my transactions more secure or more private?

Hello,

There is a summary response above which I hope covers this, but if you wanted something else, there is a brief but useful description here by some folks who have been developing stealth.js for darkwallet:
https://github.com/darkwallet/stealth.js/blob/master/README.md
That link is actually very helpful with understanding the mechanics of stealth addresses. Thanks.
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June 10, 2015, 02:44:19 AM
 #20

When I saw the Bip number 63... I thought it was a stronger encryption. Thank you for the detailed explanation.

Could the reason be, that 3rd party mixers and built in mixer features within wallet providers void the need for such upgrades?  Or do you think it would be better to implement improved privacy on the protocol levels?

I am ALL for more privacy and would welcome ANY methods to achieve these goals. {Why do the government or a stalker need to know, how I spend my money?}

Thanks for posting this.  Grin 

The short answer is no, 3rd party mixers (such as a mixer plugin which presents bitcoin mixing as a feature, and could be "dropped into" Electrum because the feature provided is not mainline in Electrum, as example) don't provide a better level of privacy than what could be provided if stealth address were to be directly supported in the protocol.  

Here I am suggesting that this stealth BIP (BIP 63) be started, it all starts in the draft stage.
There are different kinds of BIPs.

     Standards Track BIPs - Changes to the network protocol, block or transaction validation, or anything affecting interoperability.
    Informational BIPs - Design issues, general guidelines. This type of BIP is NOT for proposing new features and do not represent community consensus
    Process BIPs - Describes or proposes a change in process. Similar to Standards BIPs but apply outside the Bitcoin protocol.

I don't know what kind of BIP this would end up being, but I am kind of assuming it might end up being a Process BIP, but again, I don't really know.  I'm assuming that how it would be tracked and categorized would depend on Greg Maxwell and Peter Todd assuming this moves forward...

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