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Author Topic: Patching The Bitcoin Client To Make It More Anonymous  (Read 24033 times)
cjp
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November 14, 2011, 06:34:04 PM
 #41

I really need this patch! Is it available for version 0.4.0?

It doesn't seem to be in the standard client (0.4.0) yet. Why not? Sure, advertising it as an anonymity feature might give false expectations, but the same is true for the current client, since Bitcoin already has an anonymity reputation. This feature is not sufficient for complete anonymity, but it is a necessary (IMHO) component of a anonymous set-up, and as such it is a useful addition to the client. Sure, it adds complexity to the user interface (I haven't seen it yet), but this can easily be an 'optional' feature (and disabled by default), can't it?

Besides, I need it for a completely different reason: I want to manage several separated accounts, for an open source software development 'bounty' system (e.g., 'if you want to have this feature, send BTC to that address'). I want others to be able to see how much has been donated so far (or even how much they can receive if they implement the requested feature), so I don't want to accidentally spend bitcoins from the donation address.

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November 16, 2011, 03:14:25 AM
 #42

I really need this patch! Is it available for version 0.4.0?

It doesn't seem to be in the standard client (0.4.0) yet. Why not? Sure, advertising it as an anonymity feature might give false expectations, but the same is true for the current client, since Bitcoin already has an anonymity reputation. This feature is not sufficient for complete anonymity, but it is a necessary (IMHO) component of a anonymous set-up, and as such it is a useful addition to the client. Sure, it adds complexity to the user interface (I haven't seen it yet), but this can easily be an 'optional' feature (and disabled by default), can't it?

Besides, I need it for a completely different reason: I want to manage several separated accounts, for an open source software development 'bounty' system (e.g., 'if you want to have this feature, send BTC to that address'). I want others to be able to see how much has been donated so far (or even how much they can receive if they implement the requested feature), so I don't want to accidentally spend bitcoins from the donation address.


It's possible https://www.bitaddress.org  could be useful for you to create separate accounts which you won't accidentally spend.

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November 16, 2011, 05:31:56 PM
 #43

I really need this patch! Is it available for version 0.4.0?


I updated the code for 0.4 but never released builds since I didn't perceive any demand for them.  The code is now updated for the 0.5 qt gui so once 0.5 is officially released I'll release builds with my patch as well.

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November 17, 2011, 07:52:44 PM
 #44

TLDR: this patch allows you to:
- see all addresses, including change
- see which addresses are linked together (does recursive expansion of address linkages)
- select which address(es) to send from, rather than letting the client to chose for you
Very nice. I hadn't seen this before now.

why conflate the two issues?
Because to non-technical users, "privacy" is a single feature, not a series of separate technical issues.
You have an excellent point about how non-technical users view privacy.  But you have to take a series of small steps to achieve a larger goal.  In privacy mode, Google Chrome lists several ways your privacy could still be compromised, yet that didn't keep them from adding privacy mode.  This patch should be added to the official client, but will obviously not be the last privacy-related improvement to bitcoin.

I updated the code for 0.4 but never released builds since I didn't perceive any demand for them.  The code is now updated for the 0.5 qt gui so once 0.5 is officially released I'll release builds with my patch as well.
Awesome.  I'll patch 0.5 when I start using it.

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November 17, 2011, 07:54:09 PM
 #45

It's possible https://www.bitaddress.org  could be useful for you to create separate accounts which you won't accidentally spend.
Thanks for the suggestion. Isn't it true that I can do the same with some Linux scripts? I think I've read something like that in another thread. I'd prefer that approach, since I don't really trust arbitrary websites. It might secretly remember the private keys of the generated addresses and its operators might decide to cash out as soon as a certain amount of money is stored on addresses generated by them.

Anyway, I think this still requires a patch in my Bitcoin client, so that I can later import the private key.

Quote
I updated the code for 0.4 but never released builds since I didn't perceive any demand for them.  The code is now updated for the 0.5 qt gui so once 0.5 is officially released I'll release builds with my patch as well.

I don't need builds; please give me an URL for the source code of the version 0.4 patch. I'll give your code a quick security review (so hopefully it won't be too large) and then I'll compile my own client.

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November 17, 2011, 08:15:37 PM
 #46

I'd prefer that approach, since I don't really trust arbitrary websites. It might secretly remember the private keys of the generated addresses and its operators might decide to cash out as soon as a certain amount of money is stored on addresses generated by them.
bitaddress.org is designed so that you can download the HTML/JS file(s) and run them on an offline machine.  It's all done in Javascript client-side and nothing goes to the server.

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November 18, 2011, 04:31:53 AM
 #47

I don't need builds; please give me an URL for the source code of the version 0.4 patch. I'll give your code a quick security review (so hopefully it won't be too large) and then I'll compile my own client.

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November 18, 2011, 07:42:57 AM
 #48

0.4, https://github.com/coderrr/bitcoin/compare/v0.4.0...v0.4.0+coderrr

0.5, https://github.com/coderrr/bitcoin/compare/v0.5.0rc5...v0.5.0+coderrr

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November 24, 2011, 05:01:09 AM
 #49

Thank you!

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December 14, 2011, 08:43:18 PM
 #50

Any chance of a windows build of 0.5 with the patch?

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December 15, 2011, 06:30:50 AM
 #51

Any chance of a windows build of 0.5 with the patch?

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December 15, 2011, 08:26:06 AM
 #52

Any chance of a windows build of 0.5 with the patch?

+1
+2

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December 15, 2011, 08:48:59 AM
 #53

That's where needs really are.

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December 15, 2011, 09:39:18 AM
 #54

I have to say that having read this, I am very disappointed. The anonymity available in bitcoin comes done to this: with special tools, a specialist will be able to violate the anonymity of anyone using the standard client. Shouldn't this be fixed at the protocol level? Perhaps by exchange of bitcoin amounts with random clients, these transactions might disguise legitimate transactions breaking the chain of address dependency.  This is not 'what it says on the box'!

Its true that eves-dropping is an issue, but its another issue, and in particular it requires action beforehand, while the blockchain is a permanent record, so can be analysed years afterwards to prove that I was sending money to more than one hot_lady!  (or whatever!)

Eves-dropping is an issue, but its not a reason for lack of action on this issue, Gavin, how could you imply such a thing? It sounds like an excuse for inaction.

While I really applaud the work of coderr and the Bitcoin authors, anonymity is a part of Bitcoins promise, this post makes it clear to me that for now at least, the past blockchain can be forensically analysed to reveal far more information than a casual user would expect. We need to see how we can deliver on this promise.


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December 15, 2011, 05:21:55 PM
 #55

I have to say that having read this, I am very disappointed. The anonymity available in bitcoin comes done to this: with special tools, a specialist will be able to violate the anonymity of anyone using the standard client. Shouldn't this be fixed at the protocol level? Perhaps by exchange of bitcoin amounts with random clients, these transactions might disguise legitimate transactions breaking the chain of address dependency.  This is not 'what it says on the box'!

Its true that eves-dropping is an issue, but its another issue, and in particular it requires action beforehand, while the blockchain is a permanent record, so can be analysed years afterwards to prove that I was sending money to more than one hot_lady!  (or whatever!)

Eves-dropping is an issue, but its not a reason for lack of action on this issue, Gavin, how could you imply such a thing? It sounds like an excuse for inaction.

While I really applaud the work of coderr and the Bitcoin authors, anonymity is a part of Bitcoins promise, this post makes it clear to me that for now at least, the past blockchain can be forensically analysed to reveal far more information than a casual user would expect. We need to see how we can deliver on this promise.
The bottom line is, Bitcoin should have never been advertised as being anonymous, because it simply isn't true.  At least, not with the default client.

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December 16, 2011, 12:20:51 AM
 #56

Sorry, I've been busy, here are the linux (64bit) and windows builds with the patch:

http://mtgoxlive.com/downloads/bitcoin-v0.5.0+coderrr-win32.zip
http://mtgoxlive.com/downloads/bitcoin-v0.5.0+coderrr-linux64.tar.bz2

You must first enable the anonymity tab in 'options -> display' before you see anything.

Here is the pull request, +1 it if you guys want to see this patch get into core:
https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/pull/415

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December 16, 2011, 11:35:53 PM
 #57

+9000

 I really wonder why this hasn't been adopted by the main client yet, anonymity is one of bitcoin's key aspects, yet every transaction potentially leaks a lot of addresses you don't wish to be associated with.

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December 17, 2011, 10:04:41 PM
 #58

+1 - it's not just for anonymity, it's also a look under the hood at addresses, which helps when explaining how bitcoin works.
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December 18, 2011, 01:45:48 AM
 #59

Watching this.

This should really be made into a pull request

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December 18, 2011, 02:32:17 PM
 #60

Watching this.

This should really be made into a pull request

from my last reply on this thread

Quote
Here is the pull request, +1 it if you guys want to see this patch get into core:
https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/pull/415

Co-Founder of Private Internet Access VPN Service
Original Co-Founder of MtGox Live and BTC.to
Original Developer of the Bitcoin Anonymity Patch
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