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Author Topic: Single address accounts  (Read 1798 times)
codemojo
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July 11, 2011, 12:07:53 AM
 #1

Hi,

suppose there was an online wallet service with a patched version of the official client:

The patch would:
- prevent the client to generate a new address every time it needs to put the money change somewhere
- instead, it would always put the change back to the source address

The benefit would be for the users to be able to check their total balance by simply checking their address on blockexplorer.

My question is, would this have any serious drawbacks, other than loss of anonimity?

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July 11, 2011, 12:21:01 AM
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My question is, would this have any serious drawbacks, other than loss of anonimity?

The current system of change isn't even very anonymous to begin with.  Take a look at any block in blockexplorer, and you'll find that it's terribly easy in most cases to pick out, with reasonable certainty, which output is change and which is a real transfer from A to B.  I've boiled it down to a set of three rules that work almost all of the time here: https://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=27472.msg346658#msg346658.  It's only a matter of time before somebody puts together an alternative block explorer that works around the supposed anonymity of "change" being sent to a new address.
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July 11, 2011, 12:39:55 AM
 #3

Should the title be "single address wallets" instead, or would multiple-account wallets with single-address accounts work with your idea?

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codemojo
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July 11, 2011, 12:42:26 AM
 #4

Should the title be "single address wallets" instead, or would multiple-account wallets with single-address accounts work with your idea?

Yeah, the idea is to have one wallet with multiple "accounts", as the client calls them. And only one address per account.

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kjj
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July 11, 2011, 05:44:00 AM
 #5

Pick up any book on cryptography, open it to any page, stab your finger into any paragraph, and you will find a warning about key re-use.  We don't think that our current systems have any serious weaknesses in this department, but virtually every cryptosystem in history has been weakened and then broken because keys were used multiple times.

Best practice for security: use each key once, and only once.
Not best practice, but still pretty good: allow multiple uses, but discourage.
Worst practice: design a system that keeps using one key over and over and over again.

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ByteCoin
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July 11, 2011, 01:27:31 PM
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Pick up any book on cryptography, open it to any page, stab your finger into any paragraph, and you will find a warning about key re-use.

Such concerns are not relevant for the security of modern cryptosystems. In particular, public key cryptography relies on the public key being published and used multiple times. Please cite any modern technical publications which claim otherwise.

Codemojo's scheme is simple, viable and secure.

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kjj
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July 11, 2011, 02:12:06 PM
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Pick up any book on cryptography, open it to any page, stab your finger into any paragraph, and you will find a warning about key re-use.

Such concerns are not relevant for the security of modern cryptosystems. In particular, public key cryptography relies on the public key being published and used multiple times. Please cite any modern technical publications which claim otherwise.

Codemojo's scheme is simple, viable and secure.

I already said that we don't think the our modern systems have this problem, but every other PK cryptosytem goes to great lengths to minimize usage of the actual private key, just in case.

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July 11, 2011, 02:31:34 PM
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I already said that we don't think the our modern systems have this problem, but every other PK cryptosytem goes to great lengths to minimize usage of the actual private key, just in case.
Bitcoin only uses the actual private key when something has to be signed to prove it was generated by the owner of that private key. I can't imagine how you could minimize it further or why you would want to.

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July 11, 2011, 02:48:22 PM
 #9

I was thinking that perhaps in the future it becomes plausible to brute force some keys. When it occurs it could be some time to switch to different encryption. So if it took say 100,000 USD of computer resources to brute force an address and **IF** Cheesy I was a Bitcoin millionaire I'd rather having many addresses with 1,000 than 1 with a million. 

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kjj
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July 11, 2011, 03:13:35 PM
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I already said that we don't think the our modern systems have this problem, but every other PK cryptosytem goes to great lengths to minimize usage of the actual private key, just in case.
Bitcoin only uses the actual private key when something has to be signed to prove it was generated by the owner of that private key. I can't imagine how you could minimize it further or why you would want to.

You minimize it further by not needing to sign multiple transactions with the same key.

Again, I'm not saying that an attack is likely from this direction, I'm just saying that key reuse is considered harmful in general, and should be minimized unless there is a very compelling reason.

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imperi
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July 11, 2011, 03:26:44 PM
 #11

Pick up any book on cryptography, open it to any page, stab your finger into any paragraph, and you will find a warning about key re-use.  We don't think that our current systems have any serious weaknesses in this department, but virtually every cryptosystem in history has been weakened and then broken because keys were used multiple times.

Best practice for security: use each key once, and only once.
Not best practice, but still pretty good: allow multiple uses, but discourage.
Worst practice: design a system that keeps using one key over and over and over again.

What if we don't care about secrecy with transactions?
kjj
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July 11, 2011, 03:45:29 PM
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What if we don't care about secrecy with transactions?

Secrecy isn't the issue.  The issue is attackers gradually learning bits of your private key.

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kokjo
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July 11, 2011, 04:02:25 PM
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What if we don't care about secrecy with transactions?

Secrecy isn't the issue.  The issue is attackers gradually learning bits of your private key.
an attacker is learning nothing, that the whole point of publickey-cryptography.

go look it up on Wikipedia, before talking about anything you don't know anything about.
or go read some bruce schneier, he have made a good heavy book, about cryptography.
(you know the big red one, with a ufo on the front)

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kjj
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July 11, 2011, 04:43:26 PM
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I've read it, thanks.

You may want to flip through it again so that you can see how every other cryptosystem other than bitcoin takes great pains to minimize and obfuscate use of the private key, and how every PKI system in the world, again not counting bitcoin, insists on using expiration dates for keys.

Bitcoin private keys have no expiration date, and are used to sign plaintexts that are partially repetitive and predictable.  If these factors don't make your sphincter tighten, you missed some big lessons from the history of cryptanalysis.

We can't expire keys, and we can't compress ( =randomize) scripts.  The one thing that we do is discourage key re-use.  We should not abandon the one good practice that we are capable of doing without a damn good reason, even though we are pretty confident that we are safe doing so.

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kokjo
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July 11, 2011, 05:51:26 PM
 #15

Quote
I've read it, thanks.
you does not sound like you have.

Quote
You may want to flip through it again so that you can see how every other cryptosystem other than bitcoin takes great pains to minimize and obfuscate use of the private key, and how every PKI system in the world, again not counting bitcoin, insists on using expiration dates for keys.
example please.

Quote
Bitcoin private keys have no expiration date, and are used to sign plaintexts that are partially repetitive and predictable.  If these factors don't make your sphincter tighten, you missed some big lessons from the history of cryptanalysis.
LOL! expiration date! the only reason for them is for 512 bit RSA keys, and for CAs to earn money.

512bit RSA was secure in 1990 and broken(practicaly) in 1999.
samething thing now:
bitcoin private keys today are secure. in 10 years they may not be.

on a busy SSL server, things gets signed and encrypted, 1000 times per second. with the same 1024/2048 bit key. they are not broken (yet).

it has nothing to do with key reuse.

Quote
We can't expire keys, and we can't compress ( =randomize) scripts.
which is good.

Quote
The one thing that we do is discourage key re-use.  We should not abandon the one good practice that we are capable of doing without a damn good reason, even though we are pretty confident that we are safe doing so.
Abandon good practice? did you ever hear of X.509?
i would like to abandon it, as fast as possible.


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codemojo
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July 11, 2011, 05:56:10 PM
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We can't expire keys, and we can't compress ( =randomize) scripts.  The one thing that we do is discourage key re-use.  We should not abandon the one good practice that we are capable of doing without a damn good reason, even though we are pretty confident that we are safe doing so.

Thanks for your insight, very interesting. The way I see it now is, if the person holding the single-address account doesn't care that much about his money being stolen (like maybe he only keeps small amounts there), then this approach would be sane. I mean, I'm mostly concerned about this patch having a negative impact on some other unrelated bitcoin user, or the network as a whole. For example, could this behavior make another user less anonymous, or make some other client break (because there is a direct cycle - an input is the same as an output), etc...

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kjj
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July 11, 2011, 06:21:30 PM
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on a busy SSL server, things gets signed and encrypted, 1000 times per second. with the same 1024/2048 bit key. they are not broken (yet).

Dude.  SSL never encrypts anything with the server's private key.  Never.

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dinox
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July 11, 2011, 06:58:29 PM
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on a busy SSL server, things gets signed and encrypted, 1000 times per second. with the same 1024/2048 bit key. they are not broken (yet).

Dude.  SSL never encrypts anything with the server's private key.  Never.

Dude. Bitcoin never encrypts anything with the user's private key. Never.

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July 11, 2011, 07:09:53 PM
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on a busy SSL server, things gets signed and encrypted, 1000 times per second. with the same 1024/2048 bit key. they are not broken (yet).

Dude.  SSL never encrypts anything with the server's private key.  Never.
partly true.

but it is used(to sign) in the key-exchange protocol, to prevent a 3. party for modifying the protocol messages.

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July 11, 2011, 07:15:17 PM
 #20

on a busy SSL server, things gets signed and encrypted, 1000 times per second. with the same 1024/2048 bit key. they are not broken (yet).

Dude.  SSL never encrypts anything with the server's private key.  Never.

Dude. Bitcoin never encrypts anything with the user's private key. Never.

Like the signature?  Are you going to quibble that the ECDSA step isn't technically an encryption because it can't be reversed?

How about this then: In SSL, the server's private key is not used for encryption, nor for hashing, nor for any other operation, cryptographic or otherwise, of anything that is released to any other party.

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