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Author Topic: Wallet Escrow  (Read 1114 times)
RHorning
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July 18, 2010, 03:28:26 PM
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I've been trying to think of a "solution" to the problems that some people have been having with their wallets, and also thinking about the issue of what I would do if something happened to my computer and I lost my Bitcoin wallet.  Backing it up certainly is a good idea, but there obviously are some additional problems that come up with this "solution".

Perhaps this is a solution in search of a problem as well, but I'd like to start a discussion of perhaps adding a "virtual wallet" or better recognized as a sort of digitial escrow for the wallet data that could be preserved in the network in a peer-to-peer network fashion.  What I'm proposing here is a way to store the wallet data in the network itself, where all you would need is some sort of hashkey (something very strong!) that could "reload" your wallet if something happened to your wallet data.

I'm also proposing something here that would be completely voluntary, as if you are very paranoid you could still keep your wallet exactly as it currently exists.  This is an "opt-in" ability to be used within the client and network, and not all nodes would necessarily even have to be involved with passing TCP/IP packets with the virtual wallet data.  As an incentive, there might even be a minor "storage" fee associated with this "service" that we could work out, but the point is to include it into the existing network topology for Bitcoin and provide a safeguard for those who may want to preserve their wallet data.

I'm also hoping this isn't a "bridge too far", but I'd also like to see what sort of technical flaws or problems might come from somebody having something like a credit card that would contain a hash key that could be used in a point of sale device to make payments with Bitcoins.  Mind you, this is something purely theoretical at the moment, but I think it would be something useful that could aid in the adoption of bitcoins. 

The idea here is that somehow a merchant could have a device that would read the hashkey and load the virtual wallet in some fashion so that a customer could make a purchase with that wallet.  The problem here is that once loaded, the merchant would have access to the rest of the coins in that wallet.  Perhaps there is some other solution to the issue of a point of sales terminal that does not require a customer to have their own computer (cell phone, PDA, etc.) to issue bitcoins to a potential merchant. 

Regardless, a virtual wallet could be useful to have the coins "shared" on multiple computers such as on your PC, a cell phone, or with your spouse who is using some other equipment.  Double spending of the same coin would be protected with the current procedures that keep that from happening anyway.

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mtgox
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July 18, 2010, 03:37:02 PM
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RHorning: This is a problem I think but it isn't specific to bitcoin. Other people are working on a general solution. Check out: http://www.maidsafe.net/

RHorning
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July 18, 2010, 04:30:48 PM
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RHorning: This is a problem I think but it isn't specific to bitcoin. Other people are working on a general solution.
While general data protection isn't specific to bitcoins, the issue of preserving the wallet is one that is specific to bitcoins and has a one to one (or less) relationship with bitcoin network nodes.

That also doesn't address the point of sales purchase issue with bitcoins.

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jimbobway
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July 18, 2010, 04:38:24 PM
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RHorning,

I think you have a really, really good idea.  Right now you need your wallet file to do any type of transaction.  But, what if the wallet was stored in the P2P network and password protected (very strong!).  That means you don't have to carry your wallet anywhere, and you could log into any terminal to buy goods with bitcoins.  There would be tremendous advantages to this.
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