If one of the goals of Bitcoin is to have it be widely used, it needs to be easy
to use. Currently, only computer-proficient people have the skills to use Bitcoin effectively. There are two major barriers I see that prevents the non-computer-proficient person from using Bitcoin. Both relate to the wallet file:
1. The wallet is 'difficult' to access/backup/transfer. What percentage of eventual Bitcoin users would even know where this wallet file is stored? Even fewer know how to navigate to their hidden-by-default AppData folder. (I'm assuming most people would use a Windows installation).
2. The wallet is completely unsafe. Everybody who uses the default installation option has an unencrypted wallet ripe for the taking. It would be easy to write a little *.bat script to steal a wallet. You cannot expect the non-computer user to understand how to encrypt a file using third-party tools, especially a file so 'difficult' to access.
Bitcoin adoption could be facilitated by having some rather trivial additions to the client:Functionality changes:
UI Changes (under 'File'):
- Wallet is always stored in an encrypted state when not in RAM.
- When the Bitcoin client starts, user must provide password to the encrypted wallet. Upon success, wallet resides in RAM so it can be used.
- When a new address is created, the program can automatically update the encrypted archive with the new payment keys.
- When the program is closed, the wallet file is still encrypted/safe.
- As a result of the previous point, the wallet is safe even if the program is closed unexpectedly (power failure, or the like).
- Save current wallet as...
- Load wallet...
(Of course, a prompt for an encryption password would show up for either of those options).
This functionality would take a very small amount of effort to implement. Is there a reason this hasn't been done yet? I am trying to introduce Bitcoin to family members, and these are problems I anticipate. Some are very interested in the concept, but cannot navigate a file browser. To be honest, most people in the world are not that great with computers, but still participate in the economy. User-friendliness is key
. I believe that simple changes like that would expand the economy by orders of magnitude.
Please let me know what efforts are being taken to make Bitcoin completely accessible to anyone interested, not just the technologically inclined. Thanks.EDIT: I just now noticed there were two dev boards. I originally posted this to what looks like the third-party dev board...but my proposition needs to be in the official client. Wallet management should be a core feature.