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Author Topic: Adding escheat feature to the protocol.  (Read 618 times)
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August 01, 2012, 08:21:34 PM

I posted this to the general discussion board, but it seems more appropriate here.


No, the purpose is not to let governemt transfer your funds to themselves, but to protect your assets if you lose your keys or die.

Algorithm is a follows.

1.   Publish/broadcast an escheat enabling transaction, specifying your source bitcoin address, timeout period and receiver bitcoin address, to the block chain, signing with your private key, etc.  Nothing actually happens at this point other than the transaction being logged in the block chain.

    a.  "timeout period" is measured from the last time the source bitcoin address was involved in a transaction, including an escheat enabling transaction.

2.   After the timeout period, still nothing automatically happens, but now the owner of the receiver bitcoin address is enabled, after this point, to transfer the funds from the source address to the receiver address, at his leasure using his private key, etc.

In order to escheat your funds the escheat receiver looks for

   a.  relevant escheat enabling transaction
   b.  looks up the timeout period.
   c.  looks up the time elapsed since the last transaction
   d.  If c > b then the receiver publishes/broadcasts a "pull" transaction to grab the funds into the receiver bitcoin address.

It should be noted that an escheat is not automatic.  The receiver needs to pull the funds.   This is to prevent unintentional escheats after the fact and possibly losing your funds through escheat.

The intent of this is so you can set up an escheat receiver address and keep it separate, or leave ownership of it with an agent or recovery agency, etc.   If you lose access to your funds, after a certain amount of time you can use your recovery address (or your agent can) to recover your funds.  If you touch your funds regulary, any hired agent has no access to them unless and until the timeout period has elapsed.

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August 01, 2012, 08:48:43 PM

I think transaction replacement and nLockTime utilized by Trustless, instant, off-the-chain Bitcoin payments is what you need.
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August 02, 2012, 01:06:05 AM

Is that the same as this?

Just use future transactions, which will be entered immediately into the block chain, but won't actually take effect until a given block number. You do a transaction that empties out your private account into the joint account, in a block that will be computed 30 days from now. Then, each day you're around, you just transfer your bitcoins into a new private account, and that future transaction will fail because the originating account will be empty. You also set up another future transaction to transfer money from your new private account into the shared account in another 30 days. There are probably ways to streamline this, but I don't see any theoretical difficulties.

Amazingly, it looks like this feature is already baked into Bitcoin:
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