Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin published a research post that suggests using stealth addresses to enhance privacy-preserving transfers. Buterin elaborated that stealth addresses can be implemented fairly quickly on Ethereum today and will greatly boost user privacy on the blockchain network.
Buterin Suggests Stealth Addresses as a Solution to Privacy Challenges in the Ethereum Ecosystem
Three days ago, Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, published a blog post Which gives a comprehensive overview of stealth addresses and the benefits of using them. Stealth addresses are a feature supported by other blockchain networks, such as Monero (XMR), to enhance privacy and anonymity when transacting. The network creates one-time addresses that are not linked to a user’s public address. In the blog post, Buterin stressed that “one of the biggest remaining challenges in the Ethereum ecosystem is privacy.”
Buterin describes several different methods for generating cryptographically opaque public addresses with key-blinding mechanisms, elliptic curve cryptography, and quantum-resistant security. He also addresses “Social Recovery and Multi-L2 Wallets” and “Differential Spending and Viewing Keys”. Buterin noted that there are some concerns that could impact long-term usability, such as the difficulty of social reform. “In the long term, these problems can be solved, but the long term stealth address ecosystem looks like one that will actually rely heavily on zero-knowledge proofs,” Buterin said.
While Monero uses stealth addresses, the technology is also featured in cryptocurrency networks such as Zcash, Dash, Verge, Navcoin, and PIVX. It is worth noting that some of the aforementioned cryptocurrencies have different implementations of stealth addresses. Concluding his research post, Buterin details that stealth addresses can be easily implemented in the Ethereum network, and wallets will need to accommodate the changes. Overall, supporting stealth addresses would require significant changes to the underlying architecture of Ethereum-based wallets and their current settings.
For example, existing wallets use a different address format. Light clients would need to generate new, one-time addresses for each transaction, and wallets would need to be able to properly encrypt and decrypt transaction data. “Basic Stealth Addresses can be implemented fairly quickly today and could be a significant boost to practical user privacy on Ethereum,” Buterin concluded. “It requires some work on the wallet side to support them. That said, it is my view that wallets should be more natively designed for multi-address models (e.g., by your Creating a new address for each application interacted with might be an option).
What are your thoughts on implementing secret addresses in the Ethereum network? Do you believe this will significantly boost user privacy on blockchain networks, or do you have any concerns about long-term utility? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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