[Bitcoin-development] Fwd: [BIP 15] Aliases

Andy Parkins andyparkins at gmail.com
Tue Dec 13 16:22:00 UTC 2011

On 2011 December 13 Tuesday, Amir Taaki wrote:

> Maybe I wasn't clear enough in the document, but this is the intent with
> the HTTPS proposal.

I don't like the idea of a hard-coded mapping at all.  We shouldn't be making 
choices on behalf of server operators.  It's up to them how they arrange their 
domain names and paths.

I also agree that DNS is not the technology to use.  DNS is a nightmare.

> genjix at foo.org
> Contacts https://foo.org/bitcoin-alias/?handle=genjix and the system
> responds with a bitcoin address. Whether the system gives you a new
> address from a pool of addresses, or contacts the merchant behind the
> scenes is implementation defined.
> I'll clarify it later. This is the relevant line:
> string strRequestUrl = strDomain + "/bitcoin-alias/?handle=" +
> pszEncodedNick;
> Between HTTPS service and server service, I lean slightly towards HTTPS
> (automatic encrypted connection, CAs + all benefits of DNS). But still
> interested in arguments in favour of a server service (daemon answering
> queries).

Why bother with an encoding scheme at all?  If the address

  genjix at foo.org

always maps to


Then forget the hardcoding of "https" the hardcoding of "bitcoin-alias" and 
"?handle=" and the original email-looking "genjix at foo.org".  Just use the URL.  
Then the author of the service can use whatever they want.

 "Can I pay you 10 BTC?"
 "Sure, send it to 'https://bitcoinalias.foo.org/genjix/'"

While I might implement my alias server like this:

 "Sure, send it to 'https://google.com/bitcoin/?andyparkins'"
 "Sure, send it to 'https://parkins.co.uk/"

... or any other URL they want -- any of which suit might suit me and my 
webserver better than whatever mapping would otherwise be hard-coded.  The 
world is already very familiar with URLs so this is no more scary than the 
email address.  What's more, the email address form looks _too much_ like an 
email address, and will only lead to confusion ... "send it to genjix at foo.org"  
"so I use outlook express for that, right?"  "erm, no, you put it in your 
bitcoin client".

The URL form could easily be made to detect a browser connecting rather than a 
bitcoin client (and this is an area that would benefit from a standards 
document -- define the headers and user agent triggers that an alias server 
expects) and give them better instructions.

https can be specified as the default, so  "https://" can be optional when 
they're typing.  If, in the future, bitcoin gets a distributed peer-to-peer 
alias system, then a new URL type can be added easily "bcalias://andyparkins" 
might automatically find my node in the network and query it for an address 
(or whatever).

All of the above is exactly why OpenID chose to use URLs for ID.


Dr Andy Parkins
andyparkins at gmail.com
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