[Bitcoin-development] Bitcoin addresses -- opaque or not

Melvin Carvalho melvincarvalho at gmail.com
Sat Jun 15 09:50:30 UTC 2013

On 11 June 2013 17:29, Luke-Jr <luke at dashjr.org> wrote:

> On Tuesday, June 11, 2013 1:11:33 PM Melvin Carvalho wrote:
> > For the sake of argument let's say that opaque means that you can tell
> > nothing about the address by examining the characters.
> This is true or false based on CONTEXT.
> Obviously, an implementation of transaction handling (eg, wallets) needs
> to be
> able to translate addresses to and from what they represent.
> On the other hand, things like URI handlers do not (and should not) try to
> interpret the address as anything other than an arbitrary word (\w+).

I think this statement may need to be justified.

> > My understanding was that they are NOT opaque, and that if that has
> > changed, it will invalidate much at least some wiki page, for examples at
> > least some of the following would now be false:
> The wiki goes into much detail on how addresses work, which is not the
> concern
> of most software in the Bitcoin ecosystem, but may be of interest to humans
> and developers working on the one component that operates the "black box"
> that
> addresses are.
> > --------
> > <snip>
> > --------
> These aren't FALSE, they are "true at the moment, but subject to revision
> by
> newer standards".

Got it.

> > I also here that there is a LIKELY change from the base58 encoding ...
> when
> > was this established?
> I stated (on IRC) that it was likely Bitcoin would change from the base58
> encoding for addresses ... at some unspecified time in the future, to some
> unspecified new encoding that addressed known limitations of base58. What
> those changes will be, or when, are not all established at this time. The
> only
> currently-planned change to addresses (very loosely defined) is inclusion
> of
> the Payment Protocol URIs. But the point is that software developers
> shouldn't
> assume that addresses will remain base58 forever.

Does this mean that people should not be investing in "vanity addresses"?

> Luke
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