[Bitcoin-development] Draft BIP for seamless website authentication using Bitcoin address

Eric Larchevêque elarch at gmail.com
Fri Apr 4 13:47:45 UTC 2014


> Using a bitcoin address repeatedly is something we're trying to move away
from.

This is indeed a flaw of the proposed protocol. However it really depends
in the end of the usage : you could use an auth just once, to redeem a good
you paid, or multiple times if this makes a sense (mining pool app for
instance).

> And using a bitcoin address as a persistent identity key feels like the
wrong direction to me.

What would be really the difference between artificially create a
certificate for identity and selecting one address for identity?

> Better to use something like client certificates, the FIDO alliance's
(new!) specs:
>   http://fidoalliance.org/specifications/download
> ... or Steve Gibson's proposed SQRL system:
>   https://www.grc.com/sqrl/sqrl.htm

The proposal is nothing more than sqrl scoped to Bitcoin keys.

> If one of those systems gets critical mass and actually starts being
successful, then I think it would make sense to specify a standard way of
using a HD wallet's deterministic seed to derive a key used for the FIDO or
SQRL systems.

This could be a very interesting approach. But I think the system which
would get critical mass is the one which would be implemented into major
Bitcoin wallets.

Why adding another app or software when you already have all you need?

>
>
>
>
> On Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 9:22 AM, Eric Larchevêque <elarch at gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> What I'm trying to achieve, is to have a very simple way of
authenticating yourself with one Bitcoin address from your wallet.
>> For most of the people using Bitcoin, their wallet is on their phone.
>>
>> The UX is clear and simple :
>> 1. click on "connect with Bitcoin" (the audience is normal people)
>> 2. flash the QRcode with your wallet (blockchain.info, mycelium, ...)
>> 3. accept the authentication request (same style than OpenID or Facebook
connect)
>> 4. user is autologged and identified by the chosen Bitcoin public address
>>
>> It makes sense only if major wallets are supporting the protocol. If you
need to install a plugin or download a third party software, no one will do
it.
>> I see only benefits for the entire ecosystem, and if I'm working on such
a proposition it is because I really need this feature.
>>
>> Of course, it can be done without a BIP, I just need to convince wallet
developpers one by one to implement the feature.
>> But I thought it was much better to start the "official" way, so all
wallet could easily find and implement the same authentication mechanism.
>>
>> >  Bitcoin and website authentication are unrelated problems
>>
>> I respectfully disagree. Many services require your Bitcoin address, and
to do that they artificially request an email/password to store it.
>> This is not about authentication as an identity (as "I'm Eric
Larcheveque"), but as in "I'm proving to you that I control this address".
>>
>> Without such a standard protocol, you could never envision a pure
Bitcoin physical locker rental, or booking an hotel room via Bitcoin and
opening the door through the paying address.
>>
>> Eric
>>
>>
>>
>> On Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 3:08 PM, Mike Hearn <mike at plan99.net> wrote:
>>>
>>> This comes up every few months. I think the problem you are trying to
solve is already solved by SSL client certificates, and if you want to help
make them more widespread the programs you need to upgrade are web browsers
and not Bitcoin wallets. There are certainly bits of infrastructure you
could reuse here and there, like perhaps a TREZOR with a custom firmware
extension for really advanced/keen users, but overall Bitcoin and website
authentication are unrelated problems.
>>>
>>>
>>> On Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 2:15 PM, Eric Larchevêque <elarch at gmail.com>
wrote:
>>>>
>>>> Hello,
>>>>
>>>> I've written a draft BIP description of an authentication protocol
based on Bitcoin public address.
>>>>
>>>> By authentication we mean to prove to a service/application that we
control a specific Bitcoin address by signing a challenge, and that all
related data and settings may securely be linked to our session.
>>>>
>>>> The aim is to greatly facilitate sign ups and logins to services and
applications, improving the Bitcoin ecosystem as a whole.
>>>>
>>>> https://github.com/bitid/bitid/blob/master/BIP_draft.md
>>>>
>>>> Demo website :
>>>> http://bitid-demo.herokuapp.com/
>>>>
>>>> Classical password authentication is an insecure process that could be
solved with public key cryptography. The problem is that it theoretically
offloads a lot of complexity and responsibility on the user. Managing
private keys securely is complex. However this complexity is already being
addressed in the Bitcoin ecosystem. So doing public key authentication is
practically a free lunch to bitcoiners.
>>>>
>>>> I've formatted the protocol description as a BIP because this is the
only way to have all major wallets implementing it, and because it
completely fits in my opinion the BIP "process" category.
>>>>
>>>> Please read it and let me know your thoughts and comments so we can
improve on this draft.
>>>>
>>>> Eric Larcheveque
>>>> elarch at gmail.com
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> Bitcoin-development mailing list
>>>> Bitcoin-development at lists.sourceforge.net
>>>> https://lists.sourceforge.net/lists/listinfo/bitcoin-development
>>>>
>>>
>>
>>
>>
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>
>
>
> --
> --
> Gavin Andresen
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