[Bitcoin-development] Proposal: Encrypt bitcoin messages

Un Ix slashdevnull at hotmail.com
Wed Aug 20 03:23:49 UTC 2014

Excuse the ignorance, but there is something I’m not getting in this discussion.

Given it’s a published protocol, with available source code running on an open P2P network, why would any messages between nodes benefit from being encrypted? Surely all the data being processed by the network is known to any persistent client node(s)? 

Seems like that solution is orthogonal to the root problem, where attackers could monitor the network and deduce IP addresses by e.g. mapping senders of transactions.


From: Peter Todd
Sent: ‎Wednesday‎, ‎August‎ ‎20‎, ‎2014 ‎9‎:‎28‎ ‎AM
To: William Yager, bitcoin-development at lists.sourceforge.net

Hash: SHA256

On 19 August 2014 21:19:43 GMT-04:00, William Yager <will.yager at gmail.com> wrote:
>On Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 8:14 PM, Peter Todd <pete at petertodd.org> wrote:
>> In any case, my suggestion of enabling hidden service support by
>> adds both encryption and reasonably good authentication.
>Enabling hidden service support by default would introduce an insanely
>attack surface.

Hence my suggestion of separating that surface by using the standalone Tor binary, which runs under a different user to the Bitcoin Core binary.

>And you're conflating two different things; using Tor is valuable to
>Bitcoin because it would provide some anonymity. The encryption aspect
>pretty much useless for us.

First of all, without encryption we're leaking significant amounts of information to any passive attacker trying to trace the origin of Bitcoin transactions, a significant privacy risk.

Secondly the upcoming v0.10's fee estimation implementation is quite vulnerable to Sybil attacks. Authentication and encryption are needed to make it secure from ISP-level targeting to ensure that your view of the network is representative. Tor support used in parallel with native connection is ideal here, as neither the Tor network nor your ISP alone can Sybil attack you. It's notable that Bitcoinj has already implemented Tor support for these same reasons.
Version: APG v1.1.1


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