[Bitcoin-development] NODE_BLOOM service bit

Peter Todd pete at petertodd.org
Fri Jun 6 09:04:41 UTC 2014

On Fri, Jun 06, 2014 at 10:48:52AM +0200, Adam Back wrote:
> Advertising NODE BLOOM as a service sounds good.
> But the critique of bloom filters, I am not so sure prefix filters are
> better.  Prefix filters offer questionable privacy tradeoffs in my
> opinion. Same problem as with stealth address proposed use of
> prefixes.

That's assuming you're doing the proposed prefix brute forcing - if you
don't do that they have privacy equal or better than bloom filters, but
with better scalability. In particular that better scalability lets you
efficiently query multiple servers for blockchain data, only giving up
info on a subset of the addresses in your wallet to each server. This
can be a significant improvement to bloom filters if your attacker is
running logging nodes to try to, say, deanonymize CoinJoin transactions.

> All for scalability, efficiency and decentralization but not ideally at the
> expense of nuking privacy.  The effects on privacy are cumulative, and
> affect everyone not just the user.  Same pattern of local decision, global
> effect as with reused addresses.

Indeed. But again, remember that the existing systems suck too;
prefix-brute forcing is a engineering tradeoff implementable with
existing and well understood technology.

Now if you want to come up with something better and write code, please
do! I'm sure the math exists; what doesn't exist is robust and well
tested code in multiple languages. Stealth addresses at least have been
designed so that future blockchain filter upgrades can be added in a
backwards compatible way.

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