[Bitcoin-development] Bitcoin at POS using BIP70, NFC and offline payments - implementer feedback
mike at plan99.net
Mon Feb 23 10:58:11 UTC 2015
> DHKE will not improve the situation. Either we use a simple method to
> transfer a session key or a complex method.
You're right that just sending the session key is simpler. I originally
suggested doing ECDHE to set up an encrypted channel for the following
1. URIs are put in QR codes more often than NFC tags. QR codes have
limited space. The more stuff you pack into them, the slower and flakier
the scanning process becomes.
For normal wallets, doing ECDH over secp256k1 to derive a session key
means we can reuse the address that was put in the URI already for
pre-BIP70 wallets, thus we don't have to expand the URI at all except
perhaps to flag that crypted Bluetooth connections are supported. Win!
2. If the wallet is a watching wallet, this won't work and in that case
you would need to put a separate key into the URI. However, this key is
ephemeral and does not need to be very strong. So we can generate a regular
secp256k1 key and then put say 5-8 prefix bytes into the URI as a new
parameter. The public key can then be provided in full in the clear over
the Bluetooth connection and the session key derived. If we put the session
key into the URI in full, then we could not use this trick. Win!
3. It's quite common in low tech scenarios like little coffee shops to
just print a QR code and put it in the menu, or sticky tape it to the back
wall of the shop.
In these cases, it's possible that the device is actually hanging around
in the shop somewhere but having the QR code somewhere larger and more
accessible than the shop devices screen is highly convenient. However it
means the data is entirely static.
Putting/reusing an identity key from the URI means the session keys are
always unique and known only to both devices, even though the bootstrap
data is public.
4. Doing ECDHE to derive the keys means we can derive a MAC key as well
as an AES key. Otherwise you have the issue of exchanging both, which again
uses up valuable bootstrap space.
So for a small increase in session setup complexity we potentially avoid
troubling problems down the line where people the same functionality from
NFC and QR code based bootstrap, but we can't provide it.
These discussions keep coming up. I think the next step is for someone to
upgrade Andreas' wallet to support encrypted connections and the TBIPs, to
see what happens.
Re: the h= parameter. I only objected to requiring this when the payment
request is also signed. It adds complexity, uses space, and the rationale
was "the PKI can't be trusted" even though it's been used to protect credit
card payments for 20 years without any issues. In the case of unsigned
payment requests, sure ... but with a proper implementation of an encrypted
Bluetooth channel it'd be unnecessary as the channel establishment process
would guarantee authenticity anyway.
But don't let me hold you guys back! I'd rather see something that works
than an endless debate about the perfect arrangement of hashes and URI
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