[bitcoin-dev] p2p authentication and encryption BIPs

Luke Dashjr luke at dashjr.org
Thu Mar 24 02:16:55 UTC 2016

On Wednesday, March 23, 2016 3:24:12 PM Jonas Schnelli via bitcoin-dev wrote:
> I have just PRed a draft version of two BIPs I recently wrote.
> https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/pull/362

In the future, please submit BIP drafts to the mailing list for comment and 
initial peer review before opening a pull request (or requesting a BIP number 
assignment), per BIP 1.

> Each peer that supports p2p authentication, must provide two user editable
> databases (can be a simple record-per-line file).

As long as the format of these databases is not standardised, it seems 
inappropriate to define *any* of this implementation detail in a BIP.

> A peer can send an authenticate message by wrapping the desired message into
> an <code>auth</code>-message-wrapper to the remote peer.

How does a peer know what messages the other peer requires to be 

> 33bytes || identity-pubkey || comp.-pubkey || The identity pubkey of the
> requesting peer

Seems a waste to include this with every single [authenticated] message...

> 8bytes || auth-msg-id || int64 || up-counting auth-msg-id (0 to INT64MAX)

Is this required to persist across connections/restarts/possibly complete 

Can the same auth-msg-id be used for multiple peers, so a message can be 
signed once and sent to all N peers?

> Responding peers must ignore (banning would lead to fingerprinting) the
> requesting peer after 5 unsuccessfully authentication tries to avoid
> resource attacks.

How does banning in this specific case enable fingerprinting as opposed to any 
other banning?

> The peers should display the identity-pubkey as a identity-address to the
> users, which is a base58-check encoded ripemd160(sha256) hash.

If this is going to become a general-purpose identity system, I think more is 
needed than a simple EC keypair. At the very least, it should probably use a 
HD chain and use a new key for every signature (notice you already have auth-
msg-id to use with this!).

> This proposal is backward compatible. Non supporting peers will ignore the
> <code>auth</code> message.

... and not process it at all? How is that backward compatible?

> Encrypting traffic between peers is already possible with VPN, tor, stunnel,
> curveCP or any other encryption mechanism on a deeper OSI level, however, 
> most mechanism are not practical for SPV or other DHCP/NAT environment and
> will require significant knowhow in how to setup a secure channel.

I don't see how Tor fails this criteria...

> The responding peer will set a session timeout time-interval. The default
> must be 1'800 seconds.

What default? Is the timeout field optional? Why not simply require it?

> This proposal is backward compatible. Non supporting peers will ignore the
> <code>enc*</code> messages.

How should the supporting peer handle the message being ignored?


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