[bitcoin-dev] Base64-encoded descriptors

Chris Belcher belcher at riseup.net
Tue Dec 24 17:06:01 UTC 2019

I've recently been playing around with descriptors, and they are very
nice to work with. They should become the standard for master public
keys IMO.

One downside is that users cant easily copypaste them to-and-fro to make
watch-only wallet. The descriptors contain parenthesis and commas which
stop highlighting by double-clicking. Also the syntax might look scary
to newbs.

An obvious solution is to base64 encode the descriptors. Then users
would get a text blog as the master public key without any extra details
to bother them, and developers can easily base64 decode for developing
with them.

A complication might be the descriptor checksum. If there's a typo in
the base64 text then that could decode into multiple character errors in
the descriptor, which might be problematic for the checksum. Maybe the
descriptor could be base64 encoded without the checksum, then attach the
checksum to the end of the base64 text.


I didn't come up with these ideas, they came from discussions with achow101.

More information about the bitcoin-dev mailing list