TL;DR: The issue of inheritance in the cryptocurrency word is a tough nut to crack. While there are several potential solutions to this, most of them are paid or depend on a third party. This paradox led a Polish theoretical physicist and hobbyist developer, Karol Trzeszczkowski, to write a smart contract on top of the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) blockchain as a way to manage inheritance duties. CoinSpice chatted with Trzeszczkowski, discussing his motivations and processes in creating Licho Last Will.
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Licho Last Will, an Inheritance Solution on the BCH Blockchain
Death in the cryptocurrency world can get complicated, as evidenced when late last year the CEO of QuadrigaCX, Canada’s largest crypto exchange, suddenly passed away while on holiday in India. Gerald Cotten seemingly took all of his customers funds with him to the grave. What if there was a way to have a smart contract in place easily triggered by such events? While it for sure wouldn’t have solved all of the exchange’s woes, it might’ve made things for users a little smoother.
In traditional systems like banking, inheritance is managed by a legacy system, and with it comes innumerable headaches and complications. Different countries have as many different ways of dispersing the deceased’s wishes as there are states, and provinces within their borders have even more rules to navigate. All that, and we’ve not even touched on legal costs.
Licho Last Will might be a way to mitigate against some of the burden. For the user, it works like an Electron Cash wallet plugin, and the solution is an elegant, simple and cheap approach to a real problem, built on top of smart contracts in the Bitcoin Cash blockchain, and powered by the Spedn language.
Interview With Karol Trzeszczkowski
Trzeszczkowski codes in his spare time, and likes prog-rock music, walking in the forest, and crafts that need manual precision. He defines himself as a family person, and that is probably why he was so interested in the inheritance subject.
So this is pretty cool. Bitcoin Cash can do covenants now but the scripts are really too complex to build manually. However, using the spedn language it's pretty easy to make a covenant. https://t.co/vxM5aD2mxr
— Chris Pacia (@ChrisPacia) April 11, 2019
CoinSpice: What is Licho Last Will in a nutshell?
Karol Trzeszczkowski: It’s a smart contract that lets you prepare for the worst without spoiling your cold storage security.
A smart contract on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain?
Yes, directly in the BCH blockchain, created from your own wallet on your own pc, using a plugin I released recently.
How is it set up?
The person interested needs to go to my GitHub, download a zip file (and verify it against my public key, that’s quite important, we are talking about security), install the zip file in their Electron Cash wallet and give their cold wallet address, inheritors address, and the value they want to send. Then just hit “create” and it’s done. They just need to remember to refresh the contract to let it know that they are still alive once in 6 months.
What was your motivation to build this piece of software?
Well, I saw the problem with cryptocurrencies. You either control your own money or someone else controls it. There is nothing in-between, and it’s a simple idea: with two wallets, one is moving the funds to prolong a relative timelock and entirely control them.
The other is just waiting until the second one stops moving the funds, and that was terribly insecure in my opinion and completely useless to store larger amounts of money. After reading the Pein Sama article I realized that the newest OP code (that the Hash War was all about) let you decide how you spend the money, so it might make a good refreshing mechanism. Having a solution, I couldn’t just not try it out. I got quite obsessed, and I couldn’t stop until it was finished. In the process, the final script turned out to be much simpler and elegant than I initially imagined.
Pein believes that until now nobody has ever used it for anything. It was all just theoretical. So this could be the first application of it.
Why did you choose Bitcoin Cash?
It works. I’ve had some bitcoins (BTC) that I bought just to learn how it works a long time ago. I tried to buy some dumplings with it. It was even before the great fee event. I paid 30 PLN for the dumplings for two and 20 PLN for the transaction fees. I thought that the transaction processor was scammy. Then I learned that it was the fee for miners.
Then I quite forgot about it and in the feral December, I wanted to gift the BTC that were left there to my friend on Christmas. I used Electrum, and I set the minimum fee. The tx took 2 months to be processed. This time I learned what the hell happened, and that’s how I’m in the BCH camp right now.
What do you think of the future of smart contracting on the Bitcoin Cash platform?
I think that it’s very bright. I have a few more ideas and I know there are a lot of ingenious people thinking about it all the time. Also, I hope that my plugin will serve as a base for other people to learn how to deal with these things and they will reuse my code for their own projects. Some aspects of spending constraints technology were hard to figure out but once I did it, we are already there, it’s only a matter of modifying the existing code. We will see tons of things like this from now on.
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