For crypto developers and engineers, much of their tasks involve smoothing out projects, making sure code is correct and compatible. They’re often very technical ideas few understand at the root. The struggle then is to translate numbers and binary logic into something usable. Bitcoin addresses are an obvious example. They’re clunky, strange looking to the new users, and can actually serve to confuse where and to whom digital cash is being sent. Jonathan Silverblood announced last month he’d arrived at something of a solution, CashAccounts, an aliasing scheme with a twist: it works standalone on the same blockchain as the payment network itself. CoinSpice caught up with the Gothenburg, Sweden-based developer to get the inside details on the project.
Bitcoin Cash Address Aliasing Scheme Makes Transactions User Friendly, Human
“In the coming days I will announce a public, decentralized, permissionless aliasing scheme to complement bitcoin cash addresses,” Silverblood tweeted in early December of last year, “no need to trust 3rd parties, no namesquatting and fully on-chain.”
Released just days ago as a public beta, CashAccounts is a mainnet peek at his project even though all accounts created on it by 3 January 2019 will be invalidated. Firefox seems to be operable, but Safari is having a bit of trouble and Chrome too at times, something he describes as an “easy fix.”
Silverblood is still working on greater privacy issues, so the concept is early days but very promising. Building in conjunction with his idea include an indexing server on bchd and electrumx, and he’s hoping to get Insight onboard as well … always with an eye toward wallet adoption.
Interview with Jonathan Silverblood of CashAccounts
Most everyone agrees wallets need to be more user friendly, and CashAccounts might be an answer in that direction. Silverblood is attempting to take those long jumbles of unique address identifiers and replace them not with short identifiers in particular but in a way that prevents name squatting. He’s continuing to solve the problem of allowing users to cancel accounts by adding revocation measures, but acknowledges “it is a bit tricky to get right – I’m still working on it though and the specification might get some additions later on to add this feature.”
CoinSpice: What’s your background? How did you find crypto?
Jonathan Silverblood: I am a self-taught programmer that dropped out of school twice. I was introduced to bitcoin in 2011 and dismissed it, and when I was reintroduced in 2013 I felt that I had to figure out why I had misjudged it. I have spent, on average, more than 4 hours a day learning about it since.
Do you work in the space with any particular project?
I currently work on CashID and CashAccounts.
In really basic, simple terms what is the significance of the screenshot on the CoinSpice Telegram forum (back in mid December)?
The screenshot shows the foundation for an on-chain alias system that allows people to pay to human, instead of technical, identifiers. Think Bob#331; instead of qq3ba583be862… I shared it mostly to gauge the reaction to see how valuable others think it is.
Ah, so the address would be more personalized?
Yes. In lack of a better way to say it, hand cash handles on-chain without a 3rd party. The hand cash handles are controlled by a 3rd party and will never get adopted uniformly across the wallet ecosystem. The innovation they represent however – human identifiers – is valuable, which is why I’ve decided to work creating an open permissionless version.
Why is open and permissionless important?
When you are building a system design to be censorship resistant, the parts it uses has to have the same traits in order for the system as a whole to not lose its fundamental value.
It is also important that the system gets adopted by wallets, and in this ecosystem, developer do not trust, they verify. If your system is not open, it is very difficult to verify that it functions in the way you claim it does.
How has the Cash Address project been progressing?
Rapidly. There is still no wallets, but bchd, electron cash and stash have committed to supporting it in the future, there is a website at https://www.cashaccount.info and I just got information from a block explorer that they will support it in just a week or so.
Does the protocol allow for different types of payment information? What ways do you imagine? You mentioned it being extensible and supportive of new types … can you elaborate?
Sure, the payment information is typed, so currently there is four types: key hash, script hash, payment code and stealth keypair – but there is room to define up to about 250 new types as needed by updating the specification
Most so far use addresses because that is what all wallets support, but payment codes and stealth keypairs would allow much better privacy, no address reuse and, together with cashaccounts, static identifiers.
This isn’t the only alias project, right?
It’s not the only aliasing scheme out there, but it is the only one that works on the same blockchain as the payment network itself – making it useable standalone. For a different set of tradeoffs people can look into OpenCAP or the Fio Foundation.
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