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Issue #544: Bitcoin vaults. Yes, please!

Issue #544: Bitcoin vaults. Yes, please!

Aug 8, 2019
Marty's Ƀent

Issue #544: Bitcoin vaults. Yes, please!

Here's a something cool that was dropped on the Bitcoin mailing list yesterday by Bryan Bishop; an official proposal for Bitcoin vaults. A concept that has been around for a while, but has never been spec'd out and developed into a proposal.

In short, Bitcoin vaults are a special transaction setup that allows users to designate a delay period of n blocks before their coins are allowed to be spent. During the delay period, if the attempted transaction happens to be fraudulent, the user will be able to see their coins on the move and initiate a failsafe transaction (maybe a multisig set up you created with a trusted family member) that moves your coins to safety. A novel concept that, if implemented and widely adopted, would, I imagine, help bring peace of mind to those who self-custody bitcoin.

We talk a lot about multisig in this rag and on the airwaves. How it enables unique schema in which people can make it very hard to move their bitcoin and how more people should adopt it. Bitcoin vaults would introduce a degree of security that has not existed up to this point, the ability to do something after a transaction has been initiated. (Some could argue RBF is analogous, but it's certainly more costly and you depend on a thief being dumb enough to send an RBF transaction in the first place.) One of the biggest talking points against Bitcoin is the fact that users can easily lose their money by sending it to the wrong address, sending it into the ether. Never to be seen again. I imagine Bitcoin vaults can help solve this problem. A user accidentally sends to the wrong address and has n blocks to fix their mistake. The "undo" button brought to Bitcoin.

Slowly but surely, the vision comes together, usability and security seem to be on the up and up, and this system may turn out to be more idiot-proof than we thought. And we may find ourselves living in a world in which the $5 wrench attack is severely disincentivized by the widespread adoption of particular transaction schemes. The future is bright.

If you want to learn more about Vaults, Oleg Andreev wrote a blogpost about them years ago. I highly recommend you check that out too. Shoutout to SegWit's malleability fix for making this possible.

Final thought...

A great morning for some bluegrass covers.


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