All posts by Dan

OpenAlias: Mastering the Fine Art of Simple Privacy

When one thinks of Monero, the first thing they may think of is privacy. XMR has the reputation of being “the privacy coin”. But one thing Monero is not known for is simplicity. Even when engaging in something as basic as sending or receiving Monero, the addresses can be as long as 95 characters. The OpenAlias Project was created to simplify the transaction process for even the least crypto savvy user while adding yet another layer of privacy for both sender as well as recipient.

The public viewability of all transactions on a most blockchains is definitely one of the technology’s most well-known features. However, this feature can negate the anonymous nature of crypto if one’s address is tied to the identity of the owner, as is the case for many websites soliciting donations or sales via crypto.

A specific crypto address can be found to be associated with a specific person or organization. A good example of this is an address from an account on a crypto exchange that follows KYC regulations. Once an address is discovered to belong to a specific person or group, it can become possible to look up that address on that particular cryptocurrency’s blockchain explorer and determine how much coin has been transferred to or from that address.The identity of the initiator of a crypto transaction may also be determined by tracking the IP address on the merchants website.

The uniqueness of OpenAlias is that it is a TXT-DNS record on a fully-qualified domain name, thus taking full advantage of an existing infrastructure as opposed to building a new one from scratch. The alias for the impossible-to-remember crypto address is a domain name, and under the Domain Name system, there can only be one domain name of its kind.

In other words, there is only one http://example.com as opposed to http://example.org or http://example.net, making the scenario in which one alias points to two different crypto addressees impossible. Other aliasing standards like having a password like “Dan123” or “givememoney” be (accidentally or intentionally) duplicated and point to more than one crypto wallet.

The average person who may be unfamiliar with cryptocurrency will have an easier time remembering the domain name of their favorite web site rather than a 95-character alphanumeric string.

While OpenAlias is the brainchild of the Monero Core Team, it can be configured to allow for the acceptance of any cryptocurrency. Although to date, the only known implementation has been for Monero and Bitcoin wallets. As time passses and the popularity of OpenAlias increases, implementations should emerge for other popular cryptocurrencies. Innovations like OpenAlias may one day make cryptocurrency as common among billions of people as email.

Accessing the Money of the Future with Technology of the Past

While most of us in the cryptosphere have a pretty good handle on the mechanics of cryptocurrency, the rest of the world is still scratching their heads over it. The widespread ignorance of cryptocurrency poses a huge impediment to its global adoption, especially in parts of the world where reliable access to the Internet and the availability of smartphones is not consistent. However, CoinText, a new crypto wallet service whose user interface runs on the SMS network may be the key to bridging that gap.

The functionality of Cointext is similar to many other automated SMS-based platforms one might use such as online banking and promotional campaigns. Anyone can generate a seed for a Cointext wallet by texting a valid command to one of the service’s access numbers. The user can then enter additional commands to check their balance, send and receive digital assets, and so on. Currently, the platform only supports Bitcoin Cash and all transactions are immediately settled on the BCH blockchain via Cointext’s proprietary algorithm to translate the SMS commands to post to the blockchain.. .

The US-based fintech company launched the beta version of its platform last month and currently only offers access numbers for six countries (the US,.Canada, Australia, South Africa, the UK, Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands). Users outside of these six countries are still able to use the service by texting one of those countries’ access numbers.

Cointext’s unique wallet differs from traditional mobile crypto wallets mainly because Its SMS-based platform makes the service accessible to users of older, more basic mobile phones regardless of whether the devices are connected to the Internet. Users can view their BCH address by texting RECEIVE to an access number and can send funds either in the amount of BCH or in the amount of five different fiat currencies.

Users’ BCH addresses are linked to their phone numbers which allows for users to send BCH to other Cointext users using only the recipient’s cell phone number without ever having to see the recipient’s public key. Users can also delete their text chat history as a means of hiding evidence of a crypto wallet from law enforcement who may search their phone. Doing this does not affect their wallet at all.

As is the case with any developing technology, the platform is not without some security flaws. Users’ BCH addresses and by extension, their private keys, are linked to their phone numbers. This poses a serious problem as Cointext currently offers no resolution for the loss of funds if a user changes their phone number or loses their phone.

This revolutionary crypto service is particularly beneficial to billions of people in developing countries where neither smartphones, traditional bank accounts or consistent Internet access are common

Cointext plans to launch a wave of access numbers for additional countries next month and is looking for feedback from the 2,000 people experimenting with the beta version. The development team also plans to implement support for non-English speakers in the next version of the platform. From there, Cointext may become the first of many such services to introduce various digital currencies to the rest of the world.