The co-founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin has just proposed for Ethereum to have a new integration that would provide a degree of anonymity to one-off ETH transactions.
Adoption seems to have been gaining some traction since the start of the year and some industry focus is making a shift towards privacy and protecting the anonymity of cryptocurrency users - all while maintaining the integrity of public blockchains.
“We need a first step toward more privacy.”
In the post, Buterin outlines that would allow Etherume users to obscure their activity on the blockchain when sending fixed quantities of Ethereum. Buterin calls his design a “minimal mixer” protocol, focused on one-off privacy transactions as opposed to gearing the whole network to anonymity in the likeness of Monero or Zcash.
As reported by Ethereum World News:
“Buterin points out the obvious in users attempting to obscure their behavior on a blockchain. While they may operate out of multiple addresses, the original transactions sending ETH to those wallets are still traceable on the public leger, “reveal[ing] the link between them.”
Instead of attempting to subvert the system, the co-founder's idea involves the creation of two smart contacts - a mixer and relayer registry - which allows the users the option of private transactions through what he calls an ‘anonymity set’.
Speaking to CoinDesk, Buterin said:
“Anonymity set is cryptography speak for ‘set of users that this thing could have come from.’ For example if I sent you 1 ETH and you can’t tell who exactly it was from but you can tell that it came from (myself, Alice, Bob or Charlie), then the anonymity set has size 4. The bigger the anonymity set the more privacy you have.”
The proposal retains the advantage of a public ledger while obscuring the exact sender through the anonymity set. Buterin claims that integrating anonymity wouldn’t need a change in the Ethereum protocol.
Buterin tweeted this earlier this week:
“The main use case I’m thinking of is a one-off send from one account to another account so you can use applications without linking that account to the one that has all your tokens in it. So even though it is a 2m gas cost, it only needs to be paid once per account, not too bad.”