At present, talking about the privacy and anonymity of Bitcoin is quite a complex issue, especially when the question arises: Why doesn’t Bitcoin become more private by adopting better “security protocols” used by other cryptocurrencies? The developer named Pieter Wuille, who is a contributor to Bitcoin Core, and co-author of Taproot, answers this question (posed in a forum called StackExchange) and offers us an analysis about it:

Pieter Wuille’s analysis

In a forum post, some cryptocurrencies were mentioned that implement privacy protocols that make it impossible to track the origin and destination of operations, making them practically anonymous. The curiosity arises in knowing why Bitcoin does not examine a similar alternative focused on that level of privacy.

Pieter Wuille explains that transactions in Bitcoin are established by consensus. In this way, individual requirements (including those requests from programmers like him) cannot be “above” the decisions made in the community; this means that each proposal must necessarily go through the approval of the majority of the community.

Wuile considers that it would be “invasive” to make Bitcoin make use of cryptocurrency privacy protocols since it will probably require a profound change in its source code; he recommends that instead of asking why does Bitcoin not do this? It would be preferable to inquire if there is any research in this regard or know the challenges that must be overcome to achieve such implementation. Wuile also comments that the anonymity of a cryptocurrency is a complex factor and that it is limited only to the user’s link to transactions within the blockchain.

What prevents Bitcoin from being more private?

The analyst talks about the possible barriers that could be found along the way and some requirements necessary to implement the privacy approach of other cryptocurrencies. Wuile mentions that one of the first limitations is the generation of drastic changes to improve privacy, which possibly goes against systems previously built on the Bitcoin network, in addition to implying a change to the “entire infrastructure” of the wallets of the network, since the protocol of use of each of the existing wallets would also have to be changed, including Hardware Wallet, mobile applications, and even full node wallets.

This is because, in a transaction, both the sender and the recipient should implement a new privacy protocol, which could generate a certain level of vulnerability for those wallets that are not updated as they could be unusable.

What improvements will Bitcoin adopt?

Pieter concludes that Bitcoin will continue to adopt improvements and that several security-related investigations are currently underway. He also emphasizes that there are several approaches and points of view within the network to improve the privacy of its users in all aspects, not only referred to the field of chain transactions.

However, the question remains about the existence of intrinsic concerns, for example, that some governments might think of “shutting down the network” in case of using extreme privacy measures. Faced with this approach, the programmer replied that this would be an obstacle to the expansion of Bitcoin globally.

This last point is significant since precisely one of the main obstacles that other cryptocurrencies have had is related to their level of privacy; if Bitcoin adopts these same measures, it could be negatively affected and be subject to certain “restrictive laws” that they own other cryptocurrencies that have high levels of privacy.

What do you think about this topic? Do you think that the privacy protocols of Bitcoin transactions are insufficient?

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