Friday, October 20, 2017

Bitcoin Cash Developers Propose New Address Format


This week the lead Bitcoin ABC developer, Amaury Séchet, proposed to add a Bech32 address format to the Bitcoin Cash (BCC) network. Currently, the BCC community has been discussing modifying the bitcoin cash address format, alongside preparing to fix the protocol's Emergency Difficulty Adjustment (EDA).

The Bitcoin Cash Community and Developers Propose Changing the Protocol's Address Format
Bitcoin Cash Developers Propose a New Address FormatOn October 14, Amaury Séchet proposed to implement a new address format to the bitcoin cash network. The subject of changing the BCC address format has been debated for a few months now, but even more so after Bitpay released a new address format for the company's BCC integration in its Copay wallet. The discussion initially started on the Bitcoin ABC Github repository back in July. A few weeks ago Bitpay stated it had created "new conventions to ensure users don't accidentally send BTC to a BCC wallet or vice versa." However, Bitpay's new address format wasn't received well by the BCC community and developers.

Electron Cash Wallet Developer Weighs In
Bitcoin Cash Developers Propose a New Address FormatFor instance, the Electron Cash wallet developer, Jonald Fyookball, detailed on the Yours network, that "Bitpay's new bitcoin cash address format breaks wallet compatibility and requires community discussion." Fyookball explains he's a "fan of Bitpay," but he believes releasing a new format without community discussion creates issues. The "main problem" Fyookball details, is that unless every single BCC user within the entire community upgrades to this new software there will be address "incompatibility between the new (Bitpay format) and the existing format for addresses."   

"Newer wallets theoretically should still be able to support sending to old addresses unless those wallets intentionally stop supporting legacy addresses," Fyookball explains. "But actually, it appears that Bitpay has done just that on their own platform."

This may be a matter of design choice if the idea is to prevent a user from sending to a BTC address — Yet, since many users still use old addresses, it breaks backwards compatibility.
Amaury Séchet Favors the Bech 32 Address Format
Bitcoin Cash Developers Propose a New Address FormatThe community believes it is essential for bitcoin cash addresses to be distinguished from bitcoin addresses, but think Bitpay's method may not be the best answer. Bitcoin ABC's Amaury Séchet explains on the team's developer mailing list that maybe BCC programmers "have been moving too slowly and that is why Bitpay has gone ahead." But Séchet also says he thinks they should have discussed the move as address upgrades can be "disruptive." Séchet also revealed at the time he is in favor of Bech 32 address styles, a proposal first introduced by bitcoin developer Pieter Wuille.         

"At this point, I am in favor of the Bech 32 style addresses as they have a number of advantages — The most notable one, is that the format can be extended to support new features in the future," Séchet's developer mailing list post details. "The current address format or the variation proposed by Bitpay doesn't, which means we'll likely have to change it again in the future."

As a result, I think we should adopt an extensible address format rather than doing a quick fix that makes us feel better now but fails to anticipate needs down the road — We are in this for the long run.
Lots of Bitcoin Cash Proposals and Ideas Being Tossed Around
The Github proposal pushed forward by Séchet seems to be favored by other developers who assist with the BCC protocol. One reviewer writes, "very elegant proposal, I like it," and the pull request was also sent to the Bitpay/Copay code repository. The developer who recommends the address format changes to Bitpay asks, "Would you remove your new address format starting with C and add the Bech32 format (described here: Bitcoin-UAHF/spec#21) if some wallets start using it? It is more useful."  

Bitcoin Cash development and infrastructure seems to be moving along with the recent EDA proposals and the latest address format idea. Further, the community has been greeted by another plan to create color coins on the BCC network. Bitcoin Unlimited developer, Andrew Stone recently proposed bitcoin cash scripting applications on October 16, in order to issue representative tokens on the network. 

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