A new proposal has been made to ensure the Bitcoin Core client will encrypt communication between peers. This proposal is known as BIP151 and aims to make Bitcoin a slightly more privacy-centric protocol. A lot of cryptocurrency enthusiasts are very pleased with the news, as Bitcoin has lacked privacy-centric traits for quite some time now.
BIP151 Is A Big Deal For Bitcoin
Although BIP proposals occur on a regular basis, this one is of particular importance to all Bitcoin users. Many people have been advocating the popular cryptocurrency needs more privacy-centric features, and BIP151 will bring exactly that to the table, albeit perhaps not in a way most people expected.
When thinking about Bitcoin, we all know how all transactions are publicly visible on the blockchain in real-time. This level of transparency does nothing to protect user privacy, although it does not make it any easier to link an identity to a Bitcoin wallet address. But there are other privacy concerns as well, such as the communication between peers on the network.
BIP151 will introduce encrypted communication between Bitcoin peers, reducing the risks of mass surveillance and blockchain analysis. Moreover, this proposal ensures data manipulation becomes a lot harder, albeit it does not entirely remove the possibility to analyze the type of p2p communication.
To put this into perspective, a peer supporting encryption will need to accept encryption requests from all other peers. Connected peers must only send encrypted messages in both directions. Plus, the encryption initialization has to take place before sending any other message to a particular peer.
One thing to keep in mind for the Bitcoin Core developers is the maximum message length for encrypted communication. This decision will have to be weighed carefully, according to the BIP151 page on GitHub. Moreover, processing the encrypted message for authentication has taken place should be avoided at all costs.
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