Sneak: Alpha v0.4.2 Introduces Secret-Sharing

While Bitcoin tumbled through one of its unnerving cycles of dreary peaks and depressing troughs, the past few weeks have seen some exciting progress made at Sneak. Alpha v0.4.1 was released, Sneak achieved its donation objectives, and a new, cool theme song got users on the discord inspired in different ways. By the way, if you haven’t listened to this song, you should come on the discord and lend a ear. It’s quite sleek.

The previous release of Alpha v0.4.1 marked an additional step towards Sneak’s testnet scheduled for Q2/Q3. It came with a few code optimizations to improve transaction speed and allowed users to pull all blocks from available accounts. As usual, testers went excitedly at the Alpha, sending SNK from one person to the other and identifying bugs. Despite the barrage of shots thrown at it, Alpha v0.4.1 seemed to hold its own. Nevertheless, @pingpong felt the need to further improve the codebase and inserted some additional features, producing a second iteration: Alpha v0.4.2.

Alpha v0.4.2 will be introducing a cool property into Sneak known as secret sharing. Secret sharing, as the name implies, is a form of sharing secrets whereby the information is divided into different parts and each participant is given a unique part. However, some or all of the parts are required in order to reconstruct the secret afresh. This interesting cryptographic solution was invented by both Adi Shamir and George Blakley independently in 1979. In secret sharing, the secret is allocated into shares and given to, say, n participants. A threshold, t, is defined whereby any group of t or more participants can reconstruct the secret with their shares, but any group of t-1 or less participants are unable to unravel the shared secret. This opens a handsome number of improvement opportunities for Sneak and promises an even more refreshing and secure experience for users. For example, integration with wallets could allow users split their private keys into shares and safely store this away in smaller hashes while knowing that the discovery of any one of the shares by hackers or malicious actors will remain entirely insufficient for assessing their funds. Similarly, shares could be handed out to family members to hold, with instructions on how to use in case of death or accident. These benefits may not seem immediately obvious to the average user who would consider that private keys could after all be manually divided into smaller parts and stored away in safes. However, it is important to consider that not only is improved security unguaranteed this way, higher entropy in data efficiency is in fact achieved with secret sharing which, in itself, is a form of information-theoretic security. Besides, data security companies are now making the case that conventional password-based systems could be fundamentally weak and secret sharing offers a more protective edge.

Sneak has implemented secret sharing for public keys, private keys or passwords. Plans are in place to later integrate this into Sneak wallets. Considerations are also currently open regarding applying secret sharing to blocks. In this case, snapshots of blocks would serve as input and are split into shares. Secret sharing has a lot of potential; looking into the future, this mechanism will no doubt consistently evolve. Certainly, @pingpong seems to have exciting development ideas up his sleeve.

There are no rules confining cryptocurrencies to the mundane features characteristic of the many in the blockchain space. Similarly, developers should not place limits on what can be achieved with a coin. Sneak is clearly bringing a difference into this space. The addition of secret sharing opens more development options to the project, while guaranteeing users enhanced security in the handling of their funds. You too can join the discord and, who knows, may get the chance to join in the testing as Alpha v0.4.2 goes live. Beginning next week, @pingpong will be free from his day job and will work exclusively on Sneak. For the user base, there seems nothing as promising as this for the success of the coin.

I’d like to thank discord users @sweet_sneak#9532, @🇺🇸 KUCOINIAN LYNX 🇺🇸#2009 and @Jinajon#1645 for looking at this article and helping with corrections. Nevertheless, all mistakes are mine.