BitAlias FAQ

In case you have further questions, please leave a comment and I will add it to the FAQ.

This is a first collection of frequently asked questions for the BitAlias (usernames for Bitcoin) project. Read here the introduction.

How do I get started?

To register your personal BitAlias to your Bitcoin address you need a BitAlias-enabled wallet. Such a wallet will be released shortly. It will support BitAlias registration and sending to BitAliases as well as transferring and renewing BitAliases.

How big is the fee to register an alias?

The fee is only 0.0002 BTC which is currently about 5 US-cents. Every 6 months holders of BitAlias enabled addresses can vote on-chain how the fee will be for the next period. Details will be announced just in time.

Can I transfer BitAliases?

Yes, transferring BitAliases is possible. You need to create a special transfer transaction.

How does this further compare to Namecoin?

The first step of the publishing process is different to Namecoin’s registration process where you publish the hash of the alias instead of the signature. A signature compared to a hash is more secure for this case because it belongs to the address and can not be copied and thus the alias registered by somebody else.

Another difference is that BitAlias is designed for giving Bitcoin addresses unique aliases (names) and not for arbitrary key-value-storage which get attached to coins (like colored coins). BitAlias does not try to connect Bitcoin addresses to the IP-based web.

Also transferring aliases/names works in another way. While Namecoin uses the colored-coins approach, i.e. attaching the name to a coin value, this does not make sense for aliases, which are meant to be spending addresses.

How does BitAlias compare to OneName, OpenName and Blockstore?

These systems are unfortunately currently broken, because miners can register names for free. This is known to the developers but they have not fixed it yet.

Further BitAlias is a more easy and more stable system, because all its data is saved on top of the Bitcoin blockchain and it does not require an external DHT, because it is not an arbitrary key-value store and only offers aliasing instead. BitAlias does not cause more blockchain bloat this way, because names can be only max. 80 bytes long. A hash (used for addressing in DHTs with Blockstore) is likely to be longer than the actual name.

Why does the registration fee get burned and not used otherwise?

Burning the fee is the most fair and decentralized way. Suppose the fee was sent to an address which the creator of BitAlias controlls, then the protocol would not be decentralized but instead in favour of the creator. The creator of BitAlias could create as many aliases as he liked, for free. Suppose the fee was sent to the miners, then the miners could create as many addresses as they liked.

How does Proof-of-Burn work?

The burn involves sending BTC to a provably unspendable marker address (1BitALiasRegistryXXXXXXXXXXXYP9R77) effectively destroying the BTC. This acts as a donation to the Bitcoin network.

Are SPV-proofs possible?

Unfortunately SPV-proofs do not seem to be possible because all the history of transactions, which got send to the marker address, is needed. All one can do with SPV is to verify that one transaction was a valid transaction (embeded in the blockchain), but not that there have been other transactions before which contained valid alias registrations.

Does BitAlias encourage address re-use?

Address re-use is generally not recommended. There are privacy and security issues involved.

Security: The security issue can be solved through binding the alias to a extended public key (published on the blockchain in the register-transaction) so that everybody can generate child addresses in a publicly verifiable and deterministic way. This does not make the use of BitAlias more private, though.

Can I receive private payments?

Yes, you will be able to!

The initial idea and implementation does not focus on privacy, because there are a lot of use-cases where you actually do want to be in public, e.g. when you send and receive tips on the web. But after spending some more thoughts on this I came to the conclusion that privacy can easily be archived through using stealth addresses. This way payers can chose whether they want to send you BTC privately (default) or publicly.

Where can I donate?

You can donate BTC to speed up the development. The development fund address is 15yXLHu3AjoLLkhr1XB8WfqPXiwsgt4GuJ