So what is DarkSend+? DarkSend+ is the latest implementation of the technology behind Darkcoin, but what does it actually do? You’ve probably heard that it is basically an implementation of CoinJoin, a mixing process originally proposed by G. Maxwell. However, over the past 6 months, Evan Duffield, the main developer of Darkcoin, has tried several variations of mixing coins and finally come up with a simple yet elegant system that truly hides all aspects of a transaction.
So how did he make Darkcoin’s Darksend truly anonymous?
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Well, though the idea seems simple enough, Evan arrived at this final implementation only after a long process, with much massaging, and a few bumps in the road. DarkSend, in it’s final form must:
1. Mix coins so that it is not possible to tell their origin, hence the wallet it is attached to.
2. Hide all traces of where the coin came from, such as IP addresses and wallet addresses, etc.
3. Do the above in a decentralized, trust-less fashion.
4. Do the above so that a user’s transactions can be processed immediately.
Why is Darkcoin being developed to be completely anonymous?
In the very beginning, Mr. Duffield planned on making his coin difficult but not impossible to trace. The community soon made him realize that wasn’t enough. If there was a way to break the privacy, the privacy would be broken. There is always much talk about governmental institutions decrypting our private information.
However, the real issue, and the people with the most motivation to break our privacy aren’t governments, but rather hacking private information thieves, coin thieves and marketers. These are the people with the time, motivation and talent to ruin another person’s sense of privacy and security far more so than a governmental institution, though I don’t wish to discount them either. In any case, the NSA of the United States is the standard threat, imagined or not, that we hold any solution up against to see if Mr. Duffield’s solution is good enough.
It is also the input and challenges of the crypto coin community that pushed Mr. Duffield to improve Darkcoin until we have DarkSend’s current, and according to Mr. Duffield, final form. Currently in testing, DarkSend+ successfully achieves the above conditions. It does this simply by passing the “mixing” through several nodes called “masternodes” where even if a masternode is a bad player and recording information on transactions it is processing, it will not be able to ascertain any real information. It can not know if the transactions have already been processed twice, four times or eight. If they are the first to receive a wallet’s transaction (which can be deduced as it will be obvious it didn’t come from a fellow masternode), they still won’t know it’s final form (or account number on the blockchain) when it is finished processing.
This makes any attempt at logging futile, and of course trust-less. The chances that a group of corrupted masternodes in control of a single bad player would be able to collect the information for a coin from start to finish is exponentially reduced via the number of mixing layers. Also, the number of masternodes required to be in the hands of one entity is financially improbable. This makes the system virtually impossible to crack, and certainly impossible to crack regularly.
The latest brilliant realization Mr. Duffield had was that if he had the coins denominated and mixed while they sat idle in the wallet, there will always be coins available to mix with, and the new pre-denominated coins would be at the ready for when a person wants to send them. This solves the annoying and possibly fatal flaw of having to wait, sometimes a very long time, to make a payment because there is nobody else around making payments to mix with. The coins waiting at the ready have already been made untraceable and the change from the transaction will, in time, be sent for mixing once again before being sent out in another payment. This way, even change can never be connected to it’s previous transaction.
How will Darkcoin’s masternodes be paid?
The rest of the improvements of DarkSend+ involve the payments to the masternodes. This is under-the-hood improvements which change the voting system and rejection system so that the miners, who have proven to be unreliable team players, will no longer be in charge of voting for which masternode gets paid, and when they refuse to pay the masternode, their block is rejected. This is proving in tests to solve the forking issues previously experienced by the network when the network tried to upgrade to pay masternodes for their work.
Next time: How masternodes changed the crypto world.