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Bitcoin’s Public Key: A Crypto Legend finally put to rest



One of the many secrets of Bitcoin is finally being revealed.

Bitcoin is not simply a cryptocurrency. Despite its shortcomings, there is a panoply of mysteries that surrounds its existence. These mysteries are generating a folklore behind them in crypto community. The status of these trivial info has already attained cult-like following among the Bitcoin purists.

Take the example of Satoshi Nakamoto. The identity of the mysterious creator is still shrouded. Nobody knows what his real intention behind the creation of Bitcoin was. Many have come forward with theories pointing to a Finnish tech geek to even Elon Musk being Satoshi. But all the theories have been debunked and the mystery continues.

But not everything is shrouded in mystery. The private key which activates the alert system protocol of Bitcoin is going to be revealed. Nakamoto has entrusted this key to some Bitcoin developers. It can be used to send text warning to those running software on Bitcoin Blockchain. These messages can be sent when something impacts the security of funds.

The key has generated enthusiastic debates in the crypto community. However, it was retired in 2016 because of the confusion it created about its utility. There were also security concerns regarding its use.

According to Bitcoin Core developer Greg Maxwell, it was a frequent source of misunderstanding about the security model and effective governance. Many conspiracy theories emerged based on this feature. Many argue that the key can be used to change the network rules on which consensus is forged.

These theories don’t share much with the truth. But there was myriad of demands based on such theories form developers. Some wanted to use it in order to control fees while others wanted it to solve the mining problems of Bitcoin.

This brought the Bitcoin developers into the spotlight. They wanted to avoid it at all cost. The developers were afraid of being attacked themselves. Their reputation was already the stuff of the conspiratorial zeitgeist. Consider this scenario. If the private key was compromised and used to sign a message delivered for creating chaos, the first head on the chop would be of the Bitcoin developers. So even if a wrong person gets the key, the blame would have destroyed them.

Bryan Bishop, one of the Bitcoin developers said that it is going to be an interesting show from now on. He implied that he possesses the secret key in his tweets.

The reveal would destroy one of the original built-in systems in Bitcoin. The new code revealed n 2016 by Bitcoin developers was devoid of alert systems. They also made a final symbolic alert message in January 2017 to say goodbye to the feature.

However, there are many developers who built their products on the original system and are vulnerable to these attacks. Bitcoin developers want to completely eliminate any such probability.

The move still proves dangerous. That is the reason developers are going on the social media blitz to inform the crypto community of their intention of releasing the original keys. Bishop quipped, “If the copycats have not disabled the alert system, nor changed the alert key i.e. public key, and if they have not sent what’s known as a final alert message, then once the keys are released, anyone will be able to send alerts on those [other] networks”.

Maxwell also said that “At some point after that, I would then plan to disclose this private key in public, eliminating any further potential of reputation attacks and diminishing the risk of misunderstanding the key as some special trusted source of authority.”

Thus another chapter in the Bitcoin saga reaches its successful conclusion.

Disclaimer: Koinalert’s content is only for information purpose in nature and should not be considered as investment advice. Do your own market research before investing in any cryptocurrencies. The author or publication does not hold any responsibility for your personal financial loss.

Shubham Dwivedi is an ardent crypto enthusiast, gamer, fanatic binge watcher, and researcher. He writes frequently on the blockchain, crypto market, and ICOs. Self-proclaimed Libertarian and fan of Milton Freidman, his interests lie in the intersection of technology, economics, and politics. DC Fan but also loves Marvel, Manga Otaku, promiscuous reader and habitual cinephile.