Alt Coin Era
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Crypto 101 Development

A New Level of Privacy: The Wasabi Wallet

Last year, Tumblebit developer Adam Ficzor made and released HiddenWallet to enable Bitcoin users to make much more secure and valid transactions. Roughly a year later, Ficzor has announced the release of the Wasabi Wallet at Building on Bitcoin 2018. The Wasabi Wallet is more privacy-centric Bitcoin wallet for users who are worried about permanently writing their financial history to a blockchain.

In fact, Wasabi is indeed a “new implementation” of HiddenWallet, Ficsor claims, but he maintains that the wallet has been re-written right from scratch to make many changes and add a variety of new features. It has been launched as a new company named zk-SNARKs.

While the new wallet doesn’t exactly look very pleasing to the eye, it does provide something much more valuable – privacy. Wasabi is a ZeroLink-compliant wallet, that uses a Bitcoin mixing technique called Chaumian CoinJoin and enforces a constant 100 anonymity set. No other anonymity system used in any cryptocurrency today comes close to this number. It is a light wallet so that users can run it without a single node, but unlike others of its kind Wasabi does not leak data to network analysts.

Simply put, Wasabi prevents blockchain analytics firms and other possible snoopers from spying on your bitcoin transactions by automatically “mixing” your coins with the coins of other users when you initiate a transaction. This makes it very difficult for an observer to decipher who the sender or the receiver of any particular payment is. Unlike some mixing services, Wasabi accomplishes all of this without the help of a centralized coordinator, ensuring that there is no single point of failure.

Given below are some notable features of Wasabi:

  • It is open source and cross-platform, so it works on every desktop architecture: Linux, OSX, Windows.
  • It is an HD wallet, it uses BIP84 derivation scheme, so it can only generate bech32, native segregated witness addresses.
  • It is the only true light wallet that is already deployed and that does not fail against network analysis, thus protecting your privacy against network observers. This is achieved by implementing a BIP157–158, which outlines a procedure to sync the client to the blockchain without sacrificing privacy.
  • The Tor anonymity network is integrated and – in the interest of user privacy – the wallet cannot be used without it.
  • Wasabi charges a mixing fee like most other similar services, but the surcharge stands at 0.3% which is much lower than the 3% charged by some.

The Beta release is scheduled on August 1st (although tech-savvy users can clone it from GitHub and begin running it immediately) while the full version will be launched on October 31st, which coincidentally is the 10th anniversary of Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin Whitepaper.

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