Bitcoin research and development center, Brink, has announced the renewal of a year-long grant for Sebastian Falbesoner, also known as theStack. “As part of his grant renewal application, he emphasized the importance of BIP324 Version 2 P2P transport and why he plans to spend his review time on the project,” the announcement read.
BIP324 aims to address the vulnerability of Bitcoin’s peer-to-peer (P2P) communication layer, where messages are currently transmitted unencrypted. Sebastian highlights the need for opportunistic encryption between Bitcoin nodes to combat censorship, privacy breaches, and other attacks. He explains, “BIP324 tries to counter these deficiencies by adding opportunistic encryption between Bitcoin nodes, making it significantly harder for adversaries to conduct these attacks.”
The proposal incorporates a protocol that obscures the initiation of connections between peers, ensuring minimal information is revealed to external observers. This is achieved through the use of ElligatorSwift, a modern elliptic curve point encoding scheme. Additionally, an extra chunk of random bytes, known as “garbage,” is exchanged during connection initiation to further obfuscate the size of packets, hindering detection by potential attackers.
Sebastian expressed his fascination with BIP324’s pseudorandom approach, stating, “If we imagine a world where this v2 encrypted transport protocol is used predominantly … censorship of any Bitcoin participant on the network level will be significantly harder.” He highlights that deep packet inspection and man-in-the-middle attacks would become far more challenging to execute.
Recognizing the significance of BIP324 for ensuring Bitcoin’s censorship-resistance on the P2P layer, Brink has extended Sebastian’s part-time grant for another year. Sebastian plans to conduct thorough code reviews, test the remaining BIP324 pull requests, and run a publicly accessible BIP324-compatible node once a functional pull request is available.