On 2015-03-11 05:11 PM, Gregory Maxwell wrote:
> On Wed, Mar 11, 2015 at 11:50 PM, devrandom <c1.sf-bitc...@niftybox.net> 
> wrote:
>> That said, I do agree that mnemonic phrases should be portable, and find
>> it unfortunate that the ecosystem is failing to standardize on phrase
>> handling.
> The fact remains that there are several apparently unresolvable
> well-principled perspectives on this subject.
> (And I can speak to this personally: There are several BIPs in this
> space that I'd rather not see in product with my name on it.)
> Unless two wallets have exactly the same feature set, cross importing
> keys is going to confuse or break something. Even if you're trying to
> be fairly generic the testing overhead for all possible strategies and
> structures is large. Expecting compatibility here would be like
> expecting two large commercial accounting packages to support the same
> internal file formats. Compatibility is only straight forward when the
> feature set is as limited as possible.

You make some good points.  However, I still hope for standardization by
"profile".  E.g. a "consumer profile" for wallets with just one account,
a "business profile" for small business wallets.  If an application
falls outside of the standardized profiles, they can roll their own or
try to promote a new standard.

I think there are some important advantages to not being forced to use
the old wallet to send coins when switching wallets. The three I can
think of right now are: maintaining transaction history, emergency
transition when a wallet has a serious (e.g. money losing) bug and web
wallet with server down.

Another important reason to standardize is to reduce the "roll your own
crypto" temptation on the wallet creator part, where the wallet-specific
algorithm is more likely to contain weaknesses.

I do agree that trying to come up with one uber standard will likely
fail and is probably counter productive.

> The space for weird behavior to harm users is pretty large... e.g. you
> could load a key into two wallets, such that one can see all the funds
> by the other, but not vice versa and and up losing funds by
> incorrectly assuming you had no coins; or inadvertently rip of your
> business partners by accounting for things incorrectly.
> Even ignoring compatibility, most demanded use cases here are ones
> that create concurrent read/write use of single wallet without some
> coordinating service is inherently somewhat broken because you can
> double spend yourself, and end up with stalled and stuck transactions
> and causing people to think you tried ripping them off.
> I certainly recognize the desirable aspects of just being able to load
> a common wallet, and that inexperienced users expect it to just work.
> But I don't think that expectation is currently very realistic except
> within limited domains. It may be more realistic in the future when
> the role of wallets is better established. I don't see any _harm_ in
> trying to standardize what can be, I just don't expect to see a lot of
> success.
> Ultimately, the most fundamental compatibility is guaranteed:  you can
> always send your funds to another wallet. This always works and
> guarantees that you are never locked in to a single wallet. It is well
> tested and cannot drive any software in to weird or confused states.

devrandom / Miron

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