Team wallet Electrum has released a new product Electrum Personal Server, which is currently in alpha version. It is designed to provide hardware and easy software bitcoin wallets secure connection with full network nodes.
The product developer is a programmer Christian Belcher (Christian Belcher). The Electrum server Personal Server eliminates the main shortcomings of the popular Electrum wallet, while providing users the ability to use the resources of the server Electrum. In fact, it is an add-on over the full Bitcoin Core client, implemented as a set of scripts.
According to Belcher, for users of light version of purses is very important that their wallets were connected with reliable full nodes on the network, because it ensures their safety.
«If bitcoin is digital gold, the purse with a full node is a jeweller that checks for the authenticity of received payments,» explains Belcher.
Full nodes and thin clients
Full nodes in the bitcoin blockchain represent programs the client that store a full copy of the blockchain, validate and propagate transactions and blocks network. Full nodes help the network to accept transaction and other blocks from full nodes, confirming and sharing them with other full nodes. In fact, such nodes play the role of the governing bloccano bitcoin – they monitor compliance with the rules of the network and ignore the chains that violate these rules.
Despite the fact that full nodes are safe, they require certain resources. For the operation of one node now needs about 156 GB of disk space, and this number is increasing annually by more than 50GB. On the first sync a full node of the network may take several days, in addition, it requires a significant amount of network bandwidth and uses significant CPU resources to check all transactions and blocks in the network.
Unlike the full nodes, thin clients (also known as light wallets), does not require downloading the entire blockchain of Bitcoin. Instead, they simply copy the headers of the blocks and the table unspent outputs (UTXO). Thin clients receive notifications from the server (full node), only when the transaction affects their wallet. However, thin clients are in full control of their keys and are not obliged to inform the third party about their addresses.
2011 lightweight wallet Electrum is one of the most popular in the bitcoin community. It has a user friendly interface, is connected with hardware wallets that have the ability to restore forgotten secret phrases, provides solutions for cold storage and decisions based on multimedia. However, similar to other thin clients, the connection of the lightweight wallet Electrum Bitcoin bloccano with no benefit to privacy, validation of transactions and scalability.
The default wallet of Electrum sends all of its addresses, bitcoin Electrum server, which sends them in response to a user’s history and information about the balance sheet. According to Belcher, «this means that the server Electrum famous cryptocurrency addresses from all users and he can observe them, essentially seeing everything the user is doing». Users should be aware that if their cryptocurrency addresses are stored on the server, their transactions can be tracked.
Just as in the case of other thin clients if the Electrum servers do not properly confirm the rules of the Bitcoin blockchain, wallets are exposed to the threat of hacking. Hacking the server Electrum can lead to the fact that the Electrum wallet will take a fake transaction that will not be confirmed by the full node.
In addition, the Electrum servers keep a record of all used network of Bitcoin addresses that, with increasing user base, presents additional obstacles to scale.
The only way in which the user in the ecosystem Electrum can avoid all disadvantages of thin client Electrum, is to run your own server and link it with your wallet. However, this requires more resources than to run a full Bitcoin node is a full – fledged blockchain Bitcoin complete index transactions and index additional addresses.
The decision on the basis of Personal Electrum Server
Personal server Personal Server Electrum provides users with lightweight wallets enhanced efficiency, security and privacy. In this implementation of the Protocol Electrum users wishing to join a full node can simultaneously use all of the traditional functions of a wallet is Electrum. In addition, the server can be useful to trust each other user group. which can use one server together.
At the moment, the implementation of the Electrum Personal Server is in alpha version, so it has not yet implemented many of the features, particularly the HD key and code phrases, addresses must be imported individually.
From the point of view of efficiency, the connection of the Electrum wallet with a full node allows you to take full advantage of resource-efficient Bitcoin Core functions, such as truncating the blockchain, and disable txindex and blocksonly. These options are not available when connected to a centralized server Electrum.
Users can also use the traditional interface and functions of the Electrum wallet, for example, the integration of hardware wallets, the signature is in offline mode, the recovery passphrase and wallets with multimediali.
Security and privacy
Because users connect to a full node, they are not subject to any one of the above threats to security and privacy present in thin clients.
However, there is one but – if you are using a full node Electrum like the Personal Server (EPS) users lose the ability to use popular functions of the Electrum wallet «instant-on» (instant on). To display the wallet balance full node you want to synchronize. Depending on the connection speed and the time elapsed since the last connection, this process may take from several minutes to several hours. Therefore, the node with the EPS it is recommended to keep permanently enabled machine.
The process of starting Electrum Personal Server is very simple. To do this:
To install and sync the wallet Bitcoin Core or to provide a reliable connection to this purse;
To download the alpha version of the EPS;
Configure Electrum Personal Server with a public master key. Subsequently, the addresses are imported into the Bitcoin Core wallet as watch-only;
A re-scanning of the purse on the subject of old transactions if they were. When you create a new, empty wallet this step is not required.
What can be useful for Personal Electrum Server
Belcher emphasizes that since the advent of the network of Bitcoin is its main security model is based on the full nodes and not affected thin clients. In this case, correct transaction of bitcoin is always confirmed, and inappropriate Protocol transaction is rejected, thus ensuring, in particular, the limit of 21 million bitcoins.
According to Belcher, if a large part of the economy of Bitcoin will not go to the use of wallets on the basis of full nodes, the «Bitcoin in the long run will die.»
Belcher hopes that the Electrum server personal Personal Server will act as a bridge linking the light wallets of Bitcoin users running full nodes. For example, purses Samourai Wallet or Breadwallet
to connect with full node could use a script similar to Electrum Personal Server.