Vitalik Buterin Proposes Creating an Ether Mixer

Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum calls for developing an on-chain smart contract-based ether mixer.

This suggestion happened on May 24 and was part of a note on collaborative development platform HackMD. Buterin thinks that the Ethereum ecosystem should include more privacy. He added that the common behavior is to execute everything via a single account. That way all user activities can be easily connected. However, Vitalik warned that separating Ethereum between multiple addresses would not fix the problem, as the ETH transactions to wallet will link them again.

In addition, Buterin shared a Twitter thread in which he tackled the same problem. The author, with account name Mooncritic noted that to apply for the HumanityDAO initiative, one would have to tweet his/her Ethereum address and name. Mooncritic wrote:

You can now look up many people’s Ethereum balance by their Twitter handle.

Vitalik Buterin suggests “a simple mixer for sending fixed quantities of ETH from one account to another without the link being visible on-chain”. This will bring huge benefits to user privacy even if the mixer would be able to handle only limited amounts of ETH.

Vitalik’s suggestion consists of two smart contracts – a mixer and a relater registry. As suggested my its name, the first will “mix” the ETH and will improve the user’s privacy by employing ZK-SNARKs. The registry would then permit a user to publish their address for a minor fee. The mixer would be used via web-based software, which will be accessible through a simple web page. An analysis from September 2017 showed that a mixer was accountable for 65% of all transactions.

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