Bitcoin ABC's Amaury Sechet Calls Out nChain Patent

Bitcoin ABC’s Amaury Sechet Calls Out nChain Patent

In recent weeks, considerable debate has sprung up in the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) community over the growing number of BCH-centric patents granted to blockchain developers nChain. Detractors are concerned it’s setting the stage for patent trolling, and in this vein, prominent Bitcoin ABC dev Amaury Sechet has just publicly warned against nChain’s latest patent.

Also see: bitPico Threatens Bitcoin Cash With ‘Multiple Forks’

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First Off, Context

nChain, which bills itself as “the global leader in research and development of blockchain technologies,” has just been granted a new patent for a Deterministic Key Generation technique that is being positioned to help improve the security of crypto wallets and exchanges.

The patent, which lists self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto and nChain CTO Dr. Craig Wright as co-inventor and is titled rather long-windedly as “Determining a common secret for the secure exchange of information and hierarchical deterministic cryptographic keys,” spells out a multisig-esque method for optimized communications between “a pair of nodes or parties on a network, while being able to keep their private keys secret.”

nChain
nChain CTO Dr. Wright and CEO Nguyen.

nChain CEO Jimmy Nguyen argued the technique, which is currently being folded into HandCash and SBI BITS projects, will be a game-changer:

“The Deterministic Key Generation technique will help prevent Mt. Gox-type hacks of cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets […] The invention can provide significant security benefits for any situation in which sensitive data, assets, communications or controlled resources need to be secured.”

But Amaury Sechet, who helps head up the Bitcoin Cash dev group Bitcoin ABC, relayed warning on Twitter just hours after the patent’s successful granting was announced.

Sechet: Not ‘Permissionless Money’

As word spread of the patent in the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem, some gravitated toward the SBI BITS and HandCash collaborations as notable adoption milestones.

But Sechet, whose Twitter handle is @deadalnix, countered that users would need nChain’s permission to “derive your private key,” i.e. users would be relying on a permissioned system:

Considering Sechet’s vanguard work in the Bitcoin Cash space, such remarks signify the latest development, even escalation, of the reigning nChain patent debates. Sechet went on to suggest that even BCH forks would be subject to the patent’s reach and that legal flexes might be forthcoming.

That’s when nChain CTO Dr. Wright chimed in on Sechet’s tweet thread, calling the Bitcoin ABC dev’s positions “Incorrect” and a “Damn shame”:

In kind, Sechet simply mirrored Dr. Wright’s response:

The exchange between the two highlights how the underlying tensions aren’t going anywhere anytime soon: nChain is going to keep seeking patents and detractors are going to keep saying such patents betray the permissionless zeitgeist that drives, and has always driven, the cryptoverse.

Vitalik Buterin also openly pondered whether there was anything new about nChain’s latest patented technique, adding another wrinkle to the wider conversation.

In the meantime, then, the debate continues on.

What’s your take? Are you with Sechet or nChain when it comes to cryptocurrency-based patents? Sound off in the comments below. 


Images via Bitsonline

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