BTC Developers Missed “Very Scary” Duplicate Transaction Bug That Could Have Crashed the Entire Network

In order to bring higher levels of privacy to the bitcoin network, a group of developers have built a prototype for their privacy project known as ‘Dandelion.’ According to an email sent to bitcoin developers on Thursday, the team has added more theoretical analysis in order to tackle some problems of the initial Dandelion proposal.

The Dandelion proposal is a mechanism that provides anonymity guarantees against deanonymization attacks.

The abstract of the project reads as follows:

“Bitcoin's transaction spreading protocol is vulnerable to deanonymization attacks. Dandelion is a transaction routing mechanism that provides formal anonymity guarantees against these attacks. When a node generates a transaction without Dandelion, it transmits that transaction to its peers with independent, exponential delays. This approach, known as diffusion in academia, allows network adversaries to link transactions to IP addresses.”

Different projects in the past tried to improve privacy for bitcoin users. The Dandelion Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP), was published back in June of 2017 by a team of experts from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Illinois.

The first proposal tried to introduce a two-phase route for BTC transactions. Later, Bitcoin Core developer Greg Maxwell explained that the tech may run into deanonymization over time, something that would allow attackers to identify the origin of the transactions. Moreover, the team explained that Dandelion is compatible with other versions of Bitcoin.

The team wrote:

“Dandelion does not conflict with existing versions of Bitcoin. A Bitcoin node that supports Dandelion appears no differently to Bitcoin nodes running older software versions. Bitcoin nodes that support Dandelion can identify feature support through a probe message.”

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