Vitalik buterin, one the co-founders of the Ethereum network, is always full of new ideas for his ecosystem. Now, he came up with a curious new idea this week, which is a smart contract that could act as an Ethereum mixer.
You have probably heard of coin mixers. They are mostly used for Bitcoin and their purpose is to mix up tokens in order to increase the safety of the people using the digital tokens. This way, it is harder to track what is happening.
Buterin argued that the Ethereum network definitely needs more privacy now. According to him, the default behavior of people is to use a single account for everything, so it is very easy for anyone to track the users of the network.
He also noted that spreading your ETH around multiple addresses also does not work very well, so the technology to create an innovative solution is needed in order to cloak the transactions, which is why he decided to advocate for this idea.
There are services which allow people to even link someone’s ETH balance to their Twitter profile, so it is getting increasingly easier to know how much money people hold. This can, obviously, be dangerous. People with more money will be targeted by criminals more easily, which is why this is generally considered a bad idea.
Why governments and enforcement agencies often need to know what kind of transactions are being done, they generally ask banks about it, as they protect the privacy of the clients. Using the blockchain and no mixer, you will not have this additional ease.
Because of this, Buterin proposed the creation of a simple mixer based on a smart contract. This way, only people who wanted would use it. The simple mixer would send fixed quantities of ETH from one account to the other without being visible on-chain. Even if this is used only for small amounts of ETH, it could enable more privacy to use who use this technology.
Basically, two smart contracts would be used. One of them would act as the proper mixer and the other one would be the relayer registry. The mixer would obviously be used in order to mix the tokens and to ensure the privacy. It would use the ZK-SNARKs protocol. The relayer registry could be used to allow people to publish their IP addresses paying only a small fee.
According to Buterin, people could easily use this system in order to send transactions for deposits, then be more anonymous by generating a ZK-SNARK proof and relyaing it later. People could just go to the software page and use it, Buterin affirmed.
Trouble With Coin Mixers
Unfortunately, coin mixers are somewhat divisive. The government and the police obviously do not like how people can simply cloak their transactions. This is what led the Dutch and the Luxembourg authorities to unite with the Interpol in order to shut down one of the largest cryptocurrency mixers in the world this week.
According to the group, they analyzed the site that was shut down and believed that most of the tokens that were mixed there were used in criminal activities of some kind.
Ethereum’s price is $237.64 ETH/USD exchange rate today. The real-time ETH market cap of $26.53 Billion currently ranks #2 with , daily trading volume of $2.06 Billion and live coin value change of ETH 0.92 in the last 24 hours.