Vitalik Buterin, Amaury Sechet Spark nChain Patent Debate, Craig Wright Involved
nChain's second patent, European Patent 3268914, is entitled “Determining a common secret for the secure exchange of information and hierarchical deterministic cryptographic keys.” This Deterministic Key Generation technique provides for improved secure communication between a pair of nodes or parties on a network, while being able to keep their private keys secret.
However, not everyone in the crypto community was happy with the decision.
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.”
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. He pointed out that users would need nChain’s permission to “derive your private key,” i.e. users would be relying on a permissioned system.
If you are using this, you are not using permissionless money, as you need permission to derive your private key. https://t.co/9DywrF2076
— deadalǹ͔͜͡i͎̜͖͗̎͞x̛̳̠̤̥̦̉̊̕̕ (@deadalnix) June 26, 2018
The exchange between the two highlights how the underlying tensions aren’t going anywhere anytime soon as nChain is going to keep seeking patents and detractors are going to keep saying such patents betray the permissionless zeitgeist that drives.
Even Ethereum Founder Buterin appeared unimpressed at the prospect of the company using it as a basis for innovation, appearing to argue it contained no new “invention” at all.
This looks like they're trying to patent plain old public master key-based deterministic wallets, like what we had in 2013. Can't someone attack it in court with the obvious mountains of prior art?
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) June 26, 2018
Notably, Butrian had previously called Craig Wright fraud for Nakamoto claims.
Craig had sent this message out, follow up by the second message included here:
then to make it all full circle:
We will be sure to keep you up to date between the Vitalik Buterin, Craig Wright square off round 2 (or 3 is it) as well as the challenge on nChain's newly awarded patent in which Dr. ProfFaustus says many more are coming in the months and years.