Pre-BIP feedback: Secrets keychain with semantic derivation

Pre-BIP feedback: Secrets keychain with semantic derivation

Original Postby Aneesh Karve

Posted on: May 28, 2024 02:04 UTC

The proposal introduces an enhancement to the hierarchical deterministic wallet framework established by BIP-32, incorporating a novel application code from BIP-85 alongside a deterministic path derivation algorithm.

This innovation facilitates the creation of a vast key-value map of secrets, where each secret's key is defined by a meaningful semantic path rather than a random integer. Such an advancement proposes a substitute for contemporary password managers, aiming to elevate the security profile to a more secure and potentially trustless model.

BIP-85, which outlines a method for deriving passwords, private keys, and entropy using specific path formats, serves as a foundational element in this proposal. However, it has been identified that BIP-85 falls short in two main areas: the arbitrariness in path construction and the variability and lack of specificity in return types for applications. The proposed BIP-Keychain addresses these issues by introducing a structured approach to extend the path for applications requiring multiple parameters and standardizing the interpretation of return types.

Furthermore, the BIP-Keychain concept introduces a new security paradigm whereby multiple secrets, either hot or cold, can be derived from non-compromising derivation path keys. These keys are safeguarded by a master hot secret, ensuring that in the event of a compromise, only the derivation path keys are exposed, not the actual child secrets. This architecture allows for the master key, used for deriving secret values, to remain offline or stored separately, enhancing security measures. Additionally, the proposal suggests that generalized derivation paths could be utilized not only for key derivation but also as a means to convey real-world information.

For more detailed specifications and the full context of this proposal, interested parties are encouraged to review the materials provided on GitHub at BIP-85 and BIP-Keychain. This pre-proposal invites feedback on its viability and the potential submission as a formal Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP).