[Cryptography] Does Bitcoin have unaddressed design flaws?

Gerald Oxley gerald.oxley at protonmail.com
Wed Feb 3 08:17:15 EST 2021

Greetings all,

I discovered this mailing list by way of it being the place where Satoshi posted the original Bitcoin white paper, so I thought it might be an appropriate venue for this particular question. Reading some recent threads, it seems I'm among compatriots. Also I saw the Bitcoin white paper is apparently now banned reading material (DuckDuckGo it if you haven't seen it) which made me smile until I remembered my Ray Bradbury.

Not too long ago I happened to come across a [curious post](https://www.reddit.com/r/crypto/comments/kgo2qo/how_does_knowledge_of_a_bitcoin_public_key_square/ggi4z1u/) on the Cryptography Reddit which claims some sort of breakthrough attack for the “secp256k1” elliptic curve created by Bitcoin.

The post is rather flitty about the details, but links to a [redacted document](https://i.ibb.co/JKZvYgM/secp256k1-summation-attack.png) which provides the basis of alleged “intriguing conclusions” and “practical breakages” which the post claims will be interesting to cryptographers. I’m generally worried by all this, but also left wondering why the document need be redacted. It all seems rather suspicious to me.

Though I took maths in university many years ago, trying to even attempt to read the paper it is all quite very much above my head. Having said as much, I’m writing as someone invested in Bitcoin who looks at all of this with a bit of confusion and worry.

Can anyone validate this document or speak to the merit of this potential breakthrough? I am aware that elliptic curves are used to form Bitcoin signatures, so particularly concerning to me is whether this could represent some sort of unraveling of those signatures, as I understand they provide the basis of Bitcoin's security aside from the Proof-Of-Work (which I understand is separate from the signatures).

I am a bit skeptical of the claims, as the document itself does not mention Bitcoin or secp256k1, so I’m also wondering if the Reddit post is leaping to conclusions or if there's something to it all which I'm just short of grasping. Does this even effect Bitcoin or is the Reddit poster simply mistaken? What is the connection I'm missing here?

If it so happens that there is a real breakthrough discovery here, is there any way that Bitcoin can address it? Is there a better ellpitic curve that Bitcoin should plan to switch to in the near future?

Full disclosure, I ask all of this as someone invested in Bitcoin, but with the lack of price stability and the recent concerns about double spend attacks, I’m beginning to wonder if I might be over-leveraged and it might be a good time to sell. Also in regard to the double spend attacks I'm not sure what to think there however I'm seeing mostly "false alarm" reports myself but very curious to hear others opinions.

Really the whole thing has become quite nutty as of late, has it not?

The idea there might be latent unaddressed issues lurking in the core designs of Bitcoin really got me thinking, and I'm wondering how much of Bitcoin depends on Satoshi's early decisions which really haven't gotten much scrutiny since.

Not to insult Satoshi! I dare not think such a thing and everything I say here is very much with due respect. But with his prolonged absence, I'm wondering how much of Bitcoin is assumed to be solid ground only because it's territory which has gone unconsidered in such time in absence of a genius curator. It seems Bitcoin contained many novel and intriguing ideas and I wonder in general how many of those ideas have not been duly reconsidered since Satoshi vanished.

Cheers, Gerald
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