Interviews 18 April 2018Cecille de Jesus
Jonald Fyookball: Electron Cash users ‘go online with a watching-only wallet’
Electron Cash lets users keep private keys—no need to download entire blockchain.
There are several wallet options out there for cryptocurrency holdings. The choice depends on what your funds are for: long-term holders prefer offline or “cold” wallets; active traders keep them in live wallets, usually exchanges—they can easily trade between cryptocurrencies but are more vulnerable to attack.
Electron Cash—a light wallet specifically for Bitcoin Cash (BCH), however, employs a different game plan: a hybrid between hot and cold, restricting online access so the signature part of the process is done offline. “Your private keys are encrypted and never leave your computer,” their website reads. “Keep your private keys offline, and go online with a watching-only wallet.”
Its creator, Jonald Fyookball, who has been actively reviewing and assessing protocol proposals and developments in Bitcoin—including issues surrounding the scaling debate, has become a prolific member of the community and a household name for those immersed in the space.
In an email interview with CoinGeek, Jonald Fyookball expounds more on how this works.
“Most casual users think of “spending a transaction” as a single maneuver, but you can break it down into 3 distinct steps. First the transaction is created by specifying the inputs and outputs. Second, it is signed using the private key(s). And third, it is broadcast to the network,” he wrote.
“You can think of offline signing as a process where the user does steps 1 and 3 on their online computer and does step #2 (the actual signing with a private key) using an offline computer. So you create the transaction, save it (either as a file or a QR code), transfer it to an offline machine where you sign it, then copy the signed transaction back to an Internet-connected computer for broadcasting. This way, the machine with the private keys never has to touch the Internet.”
He adds that Electron Cash gives users the full security benefits of keeping their own private keys—unlike cryptocurrency exchanges, without requiring them to download the entire blockchain history—something common to several Bitcoin clients that ultimately discourages other users and pushes them back to lighter wallet options. If you’ve ever tried a wallet that requires downloading all the nodes, it’s a gruelling and frustrating task that heats up your computer and eats up quite a bit of your bandwidth.
“Electron Cash gives you the best of both worlds because you control your own private keys but you also don’t have to download blockchain. You can restore your wallet from a secret seed so that you don’t need to back up your wallet file as long as you have the seed. There’s also other cool features like coin control.
We’re working right now on new versions for devices we haven’t covered in the past such as the iPhone.”
Coin Control, mentioned above, is a feature that enables users to pick and mix coins from your balance will be used for your next transaction, and which addresses they will be coming from. Consolidating small amounts you received, say as change for previous transactions, helps reduce fees and adds a layer of privacy/anonymity to your transactions. When asked what inspired him to create the wallet—which is free for all to use, Fyookball says it was a decision made around the time of the fork, and that the wallet is in fact, a “fork” itself.
“As many people know, Electron Cash is a fork of the popular Electrum wallet. This was my favorite wallet as a BTC user, and I wanted to recreate the same wallet experience and make that available on Bitcoin Cash.
I was in close communication with those in the community that decided to initiate the BCH fork from BTC, and decided having this wallet available was important for the launch, so I got involved. I’m glad we were able to make that happen.”
Electron Cash has also opened up a bug bounty program for devs who want to help the community by putting the wallet’s code to the test. Interested white hat hackers can take their chance at the bug bounty, currently worth $2,000. The communication platform of choice for this is still Github.
“We usually use Github as a handy interface between the Electron Cash developers and the wider community,” Fyookball wrote.
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.
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