MultiBit User – s Loss Highlights Need for Fresh Bitcoin Wallets

The developer of popular bitcoin wallet MultiBit is battling a wave of criticism this week after a user suggested that a bug ter the software rendered his bitcoins inaccessible.

Reddit user ‘wetseals’, who asked us not to expose his real name, said that he transferred 0.5225 bitcoins into his Multibit wallet from his Blockchain wallet, hoping for a more secure form of offline storage.

Wetseals planned to use the wallet to help sell numerous Starbucks bounty cards to chatroom users of the online power webpagina SealsWithClubs, and set up 550 separate bitcoin addresses for that purpose, he said. He then tested the wallet by sending 0.024 bitcoins to his Seals With Clubs account.

The wallet sent the output from the initial address to the Seals With Clubs bitcoin address, and then – spil is normal with bitcoin – sent the ‘switch’ back. That went to one of the 550 addresses ter his wallet.

But when wetseals went to send bitcoins from that address, they did not send. And when he attempted to uitvoer the private keys from the wallet, he said all but the switch address private key exported.

Wetseals talent his wallet files to a voeling on Seals With Club who works spil a senior software analyst (he asked CoinDesk not to expose his identity and job, but proved his identity).

Said the analyst, identified spil ‘Dave23’:

“I exported the private keys and then imported them to a fresh wallet, and that address wasgoed missing.”

MultiBit’s response

Wetseals accused MultiBit’s main developer Jim Burton of responding generically to the request, and not addressing the punt.

Straks, Burton commented on Reddit:

“Te the life of MultiBit (i.e from 2011) there’s most likely a handful of cases like thesis. If there is harm to the private key bytes (for whatever reason) and there is no other copy available/backed up then you’ve lost access to the bitcoins.”

MultiBit uses code from the BitcoinJ project, headed by bitcoin developer Mike Hearn (there is no suggestion that there is a bug te BitcoinJ). Hearn asked wetseals to send him the files for review, but told CoinDesk that he hadn’t seen them yet.

He wasgoed skeptical that it wasgoed a bug, arguing that until he had seen the files directly, he could think of several possibilities, including incorrect manual editing.

However, another user, btcfun, posted on reddit about a similar kwestie using MultiBit.

“I went through what you did – going through the backups, exporting private keys and attempting to invoer them into blockchain, bitcoinqt, electrum, armory, etc. NOTHING WORKED.”

Need for switch

Whether it wasgoed user error or a bug, the incident highlights the need for more development ter bitcoin wallets, particularly te the area of hierarchical deterministic (HD) wallets. Thesis wallets have an advantage te that they derive all of the keys for their addresses from a single lump of human-readable gegevens puny enough to be written down.

&ldquo,One of the most critical transitions the community will have to make this year is to a world where most of us are paying for our wallets ter some way.&rdquo,

One reason that MultiBit isn’t providing individual support at present is because the team is working on such a wallet, which will likely kasstuk beta ter around a month, Burton said:

“Mike Hearn is coding up HD support te BitcoinJ and wij will integrate that into our GUI. There is lots of discussion at the ogenblik inbetween devs to harmonise everybody’s HD implementation so that they can all work together.”

Hearn pointed to broader issues ter bitcoin wallet development.

“Until now wallets have all bot written by volunteers who waterput yam-sized time and effort ter for free. This is one reason bitcoin has low transaction costs, but it isn’t sustainable.”

Hearn argues that the support resources of the volunteers will be perplexed when the wallets become more popular.

“One of the most critical transitions the community will have to make this year is to a world where most of us are paying for our wallets te some way.”

MultiBit is “donationware”, and has collected just overheen 49 bitcoins te donations since launch. It has experienced 1.Five million downloads since going live.

All of this still leaves Wetseals out of pocket. The loss of the coins – which amounted to around $220 – wasgoed a gargle, he told CoinDesk:

“Losing the .4985 bitcoins would not have bot a large klapper to the majority of people, and honestly, most likely not even myself, up until recently. My fiancee went on maternity leave, and at the same time, wij had car issues.

He added: “I do work utter time, but I do not make a large sum of money, and with the fresh addition to our family back on 20th March, money is very taut.”

The leader ter blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a rigorous set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests ter cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Related movie: How Bitcoin Works ter Five Minutes. (Technical)

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