The Monero developers and the community continue to make major strides. According to a new whitepaper issued by the Monero Research Lab, subaddresses will be coming to this ecosystem pretty soon. It is an interesting venture, to say the least, as it will allow for the extension of wallet addresses. There are some clear benefits to using subaddresses, and it doesn’t appear this functionality is present in any other cryptocurrency right now.
Monero Subaddresses are a big Deal
The way most people think of a cryptocurrency wallet address is rather straightforward. It is generated to send, store, and receive currency. Users can generate as many different wallet addresses as they like, assuming their client allows for it. Some altcoins even allow for stealth addresses, which are for one-time use only. All of those features work just fine, but there is room for future improvement as well. After all, there are plenty of innovative projects being worked on in the world of cryptocurrency.
The Monero Research Lab has drafted a new whitepaper which explores the concept of subaddresses. This type of address is an extension of a wallet address generated by the user. All subaddresses are to be derived from the same master wallet address. More importantly, to the outside world, there will be no link between the subaddresses and the master wallet address. Monero is one of the currencies focusing on privacy and anonymity, which explains why its team is taking this particular approach.
Any incoming transaction can be scanned to determine whether or not it belongs to one’s subaddresses. It is a major improvement in the privacy department, to say the very least. We have seen a similar development in the Bitcoin world, as BIP32 introduced a similar feature. It is this particular feature which leads some people to believe that Bitcoin has privacy-oriented aspects, even though that is not entirely correct. For Monero users, the introduction of subaddresses removes the need to generate new wallets with new seeds every single time. It is a big step forward that shouldn’t be overlooked.
While this whitepaper looks pretty promising, there is still some work to be done. Integrating subaddresses with Monero transactions will not be easy. In fact, the current implementation requires a change in how transactions are handled entirely. It is unclear how long this process will take, but it is good to see the details outlined in the whitepaper. The end goal is to ensure that no Monero wallets can be linked in any way, and subaddresses are a logical next step in this regard.
Moreover, the Monero team is still pondering how they can make subaddresses efficient enough to be used by the entire community. This is a bigger challenge than it seems, although the whitepaper hints that a trivial number of elliptic curve operations are needed. Scanning incoming transactions for ownership is no more difficult than scanning for ownership by a single standard wallet address. It’s a very efficient solution in theory, although more testing is needed prior to drawing any conclusions.
All of this goes to show the development of any cryptocurrency is a 24/7 job. One can’t just create an altcoin and expect it to be successful without ever introducing new features. The Monero team is working on a lot of different projects as we speak, with some of them being far more technical in nature compared to others. Subaddresses are a rather technical change, to say the very least, and they may not matter to everyone. However, it is a feature with tremendous potential for people who truly value transaction privacy.