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I have been reading a bit about Bitcoin recently and am fascinated with the project and think it has great potential.

However, one thing I think it needs in order to gain mass popularity is to make it so if you give someone your address they can't just go and see all of your previous transactions.

I know in Bitcoin one is supposed to create a new key for every transaction, but not many people will be willing to do that. I don't think most people care about having complete anonymity for every transaction they make - but in the case of Bitcoin if you don't care about that then the person can see your entire transaction log.

Would there be a way to have both? I am no expert in Crypto (obviously) but could you perhaps have one address (say your email address) and every time you use it the system generates a new hash-address automatically and sends that. So then if someone just knew your email address that you give people to pay you they could not see the transactions you made because your hash-adress that is in the blockchain is not directly linked to it.

This likely will not work but I am wondering if anyone else has thought about this? I think it is what is needed.

Any comments would be awesome!

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You are quite right that there are some drawbacks to reusing a bitcoin address, while at the same time it can be inconvenient to generate a new address each time.

I think you'll find its not possible to make an untraceable payment system where the money supply is limited. If money creation is controlled (as with bitcoin), nodes need a way to trace the money back to a valid origin.

As for the limitations of bitcoin, read on.

You might be interested in BIP 21 (Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 21), which is an official URI extension which bitcoin clients or wallets can use to make payments easier. Basically a seller can present a bitcoin URI (i.e. a link) to the buyer, and if the buyer's bitcoin client is compatible, the bitcoin client shows a payment screen saying e.g., "Would you like to send Bob 20 bitcoins?". What you should note is the seller can put any bitcoin address in the URI, meaning if most bitcoin clients + sellers supported this scheme, many transactions could easily use one-off bitcoin addresses, which helps achieve the privacy you're after.

Note there is still the problem that in can be tricky to send bitcoins to e.g. a friend, and that like you said, being able to 'discover' someones bitcoin address by using e.g. their email address would be handy. I have a side project Bitcoin Payment Service which attempts to solve that problem. Basically its an open-source web app that allows anyone to initiate a bitcoin payment to the web site's owner. You can check out a demo of BPS.

  • And I meant to say with BPS, the point is that you could run a BPS on e.g. bps.jordan.com, and that way people only have to remember your domain name when they want to pay you. – BitPiggy Oct 18 '12 at 6:28
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The bitcoin client only know Bitcoin addresses. There are no aliases, or anything like that.

An EWallet or third-party service allows you to receive coins using an alternate ID. For instance, sending from one Coinbase account to another doesn't require that the sender send to a Bitcoin address. The same goes for sending via Coinapult.

Here are some of the EWallet services:

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