Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2021/715

Hours of Horus: Keyless Cryptocurrency Wallets

Dionysis Zindros

Abstract: We put forth a keyless wallet, a cryptocurrency wallet in which money can be spent using a password alone, and no private keys are required. It requires a smart contract blockchain. We propose two schemes. In the first, the user sets a short wallet password and can spend their money at a prespecified maturity date using the password alone. Using this as a stepping stone, we propose a second scheme, in which the user uses an OTP authenticator seed to generate a long series of time-based OTP passwords for the foreseeable future. These are encrypted and organized in a Merkle tree whose root is stored in a smart contract. The user can spend funds at any time by simply visually providing the current OTP password from an air gapped device. These OTPs can be relatively short: Just $6$ alphanumeric characters suffice. Our OTP scheme can work in proof-of-stake as well as static and variable difficulty proof-of-work blockchains. The low-entropy in the passwords and OTPs in our scheme is protected from brute force attempts by requiring that an adversary accompany any brute force attempt by a transaction on the chain. This quickly incurs enormous economic costs for the adversary. Thus, we develop the first decentralized rate limiting scheme. We use Witness Encryption (WE) to construct a timelock encryption scheme in which passwords are encrypted from past into future blocks by leveraging the NP-language expressing proof-of-work or proof-of-stake performed as the witness. Witness Encryption is a currently impractical cryptographic primitive, but our scheme may become practical as these primitives are further developed.

Category / Keywords: applications / cryptographic protocols, blockchain, wallets,

Date: received 28 May 2021, last revised 1 Jun 2021

Contact author: dionyziz at gmail com

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Version: 20210601:122726 (All versions of this report)

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