Vitalik Buterin proposes stealth addresses for anonymous NFT ownership

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has suggested there may be a “low-tech approach” to incorporating privacy features into nonfungible token, or NFT, transactions.

In a Monday post on the Ethereum research channel, Buterin implied Merkle trees and Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Arguments of Knowledge, or zk-SNARKs, were a more complicated method for stealth addresses for ERC-721 tokens while proposing his own solution. The Ethereum co-founder suggested instead that smart contract wallets could include a method that would allow the sender to essentially mask their address to third parties.

“You would be able to eg. send an NFT to vitalik.eth without anyone except me (the new owner) being able to see who the new owner is,” said Buterin.

Buterin posited that using this method, senders would need to include “enough ETH to pay fees 5–50 times” through the transfer chain. However, he added that “maybe there is a better generic solution that involves specialized searchers or block builders somehow.”

Related: Vitalik: Centralized USDC could decide the future of contentious ETH hard forks

Finding the balance between semi-anonymity and transparency on the blockchain has been a challenge for many as the crypto space continues to grow. In January, Cointelegraph reported there were cases of users swiping IP addresses off of NFT marketplace OpenSea as well as MetaMask.

Buterin will be speaking at Korea Blockchain Week from Sunday Aug. 7 through Sunday, Aug. 14.

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