Idea: 292 Title: Decouple whisper key from wallet key Status: Draft Created: 2018-08-01


For security and privacy reasons, we want to decouple the whisper key from the wallet key, so that users don’t expose their Ethereum address while chatting in one-to-one and public chats.

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Product Overview

In the current implementation, the same key pair is used for the whisper identity and the wallet. The Status contact code is an uncompressed public key, and users share it with other people to be contacted. In public chats, anyone can see the public key of a user by clicking on the avatar near the message.


Since the whisper key pair is the same that we use for the wallet, it means that from the Status contact code, anyone can derive the wallet address and easily check a user’s balance and transaction history. Any user with a fair amount of value in their wallet can be target of phishing attacks, especially in public chats where any malicious user can track the wallets of all the active users.

Technical solution

Status already implements a Hierarchical Deterministic wallet (HD Wallet) that allows us to derive multiple determinist keys from the same 12 mnemonic words. For the wallet keys, we can continue to use the current derivation path, which is the one described by BIP44: m/44'/60'/0'/0/0. We can then extend the key store structure to have an additional key used for the whisper identity and derived with a different derivation path that needs to be decided.

Changes in the chat/wallet flow

In the current implementation, users can send ETH/SNT via the chat without asking the wallet address of the recipient, since it can be easily derived from the chat contact code, which is the public key. If we add a different key for the chat/whisper identity, we need to implement a protocol such that user A need to request the address of user B before being able to start a transaction. User B can decide to approve the request and reveal or not the wallet address.


The key pair used for the wallet will remain the same, so the wallet address won’t change.

The chat contact will change so after the upgrade, users will need to exchange their contact again to be able to chat.

### Problems to solve for old clients

1 - user A is using an old client 2 - user B is using a new client 3 - user A is chatting with user B and sends a transaction from the chat 4 - the transaction from the old client will be sent to the address derived from the chat contact code of user B 5 - user B won’t see the transaction in the wallet because the wallet address is derived from a different key.

(funds are not really lost since the chat key is still a valid ethereum key)

User Stories


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Requirements & Dependencies


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Security and Privacy Implications


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Evaluator accepts responsbility to checkin at Goal dates, forces discussion to continue implementation or recommend disband and post-mortem.

Upcoming Town Halls this quarter: 2018-04-23, 2018-05-07, 2018-05-21, 2018-06-04, 2018-06-18

Minimum Viable Product


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Supporting Role Communication


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