Pieter Wullie announces his new Bitcoin project

Pieter Wullie, a Bitcoin Core developer, has addressed one of the long-lasting Bitcoin issues and offered a potential solution.

The encryption system used by Bitcoin isn’t exactly known for its user-friendly interface. Every Bitcoin is stored in a so called Bitcoin address , a combination of letters and numbers that looks something like this:


If you already had experience with Bitcoin, you might have faced certain issues that may occur when entering a Bitcoin address – any typos lead to your payment being sent to a completely different receiver than it was originally meant for. Losing your private key also leads to inability to use your account balance. It can get even worse – if you lose the entire wallet file, you will no longer have access to all of your private keys and the accounts connected to them.

New solution to an old problem

The developers have been looking for possible solutions that would allow users to avoid direct use of  Bitcoin address and minimize the risks of making a false payment by entering the wrong address. One of the ideas suggests to «hide» Bitcoin entirely and allow people to make payments without even realizing that they are using the «invisible» Bitcoin.

Meanwhile, Pieter Wullie offered a way less radical solution which, however, will help the users to double-check their entries and make sure the Bitcoin  address is correct. In cooperation with Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell he has started a brand new project Bech32.  The technology contains an in-built user protection aiming to help the users by highlighting the erroneous letter. Besides, the address format will become more readable – the letters are either all lower case or all upper case. Here’s an example of a proposed new address format:


Looking towards the future

According to Pieter Wullie, the idea was inspired by future integration of  SegWit – a wide range of technical feautures for Bitcoin. The developers realized they would need to come up with a new Bitcoin address format anyway.

“Given that we’re forced to define a new standard anyway for native SegWit addresses, why not take the opportunity to introduce something better?” – Wullie told CoinDesk

It will take some time for the users to get used to the new scheme. Both, the sender and the receiver, will need to be using Bech32 in order to make and receive payments.  Despite the technology being developed specifically for Bitcoin, there will be a use for Bech32 outisde of the cryptocurrency world. It can be used for encoding a wide range of data, not necessarily meant for interpretation by the human mind.