When you first lay eyes on the DarkWallet, you know you’re looking at something unique. For starters, it’s literally dark—the background is jet black. But the color theme is just the beginning of what sets this new privacy tool apart from all other wallets.For starters, the DarkWallet offers something that no other crypto wallet has before: a stealth Bitcoin address. Because Bitcoin’s ledger of ownership, the blockchain, is available for all to see, the current balance and the full transaction history of any address is totally public. If your Bitcoin address is publicly known, you have little privacy. That’s where a DarkWallet stealth address comes in.A stealth address is 102 characters long (whereas a traditional Bitcoin address is between 26 and 34 characters long). Unlike the Ledger Wallet, the DarkWallet software comes pre-installed with “spending”, “business” and “savings” pockets. Each pocket has its own stealth address, and you can create as many new pockets as you want.Funds sent to a stealth address are automatically re-routed by the DarkWallet software. A new traditional address is generated to receive each stealth payment. In other words, the sender of a payment could check the blockchain to see which address his payment went to, but he couldn’t determine which other addresses belong to the stealth user. Aside from this specific payment, the sender has no access to the stealth user’s total number of bitcoins or her transaction history.Why would anyone want a stealth address? There are likely as many reasons as there are Bitcoin users, but here are just a few examples:
1) You’re an online merchant, and your website doesn’t provide a new sending address for each customer order. All your revenue goes to the same address. Anyone can see your company’s account balance, transaction history and frequency of transactions.This creates a competitive disadvantage, especially for startups and small businesses. A low account balance may make a business appear less attractive to potential customers. The inability to keep financial records private essentially creates a barrier to entry. A stealth address for receiving customer payments solves this problem.2) You run a newsletter or site that publishes controversial opinions or content. You rely mostly on donations, and readers of your content are more likely to donate if they know that their donation cannot be traced back to them. Your publication’s freedom of speech is protected because donors can send to its stealth address.3) You’re an average Joe or Jane, and you’d like to publish your Bitcoin address’s QR code on your business cards, in your outgoing email signature, on your blog and just about anywhere else you can think of. You feel awkward and even embarrassed, however, handing out a business card that’s essentially a free pass to view your current balance and transaction history. Publishing the QR code of your stealth address instead solves this problem and restores your privacy.
In addition to its totally unique offering of stealth addresses, the DarkWallet also provides the service of coin mixing (which is also found in a few other privacy-conscious wallets). Coin mixing swaps the inputs of multiple transactions, so that it’s hard to tell which sender sent to which recipient. Most wallets with this feature, however, require that a user take multiple steps to initiate the process. The DarkWallet, on the other hand, empowers the user to mix his coins with just the click of a button.Lastly on the DarkWallet’s list of offerings is support for multisignature Bitcoin addresses. A “multisig”, as it’s called, is an address that requires the signatures of multiple private keys before funds can be moved. This is useful for securing money that’s shared by multiple individuals, or as a tool of escrow to protect buyers and sellers. The DarkWallet allows the creation of new multisig addresses or the importation of existing addresses.The DarkWallet is currently in alpha testing phase. The wallet’s designers recommend that you use testnet coins to try it out, or that if you choose to use real money, do so knowing that it’s still unstable software.Use of stealth addresses is only possible between DarkWallet users at this time, but if the feature becomes popular, it’s possible and even likely that other wallets will support them in the future. The DarkWallet is completely open-source, so anyone is free to use, improve upon and distribute the code themselves.So go ahead—try it out by downloading the software. If you like what you see, consider sending a token of support to the DarkWallet’s developers at their multisignature address
Amanda was intimidated by computers for a long time. Then she discovered Bitcoin. While the intimidation hasn't worn off, the promise of private money and free trade keeps her feverishly engaged.