Dark Wallet is one of the most interesting Bitcoin wallets to have ever hit the market as it brought a series of truly interesting innovations, but a lot of criticism and some legitimate concerns.
Introduction to Dark Wallet
Created by two talented developers, Cody Wilson, and Amir Taaki, Dark Wallet is a Bitcoin web wallet designed to make its use completely private. Most people tend to think that Bitcoin (and cryptocurrencies) are entirely anonymous. However, this is a very common misconception.
As every transaction is recorded of a digital public ledger known as blockchain, it’s easy to see how balances and transaction history can be traced to the Bitcoin addresses of users. Dark Wallet has been designed to counteract this specific issue. More to the point, this digital wallet enables data anonymization by obfuscating Bitcoin transactions.
Another unique aspect of this wallet is the fact that it comes equipped with three “pockets,” namely spending, business, and savings. Each individual pocket has its own stealth address from which Bitcoin transactions can be made and there’s no limit to the number of pockets users can create.
What makes Dark Wallet special?
If we were to break it down to its essence, there are two features that really define what Dark Wallet is really all about: stealth addresses and coin mixing.
Dark Wallet allows users to receive payment from a transaction using a bespoke address generated specifically for the funds to be deposited in. The transaction is encrypted, thus ensuring that neither involved parties can get ahold of their addresses.
The coin mixing feature is responsible for making transactions non-traceable. It mixes or combines a user’s transaction with that of a random user who happens to be making another transaction at the same moment. This feature is also activated when a user is transferring coins from one of his/her wallet pockets to another.
Getting started with Dark Wallet
The first thing users need to know is the fact that Dark Wallet is not what might be called a polished product. The product has yet to achieve a stable version, and its available as browser extensions for both Chrome and Firefox, as well as an Ubuntu client.
Users can download the wallet direct from the official website, or directly from the project’s GitHub repository. For this guide, we will use Google Chrome, as it’s the more popular of the two browsers. To get started, users have to download the archive from GitHub, unzip the file, and save it on their desktops. Next, users need to open Chrome, select “More Tools” from the main menu, and then click “Extensions.”
Then, users are required to enable the Developer mode (from the upper right corner) and load the unpacked extension. Users will be prompted to proceed and will be reminded that the software is in Alpha which brings with it a series of risks.
Subsequently, users need to choose a wallet name, enter a password and choose the required language. As mentioned above, all wallets have three pockets by default. Users can later add multi-sig wallets (that required approval from multiple signatures). Each pocket has its own stealth address. The sender is required to encode in the transaction a nonce used to unlock the recipient address (something that can only be read by the recipient). What’s more, senders can also choose to send coins to an escrow address.
Due to its unique nature, Dark Wallet has been criticized by some in the cryptosphere. There are some that have legitimate fears regarded the wallet’s potential of opening a major door to many illegal activities.
Nevertheless, Dark Wallet is without a doubt a very interesting and unique product as it offers various innovations that may be of value to Bitcoin holders who value anonymity. The only real-world problem with Dark Wallet is the fact that it’s still in an Alpha stage of development. The first alpha version was released in 2014, and by January 2015, it reached the eight Alpha version. Since then, there have been no major updates, which is a shame. There is no official information in regards to a potential second generation of Dark Wallet, however, the product still requires a lot of work to improve its usability.