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Monero’s [XMR] bulletproof upgrade rectifies loopholes in RingCT protocol, says Dr. Sarang Noether

In a recent discussion about Monero’s [XMR] upgrade from range proofs to bulletproofs, Dr. Sarang Noether, a full-time researcher in the Monero Research Lab and the organizer of the bulletproof implementation audits, discussed the bulletproof upgrade in depth.

Sarang initially talked about the history of bulletproof and how in 2017, they came up with the idea of Ring Confidential Transactions also known as RingCT which was a privacy feature that was implemented into the Monero protocol before the bulletproof upgrade. Earlier, when Monero had a ring signature, where the input to a users transaction was obscure, “stealth or one-time addresses” were used to hide the destination transactions of the user.

Noether said:

“But previously, the amount of the transaction was not hidden. So the way it works is it kind of worked the way that dollar bills work, if you have a $1 bill, $10 bill or a $100 bill.”

Sarang gave the example of the earlier Monero transactions, where he stated that when an individual decided to send 13 XMR, it was unlikely to find another user making the same transaction at the same time.

Thus, these Moneros could not be “dragged” into the ring signature as a decoy in order to hide or fake the transaction made by the person who initially sent 13 Monero. Sarang stated:

“We would basically break up the amount that was being sent into denominations. You might have a ten Monero note and a few one Monero notes. You would grab a bunch of other ones and ten Monero notes, throw them into your ring signature and do it that way. So we had what are so-called denominations.”

He further stated that this model worked well, but had certain limitations, including instances when the process would become “bulky” and not flexible. The limitations could lead to a situation where there were many one Monero notes, whereas limited ten or one hundred Monero notes.

In addition, it was also risky to have the amounts “flowing around” as it could result in a third-party figuring out what an individual’s salary is, if they are able to identify the individual himself. Sarang commented:

“We would like to have transactions look as non-descript, boring, and informationless as possible, and that was one thing we did not have in the Ring Confidential Transactions.”

According to a report, the recent Monero hardfork which took place on October 18 has resulted in the average transaction fees of the privacy coin, Monero [XMR], dropping to 2 cents [$0.02].

Bulletproof was adopted earlier in 2018 and was introduced to enable confidential transactions of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin [BTC] and other altcoins. The confidentiality in the transaction can be achieved by shrinking the size of the cryptographic proofs.

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