CROSSING Research Seminar: The Exact Security of BIP32 Wallets

07.04.2022 13:00-14:00

Speaker: Poulami Das, TU Darmstadt (S7) | Location: online



In many cryptocurrencies, the problem of key management has become one of the most fundamental security challenges. Typically, keys are kept in designated schemes called wallets, whose main purpose is to store these keys securely. One such system is the BIP32 wallet (Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 32), which since its introduction in 2012 has been adopted by countless Bitcoin users and is one of the most frequently used wallet system today. Surprisingly, very little is known about the concrete security properties offered by this system. In this work, we propose the first formal analysis of the BIP32 system in its entirety and without any modification. Building on the recent work of Das et al. (CCS ‘19), we put forth a formal model for hierarchical deterministic wallet systems (such as BIP32) and give a security reduction in this model from the existential unforgeability of the ECDSA signature algorithm that is used in BIP32. We conclude by giving concrete security parameter estimates achieved by the BIP32 standard, and show that by moving to an alternative key derivation method we can achieve a tighter reduction offering an additional 20 bits of security (111 vs. 91 bits of security) at no additional costs.

Speaker Bio

Poulami Das is a PhD student since 2018 in the Chair of Applied Cryptography group, headed by Prof. Sebastian Faust. Her main focus of research is formal treatment of cryptocurrency wallets and design of ecological consensus algorithms.


Talk: Zoom link

Meeting ID: 831 0197 0193, Passcode: 403786