1

After becoming a victim of exchange fraud and witnessing how it negatively impacted the lives of hundreds of others, I'm currently undergoing a study of all the past cryptocurrency exchange hack/fraud events that I can find, in an effort to establish a set of regulations/policies that would prevent this happening to anyone else, hopefully with minimal impact to the robust industry.

Given that almost all past hack and fraud events I could find so far involve the exploitation of a single point of failure, or one person making off with the funds, one of the most powerful (and practically free) tools available to protect investors and traders in bitcoin is the multi-signature wallet, which is supported natively in the protocol. This provides a fool-proof and secure way to ensure that multiple relevant parties have signed off on each transaction. In the entire history of all fraud I've read so far, it's always been one single person mismanaging or making off with the funds, and it's ridiculous to place such trust in one person no matter who they are.

There are some smart contract multi-sig solutions for Ethereum, however smart contracts are also notoriously hackable, being responsible for many billions of dollars worth of losses, such as the famous DAO event that resulted in the Ethereum Classic/Ethereum split. Many of these "secure" multi-sig smart contracts made by very smart people have already been hacked. In addition to the theft of funds, significant amounts of money have been locked up in broken smart contracts, unable to be accessed.

I'm certain that eventually a working smart contract for multi-sig will be developed, however in the process it also seems like many more millions of dollars of people's hard-earned money will be lost, and due to the complexity and challenges inherent in building this, many organizations will simply have to trust a third party to provide them with this solution. This places it further from the reach of individuals who want to protect their own funds, and exposes everyone to additional risk of a fraudulent/negligent actor providing them with a faulty solution. The final end result will be an expensive and inefficient way to do what is the most common use case for any organization and many individuals - simply storing value securely such that there isn't one point of failure.

Given that these are real sums of money that often mean a lot to the people storing them and have a real impact on their lives, and those funds in the hands of bad actors directly negatively impacts even more lives, this seems to me like a very important issue. However, I'm not seeing a lot of outrage over this. In fact, there doesn't seem to be a lot of discussion at all in this direction. So I'm curious to understand the other side of this argument. Other than the implementation effort, why does it not make sense to make it as simple and secure as possible for individuals and organizations to store their Ethereum and ERC20 funds by having support for a native multi-signature wallet?

Not looking to have a debate - just hoping that someone can just summarize any arguments that may exist for the other side so I can better understand.

Is there a plan / EIP for native multi-signature transactions? - Found this but it only suggests support through more smart contracts. It seems to suggest that there isn't a plan, but I am specifically interested in why not. For example - Are there significant specific technical challenges in the implementation that would provide barriers? Are there functional or security disadvantages when a protocol supports multi-signature that I may not have considered? Are there cultural differences between the ethereum and bitcoin community or in general that make this less desirable or less likely to gain traction?

  • I'm pretty sure that Ethereum Native and Non Smart Contract are pretty much antonym to each other. – goodvibration Feb 28 at 18:18
  • What would be the opposite of something that requires a smart contract to implement? – azoundria Feb 28 at 18:32
  • I already linked to that in my question. It seems to suggest that there isn't a plan, but I was more interested in why not. Are there specific technical challenges in the implementation? Are there functional or security disadvantages when a protocol supports multi-signature that I may not have considered? Are there cultural differences between the ethereum and bitcoin community that make this less desirable? I'll put more detail in the question. – azoundria Feb 28 at 20:13
  • @azoundria I think there isn't enough interest in the community to have a standard for multisig accounts. – Ismael Mar 1 at 7:04