Very recently and without much notice or discussion with developers, one of the largest Bitcoin payment processor for merchants, Bitpay, decided to drop support entirely for the bitcoin standard scheme for displaying a payment request to an end-user known as BIP21.
In replacement of BIP21 - which is universally supported and implemented by all Bitcoin wallet and service providers since 2012 - Bitpay will present a payment request to users that conforms to a controversial proposal that is not widely supported (BIP 70).
What is BIP21?
BIP21 is an open standard deployed and enabled by all bitcoin wallets and services since 2012. Following the rules laid out in BIP21 ensures that no matter the wallet software or service used, the QR code and payment request must be created and interpreted in one standard way. This ensures maximum compatibility and interoperability between software and services all operating in a decentralized open source network. Needless to say, Bitpay's decision to drop all support for this fundamental open standard, will harm the overall user experience not improve it, as they claim to be striving for.
What is Bitpay’s Payment Protocol?
Bitpay has replaced BIP21 entirely with different, more controversial proposals, BIP’s 70,71,72. BIP70 was originally proposed by Gavin Andresen and Mike Hearn in 2013 - who championed creating bitcoin blacklists - generated a lot of controversy and remains largely unadopted by the majority of wallet and service providers due to many security and privacy concerns.
BIP70 introduces the requirement on developers to support legacy public-key infrastructure dependencies with known track records of vulnerabilities (openssl and heartbleed, etc…). Additionally, widespread implementation of BIP70 introduces an exposure to increased risk of AML/KYC surveillance and monitoring of on-chain transactions and more effective blacklists.
We have to be very clear here. Samourai Wallet will not support BIP70 in our products, therefore, our wallet users will NOT be able to send bitcoin to QR codes generated by Bitpay invoices, as they do not provide a valid Bitcoin address. If you want to make payments to a QR code provided by Bitpay you will need to use a wallet that has enabled BIP70.
We absolutely do not support Bitpay in agressively using their dominant position of market share to bully wallet providers into supporting their business plans or bully users into a system that degrades their privacy and the fungibility of bitcoin as a whole. Bitpay should focus on repairing their image and brand after the cataclysmic failure of the Segwit2x Fork they helped architect, instead of reinforcing their image as an out of touch bully looking to hijack the network for their own gain.
Users should stand up to this kind of arrogance and stand up for their privacy. Samourai has already started the process of contacting all vendors we rely on who utilize BitPay as a payment processor and informing them of our intention to switch vendors, as using Bitpay is no longer tolerable or feasible. We hope others join us.