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Re: The (not so) great base-encoding debate of 2020 (was: Re: Question on use of base64 vs base64url in modern specifications)

From: Christopher Allen <ChristopherA@lifewithalacrity.com>
Date: Mon, 27 Apr 2020 21:49:25 -0700
Message-ID: <CACrqygD-c9ejrHx3Zy=+yz2+Ypr_14i49PeQkDKPd-EvcwQ2cA@mail.gmail.com>
To: Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
Cc: Credentials Community Group <public-credentials@w3.org>
On Mon, Apr 27, 2020 at 9:27 PM Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
wrote:

> As for the benefits of bech32, I honestly don't see it... yes, there is
> error correction, but once you get to 32 bytes, you've added close to
> 40% overhead... doesn't seem worth it to me unless you know a human
> being is going to be reading the value and something bad is going to
> happen if they get it wrong (payment going to wrong address, for example).
>

Bech32/64/128 is NOT suitable as a general encoding format. It is, however,
very useful for confirming a public key or signature over the phone,
offering a public key to someone else to add into a multisignature,
recovery of a Shamir secret sharing shard from a friend using the human
ability to identify voices, or for use in other low bandwidth places
scenarios (radio, satellite, etc.).

I really believe that it is not the right solution for more than 128 bytes,
especially in situations where error correction is not needed, and error
correction can be done more efficiently in other ways.

 See issue https://github.com/BlockchainCommons/AirgappedSigning/issues/5 for
more details.

— Christopher Allen
Received on Tuesday, 28 April 2020 04:50:14 UTC

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