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ZIP Title Status Type Author Created (yyyy-mm-dd) Updated (yyyy-mm-dd)
1 Zilliqa Address Standard Implemented Standards Track Ian Tan iantanwx@gmail.com
Han Wen Chua hanwen@zilliqa.com
Jun Hao Tan junhao@zilliqa.com
2019-06-23 2020-01-30

Abstract

This ZIP details the bech32 address standard adopted by the Zilliqa blockchain. This ZIP has already been implemented and therefore is being proposed for documentation purposes.

Motivation

Ethereum's EIP-55 proposed a checksum to detect mistyped addresses. The checksum algorithm takes as input a raw byte address (20 bytes) and converts it to hexadecimal characters. The algorithm then checks if the i-th hexadecimal character is a letter (i.e., it's one of abcdef), if so, it prints the character in uppercase if (4*i)-th bit of the hash of the lowercase hexadecimal address is 1, otherwise it prints the character in lowercase. The end result is a mixed-case hexadecimal string that embeds a checksum without increasing the size of the address.

With similar goals, Zilliqa adopted EIP-55 but with some changes (e.g., by replacing 4 by a different number) so as to:

  • avoid confusion with an Ethereum mixed-case checksum address,
  • prevent the loss of funds arising from sending to the wrong network address as the checksum alone does not provide any information on the underlying network.

However, EIP-55 is still not widely adopted by wallets and exchanges within the Ethereum ecosystem. Checks for checksum are not present in some wallet implementations or exchanges. Hence, the original intention of using a different mixed-cased checksum variation for Zilliqa address format to prevent the loss of funds ended up becoming a not-so-viable solution.

Hence, this ZIP proposes that Zilliqa adopt a variation of the bech32 format on the wallets/SDKs level to prevent users from sending ERC20 tokens from their Ethereum wallets (i.e., MyCrypto/MyEtherWallet) to a mainnet Zilliqa address and vice versa. The proposed change will be of cosmetic in nature and will only impact wallets and SDKs. It will only be visible to end-users and no change is required at the core-protocol layer.

Note: Within the core protocol, Zilliqa uses the raw 20 bytes address (without any checksum), i.e., base16. Checksum is present only at the client-level such as wallets which send transactions to the Zilliqa network. Therefore, it is impossible to distinguish between an Ethereum address (without the checksum) and a Zilliqa address (without the checksum) at the core protocol-level. Any tokens mistakenly sent to the wrong network therefore would have led to an irreversible loss of the tokens. This is because the private key corresponding to an address on Zilliqa does not correspond to the same private key on Ethereum, due to the difference of the underlying hash function used (sha256 in Zilliqa vs keccak in Ethereum).

Specification

Please refer to bip-0173 for more details of the bech32 technical specification.

A Zilliqa bech32 checksummed address consists of the following parts:

Human-readable prefix Separator bech32 formatted address Checksum
Example 1 zil 1 02n74869xnvdwq3yh8p0k9jjgtejruft 268tg8
Example 2 zil 1 48fy8yjxn6jf5w36kqc7x73qd3ufuu24 a4u8t9
Example 3 zil 1 fdv7u7rll9epgcqv9xxh9lhwq427nsql 58qcs9
  • Note that the human-readable prefix for Zilliqa mainnet is zil, and the human-readable prefix for Zilliqa Developer testnet is also zil.
  • Note that the last six characters of the data part form a checksum and contain no information.

Rationale

Bech32 address format

Other address format such as base32 were explored. However, bech32 address format turns out to be a better fit since:

  • its human-readable prefix explicitly conveys that the address is a Zilliqa address,
  • it prevents confusion with Ethereum's checksummed address format.

Backward Compatibility

This ZIP is backward compatible as the required changes are only at the wallet and the SDKs levels. There is no change required at the core protocol layer.

Test Cases

This ZIP uses the public key 039fbf7df13d0b6798fa16a79daabb97d4424062d2f8bd4e9a7c7851e732a25e1d as a test case and example:

  • Mainnet legacy base16 checksummed address (a la EIP-55):0x7Aa7eA9f4534d8D70224b9c2FB165242F321F12b
  • Mainnet bech32 checksummed address: zil102n74869xnvdwq3yh8p0k9jjgtejruft268tg8
  • Testnet bech32 checksummed address: zil102n74869xnvdwq3yh8p0k9jjgtejruft268tg8

Implementations

Reference encoder and decoder

SDKs

Online utility tool

Sample sanity implementation

In order to support both bech32 (default) and legacy base16 checksummed (a la EIP-55) (deprecated) address formats, it is recommended to refer to the code snippet below to perform a sanity check with the utility tools provided by the zilliqa-js SDK:

  private normaliseAddress(address: string) {
    if (validation.isBech32(address)) {
      return fromBech32Address(address);
    }

    if (isValidChecksumAddress(address)) {
      return address;
    }

    throw new Error('Wrong address format, should be either bech32 or checksummed address');
  }

Explorer

Viewblock explorer supports both the new bech32 and legacy base16 checksummed address formats (a la EIP-55) in the search bar to ease the transition to bech32 checksummed addresses for all users.

References

Copyright Waiver

Copyright and related rights waived via CC0.