Typed Message Signing Overview

What is Typed Message Signing?

Typed message signing is a crucial function in the blockchain ecosystem, designed to ensure security, transparency, and user trust when interacting with various blockchain applications.

Typed message signing refers to the process of creating and signing structured data that both machines and humans can understand and verify.
Unlike traditional message signing that deals with arbitrary data, typed message signing structures the data according to predefined formats, making it readable and understandable before it is signed.
This process ensures that the signer fully comprehends what they are agreeing to, thereby enhancing the security and clarity of blockchain transactions.

What are the use cases for Typed Message Signing?

  • Proof of Ownership: Users can sign messages to demonstrate ownership of a particular blockchain address or asset without making any on-chain transaction, crucial for identity verification processes.
  • Proof of Reserves: Financial institutions can use typed message signing to prove possession of sufficient funds or assets in a transparent manner, enhancing trust among users or regulators.
  • Compliance with Regulations: In scenarios like the Travel Rule and TRUST Platform in the cryptocurrency space, businesses must share certain transaction details with each other and regulatory bodies. Typed message signing ensures that this information is exchanged securely and verifiably.
  • Smart Contracts and Legal Agreements: In complex agreements or smart contracts, typed message signing can be used to confirm terms, conditions, and any other contractual obligations clearly and securely.
  • Meta-Transactions: Typed message signing enables meta-transactions, where users sign transactions that someone else submits to the network. This is particularly useful in dApps that aim to reduce the gas cost burden on users.
  • Authentication: Users can sign a typed message to prove ownership of a blockchain address without making a transaction. This method can be used for logging into decentralized applications (dApps) securely.

How Typed Message Signing Works?

  • Data Structuring: Initially, the data to be signed is structured into a predefined format. This structure includes defining types, fields, and the order in which the fields appear. This data format is often defined in a smart contract or a protocol specification.
  • User Confirmation: Before signing, the structured data is presented to the user in a human-readable form. This step is vital as it allows the user to verify the details of the data they are about to sign, ensuring transparency and informed consent.
  • Signing: The user signs the data with their private key. This signature process involves cryptographic algorithms that securely associate the signer's identity with the data they approved.
  • Verification: The signature can then be verified by anyone who has access to the signer’s public key, confirming that the specific data was signed by the owner of the private key and that it has not been tampered with since signing.