Last night BIP 137 was merged into the Bitcoin BIPs repository. You can see it here. This BIP documents a standard signature format used in the field today. It was actually first implemented (from what we can tell) by Trezor. Unfortunately, there are no standards used for signatures in Bitcoin and most vendors are doing it differently and support varies widely. We discovered this as we worked on the MWC project and attempted to verify signatures from various devices during our testing. So, in order to help the industry standardize on a particular signature format, we wrote up this BIP and hope that it will help, not only for our airdrop, but for future airdrops as well. As mentioned in the BIP, there are many other applications for Bitcoin signatures as well including proof of funds for collateral, entrance to events, audits, among others. Behind digital money and timestamps (i.e. notarization), digital signatures with private keys may be the third most important use case of Bitcoin and one that’s highly misunderstood at the moment.
As we wrote earlier, we see the airdrop as a future industry that is important to both Bitcoin and cryptocurrency and we want to help build out that industry and this BIP will help set standards for how wallets and airdrops interact. The potential here is to not only build out a nascent industry, but to create great value to all Bitcoin holders and without standards that is not possible. This is the beginning of an emerging standard for how these airdrops will work.
Longer term, even better standards may emerge. I see the potential for hardware wallet manufacturers to implement auto-registration for airdrops so that the process is fairly automatic for end users. As coins, and yes even companies, see the value in generating the good will of the Bitcoin community in raising capital, I see this becoming more and more important. For now we hope that all wallets (hardware and software) implement support for BIP137 so that their users can participate more easily.