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Analyzing BIP119 And The Controversy Surrounding It

Analyzing BIP119 And The Controversy Surrounding It

That is an opinion piece about BIP119 (OP_CTV). If you want to submit a counter argument, please e-mailBitcoin Journal.

BIP119, or Test Template Confirm (CTV), has been the middle of an absurd and ridiculous controversy within the final week or so. There are two facets of what’s presently driving this controversy, the CTV performance itself and the floated concept of activating it within the quick time period using the controversial Speedy Trial mechanism that was profitable in activating Taproot. These two points have been conflated to the purpose that making an attempt to disentangle them and focus on both one individually has turn into, to place it frivolously, an extremely difficult endeavor.

As one of many folks concerned in supporting a user-activated tender fork (UASF) consumer for Taproot activation that was suitable with the Speedy Trial (ST) deployment, I can say wholeheartedly that I’m very a lot towards future use of ST as an activation mechanism. I see it as a horrendous mistake and one thing that socially places the notion of a veto mechanism and over-weighted affect within the consensus course of within the arms of miners. I consider that activation of consensus modifications ought to relaxation solely within the arms of customers, not builders and never miners. That mentioned, the difficulty of the right way to activate modifications is simply tangentially associated to the CTV proposal, and far of the controversy facilities particularly across the BIP itself and the overall idea of covenants.

There may be quite a lot of confusion round what CTV can and can’t accomplish. A lot of the criticism towards the proposal itself that isn’t rooted in points with the proposed activation or activation mechanism is predicated across the concept of degradations to fungibility, i.e., the potential for somebody to ship you cash and prohibit the place you’ll be able to spend them. This isn’t doable for 2 causes. Firstly, CTV restricts cash by EXACTLY defining the place they need to go, and the precise quantities. To do one thing like “create whitelists” to restrict the place your cash are spendable, you would need to precompute each doable deal with somebody could be allowed to spend cash, however then additionally for every of these addresses, compute each doable quantity that might be conceivably spent to them right down to the granularity of a satoshi. Secondly, the receiver is the one that gives an deal with to the sender, and the one who decides what precise Bitcoin script one should fulfill to be able to spend the obtained cash. If a sender alters that script in any approach, it alters the “deal with,” and the receiver’s pockets is not going to even acknowledge any funds as being obtained. It is no totally different giving somebody an deal with, and having them ship cash to another person’s pockets. 

Presigned Transactions And Multisig

Presigned transactions are a vital element of constructing issues on prime of Bitcoin. Lightning is constructed on presigned transactions, statechains are constructed on presigned transactions and discreet log contracts are constructed on presigned transactions. Mixed with multisig scripts, it’s doable to ensure that an present UTXO encumbered by the multisig can solely be spent in sure predefined methods. That is your entire fundamental core of those second layers.

All of the events concerned generate a multisig deal with, then select which UTXOs to fund it with. Earlier than signing the funding transaction, they craft the transaction(s) that spend(s) the multisig UTXO within the predefined approach(s), then they signal and ensure the funding transaction. Now, with out all events agreeing to vary the place to and below what situations the funds are spent, nothing might be modified. The vacation spot and situations below which the funds will transfer to the vacation spot are locked in. The key limitation of this primitive is that to be able to assure these funds keep restricted in how they are often spent, everybody who has contributed cash or relies on these spending limitations have to be a participant within the multisig contract. If they don’t seem to be, then they have to belief the events truly concerned within the multisig contract, or at the very least some threshold of them (for instance, within the case of a 3-of-5 multisig, they have to belief at the very least three contributors to be sincere). With out taking part, they have to belief contributors to solely signal actually and/or to delete personal keys with out retaining copies.

What are the constraints of presigned transactions? It’s a must to outline each element of the transaction: what it does, the place it spends funds to, any transaction stage timelocks, and many others. You’ll be able to by no means undo signing a transaction, you possibly can’t change what you’ve got already signed. That is why Lightning wants penalty keys, and folks need ANYPREVOUT and eltoo, as a result of you possibly can’t undo or “take again” the earlier signed transaction. All you are able to do is signal a brand new one and provides it the flexibility to replace or negate the earlier one if somebody tries to make use of it. Typically chances are you’ll wish to do that, typically chances are you’ll wish to ensure it is not doable, however that earlier signed transaction is locked in, and all the time doable to make use of so long as somebody retains it. You’ll be able to by no means take it again.


The core performance of CHECKTEMPLATEVERIFY (CTV) is to offer stronger ensures within the state of affairs the place you wish to guarantee it’s not doable to interchange the initially signed transaction. As an alternative of getting to belief multisig contributors to behave actually or key mills to delete personal keys, CTV ensures that spending a coin within the predefined approach is actually enforced by consensus guidelines. That is achieved by together with the hash of the predefined transaction you wish to spend that UTXO, and together with it within the locking script for that UTXO when it’s created. Once you go to spend that coin, the script interpreter ensures that the spending transaction’s hash matches what was within the enter’s script, and if the hash doesn’t match it fails the transaction as invalid by consensus.

This supplies the identical performance as multisig and presigned transactions within the use instances the place you wish to assure the preliminary transaction set can’t be changed, besides it utterly removes the requirement to belief contributors within the multisig quorum to behave actually or somebody to delete personal keys after signing transactions. It doesn’t open any new doorways, it doesn’t allow something that can’t already be achieved with presigned transactions and multisig; it merely removes the necessity to take part instantly within the multisig script to be able to not need to depend on trusting third events to implement the proper execution of the contract.

CTV does no extra to allow compelled implementation of “whitelisting restrictions” in order that cash can solely be spent to authorised addresses than presigned transactions do. The variety of totally different mixtures of quantities, vacation spot addresses and particular variables that may differ in spending transactions that need to be precomputed and signed forward of time to do one thing like that is absurdly burdensome and impractical to do for each withdrawing person forward of time. That can also be utterly ignoring the truth that every change output of every precomputed transaction must to be equally encumbered with an nearly infinite variety of these mixtures, and the change outputs from the following set of transactions, and so forth, and so forth, into what’s successfully infinity. The one optimization CTV presents just isn’t having to spend the CPU cycles signing issues, which does nothing to vary the truth that this in apply is simply utterly intractable. Why cope with all this complexity and precomputation as a substitute of simply refusing to let customers withdraw besides to a 2-of-2 multisig the place the alternate holds a key to allow them to refuse to authorize “unhealthy transactions?” Or simply not let customers withdraw in any respect? 

The Alternative

Finally the selection of what to activate or implement comes right down to what every particular person person chooses to do with their node and the cumulative results of that throughout your entire community that every of these particular person selections provides as much as. That’s how Bitcoin works, and nothing will change that — wanting a whole breakdown of impartial thought and decision-making amongst customers. That mentioned, it could be an actual disgrace, in my view, for a proposed improve to be torpedoed and shot down based mostly on a whole misunderstanding of what it will possibly and can’t do, versus reasoned and rational criticisms of potential downsides, inefficiencies or dangers it presents to the community. In my view, that might not be a show of customers’ self sovereignty or impartial verification of info asserted by public figures, however a show of outright stupidity and ignorance.

I hope going ahead that this dialog might be correctly separated into the 2 points being presently conflated — the proposal itself and the activation mechanisms that might be used to implement it — as a substitute of the present state of affairs the place these two issues are being wildly conflated and never acknowledged for the separate points they’re. On the finish of the day it’s a completely rational and affordable factor to not assist a change based mostly on the dangers of sentimental fork activation itself or due to reliable shortcomings or dangers a person proposal presents to the community. Nevertheless, I don’t assume it’s affordable to voice a scarcity of assist rooted in utterly nonfactual assertions a few proposal and what it will possibly truly do, whereas within the course of, spreading misinformation concerning the proposal itself to people who find themselves presently trying to find out about and perceive the proposal to make their very own choice. That’s one thing I might name an assault on the consensus course of.

Bitcoiners mustn’t really feel the necessity to unfold lies and misinformation to be able to persuade folks to take the identical positions or act in the identical approach as themselves.

It is a visitor publish by Shinobi. Opinions expressed are fully their very own and don’t essentially replicate these of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Journal.

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