This week’s newsletter describes fraud proofs for outdated backup state and includes our regular sections summarizing recent changes to services and client software, announcing new releases and release candidates, and describing notable changes to popular Bitcoin infrastructure software.


  • Fraud proofs for outdated backup state: Thomas Voegtlin posted to the Lightning-Dev mailing list an idea for a service that could be penalized if it provided a user with any version of the user’s backup state besides the most recent version. The basic mechanism is simple:

    • Alice has some data she wants to back up. She includes a version number in the data, creates a signature for the data, and gives Bob both the data and her signature.

    • Immediately after receiving Alice’s data, Bob sends her a signature that commits to both the version number of her data and the current time.

    • Later, Alice updates the data, increments the version number, and provides Bob with the updated data and her signature for it. Bob returns a signature for a commitment to the new (higher) version number with the new (higher) current time. They repeat this step many times.

    • Eventually, Alice requests her data in order to test Bob. Bob sends her a version of the data and her signature for the data, allowing her to prove it actually is her data. He also sends her another signature that commits to the version number in the data and the current time.

    • If Bob was dishonest and sent Alice old data with an old version number, Alice can generate a fraud proof: she can show that Bob previously signed a higher version number with an earlier time than the signature commitment he just provided her.

    As described so far, there’s nothing Bitcoin-specific to this mechanism for generating latest-state fraud proofs. However, Voegtlin noted that, if the OP_CHECKSIGFROMSTACK (CSFS) and OP_CAT opcodes were added to Bitcoin in a soft fork, it would be possible to use the fraud proof onchain.

    For example, Alice and Bob share an LN channel which includes an additional taproot condition that allows Alice to spend all of the channel funds if she can provide this type of fraud proof. The normal operation of the channel would include just one extra step: after each update to the channel, Alice gives Bob a signature over the current state (which includes a state number). Then, each time Alice organically reconnects to Bob, she requests the latest backup and uses the mechanism above to verify its integrity. If Bob ever provides an outdated backup, Alice uses the fraud proof and the CSFS spend condition to spend the entire channel balance.

    This mechanism makes it safer for Alice to use a state provided by Bob as the latest channel state in cases where Alice actually has lost data. In the current LN channel design (LN-Penalty), if Bob tricks Alice into using an old state, Bob will be able to steal her entire balance in that channel. Even with proposed upgrades like LN-Symmetry, Alice using an old state might allow Bob to steal funds from her. Making it possible to financially penalize Bob for misrepresenting the latest state likely decreases the chance he’ll lie to Alice.

    The proposal received a significant amount of discussion:

    • Peter Todd noted that the base mechanism is generic. It’s not specific to LN and may be useful in a variety of protocols. He also notes that a simpler mechanism is for Alice to just download the latest state from Bob each time she organically reconnects to him with no fraud proofs involved. If he provides her with an old state, she closes the channel with him, denying him any further forwarding fees he would earn from her future payments. This sounds very similar to the version of peer storage described in BOLTs #881, the version experimentally implemented in Core Lightning earlier this year (see Newsletter #238), and (according to a message from Bastien Teinturier) a version of the scheme implemented in the Phoenix wallet for LN.

    • A reply by ghost43 explained that fraud proofs leading to financial penalties is a powerful tool for a client storing data with anonymous peers. A large popular service might care about its reputation enough to avoid lying to its clients, but anonymous peers don’t have any reputation to lose. Also suggested by ghost43 was a modification of the protocol to make it symmetric, so in addition to Alice storing her state with Bob (and Bob being penalized for lying), Bob could store his state with Alice and she could be penalized for lying.

      Voegtlin extended this idea to warn that the providers of wallet software have a significant need for a good reputation and that they lose reputation when their users lose funds—even if the software functioned as best as possible. As the developer of wallet software, it is thus very important to him to minimize the risk of an anonymous peer being able to steal from an Electrum user who uses a mechanism like peer backups.

    There was no clear resolution to the discussion.

Changes to services and client software

In this monthly feature, we highlight interesting updates to Bitcoin wallets and services.

  • Scaling Lightning call for feedback: Scaling Lightning is a testing toolkit for the Lightning Network on regtest and signet. The project aims to provide tools to test different LN implementations in a variety of configurations and scenarios. The project provided a recent video update for the community. LN developers, researchers, and infrastructure operators are encouraged to provide feedback.

  • Torq v1.0 released: Torq, an LN node management software targeting enterprise users, announced a v1.0 release including Lightning Service Provider (LSP) features, automation workflows, and advanced features for large node operators.

  • Blixt Wallet v0.6.8 released: The v0.6.8 release includes support for hold invoices and zero-conf channels among other improvements.

  • Sparrow 1.7.8 released: Sparrow 1.7.8 added support for BIP322 message signing, including P2TR addresses, and made various improvements to RBF and CPFP fee bumping features.

  • Open source ASIC miner bitaxeUltra prototype: The bitaxeUltra is an open source miner using an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) based on existing commercial mining hardware.

  • FROST software Frostsnap announced: The team announced their vision of building on the FROST threshold signature scheme using an experimental FROST implementation, secp256kfun.

  • Libfloresta library announced: Building on previous work on the utreexo-powered Floresta node, Libfloresta is a Rust library for adding utreexo-based Bitcoin node functionality to applications.

  • Wasabi Wallet 2.0.4 released: Wasabi 2.0.4 adds features for fee bumping with RBF or CPFP, coinjoin improvements, faster wallet loading, RPC enhancements, and other improvements and bug fixes.

Releases and release candidates

New releases and release candidates for popular Bitcoin infrastructure projects. Please consider upgrading to new releases or helping to test release candidates.

  • Core Lightning 23.08rc3 is a release candidate for the next major version of this popular LN node implementation.

  • HWI 2.3.1 is a minor release of this toolkit for working with hardware signing devices.

Notable code and documentation changes

Notable changes this week in Bitcoin Core, Core Lightning, Eclair, LDK, LND, libsecp256k1, Hardware Wallet Interface (HWI), Rust Bitcoin, BTCPay Server, BDK, Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs), Lightning BOLTs, and Bitcoin Inquisition.

  • Bitcoin Core #27981 fixes a bug that could have potentially caused two nodes to be unable to receive data from each other. If Alice’s node had a lot of data queued to send to Bob’s node, she would try to send that data before accepting new data from Bob. If Bob also had a lot of data queued to send to Alice’s node, he also wouldn’t accept new data from Alice. This could lead to neither of them attempting to receive data from the other indefinitely. The issue was originally discovered in the Elements Project.

  • BOLTs #919 updates the LN specification to suggest that nodes stop accepting additional trimmed HTLCs beyond a certain value. A trimmed HTLC is a forwardable payment that is not added as an output to the channel commitment transaction. Instead, an amount equal to the value of the trimmed HTLC is allocated to transaction fees. This makes it possible to use LN to forward payments that would be uneconomical onchain. However, if the channel needs to be closed while trimmed HTLCs are pending, a node has no way of reclaiming those funds, so it makes sense to limit the node’s exposure to that type of loss. See also our descriptions of various implementations adding this limit: LDK in Newsletter #162, Eclair in Newsletter #171, and Core Lightning in Newsletter #173, plus Newsletter #170 for a related security concern.

  • Rust Bitcoin #1990 optionally allows bitcoin_hashes to be compiled with slower implementations of SHA256, SHA512, and RIPEMD160 that are also about half the size, likely making them better for applications on embedded devices that don’t need to perform frequent hashing.

  • Rust Bitcoin #1962 adds the ability to use hardware-optimized SHA256 operations on compatible x86 architectures.

  • BIPs #1485 makes several updates to the BIP300 specification of drivechains. The main change appears to be a redefinition of OP_NOP5 in certain contexts to OP_DRIVECHAIN.