Mark “Murch” Erhardt and Mike Schmidt are joined by AJ Towns, Yuval Kogman, Alex Myers, and Vivek Kasarabada to discuss Newsletter #238.
The Bitcoin Optech Podcast and transcription content is licensed Creative Commons CC BY-SA 2.0
Changes to services and client software
Releases and release candidates
Notable code and documentation changes
Mike Schmidt: This is Newsletter #238 Bitcoin Optech Recap on Twitter Spaces. I’m Mike Schmidt, contributor at Optech and also Executive Director at Brink, where we fund open-source Bitcoin developers. Murch?
Mark Erhardt: Hi, I’m Murch, I work on Bitcoin stuff for Chaincode Labs and contribute to Optech.
Mike Schmidt: AJ?
Anthony Towns: Hi, I’m AJ, I work on Bitcoin stuff with DCI.
Mike Schmidt: Yuval?
Yuval Kogman: I spend a lot of time doing coinjoin stuff, I guess.
Mike Schmidt: Seardsalmon?
Vivek Kasarabada: Hi, my name’s Vivek. I do corporate development for Blockstream, so not a dev, and that’s why I need Alex!
Mike Schmidt: Well, thanks for joining us. Alex, do you want to introduce yourself?
Alex Myers: Sure, yeah, I’m at Blockstream working on Core Lightning. I’m one of the newer developers there, but just doing this current release cycle for our February Core Lightning release.
Mike Schmidt: Well, thank you all for joining us. For those following along on the Spaces, I’ve shared a few tweets that outline the newsletter topics and we’ll just be going through that in sequential order, starting with the news section. Murch, any announcements before we jump in?
Mark Erhardt: No.
Continued discussion about block chain data storage
Mike Schmidt: All right, let’s do it. Well, the first news item this week is about block chain data storage, and I think this topic has been a hot topic with the ordinals inscription project taking up a lot of block space recently, causing a lot of chat around Twitter and some discussion on the mailing list, etc.
Mark Erhardt: Oh, that’s why there’s so much block space demand.
Mike Schmidt: Yeah, I know you’ve been doing a lot of analysis on that. We should probably share some of those tweets here as well, I think it’s interesting information. But putting data on the Bitcoin block chain is potentially not the only way to achieve coloring coins, or the idea of attributing data to a particular satoshi, and AJ has an idea that he pontificated on the mailing list, which I’ll let him outline, of potentially a different way to do that. AJ, do you want to outline your thoughts on this matter and your mailing list post?
Anthony Towns: Sure. So, the thing that I thought was particularly interesting about the ordinal inscription stuff is that unlike all the other things I’ve seen, like RGB and Taro, it has a really clear separation between the concept of transfer of assets and creating the assets in the first place, and I mean there’s always been that separation everywhere this happened, this different function calls for things in inscription stuff. This is the inscription spec and this is the ordinals spec and they’re two completely separate things.
So, the idea I posted about on Twitter originally, and then followed up on the mailing list, was that you could just have a completely separate standard for the inscription side of things that doesn’t need to be onchain at all. The thing to me is that if you want bitcoin to be censorship resistant, or if you want bitcoin to be cheap and efficient for millions or billions of users around the world, you need to have as much stuff offchain as possible. So, any time you see something that goes onchain, I think the question you should be asking is, “Can we move this stuff offchain and still get pretty much the same behaviour?”
The way inscriptions work is just you have a transaction onchain, which encodes all the data, or for other things maybe includes a hash of the data, or whatever else, and that’s how you tie the data and the UTXO that you’re going to transfer out, representing ownership or whatever of the data, and that’s how you tie the two things together. But you could do it the exact opposite way round and have the data somewhere else and have cryptographic commitments as part of the data back to the UTXO that you want it to be associated with on the block chain, or the ordinal that you want it to be associated with. And so, the post is just a quick spec of how you might do that based on a nostr-json kind of encoding.
There were a few follow-ups to that with why people think the important thing is not so much that you got the ID, but that you’re putting it on the Bitcoin block chain and getting some cachet from having it be in, for example, the top 100,000 inscriptions on the Bitcoin block chain, and that’s what makes it special and worth money, rather than maybe the content of the image or something in the first place. And, I think I posted an alternative to that, which is that you can just apply the scarcity more directly by having proof of work as part of your nostr messages. So, rather than paying the $6 to get it into the block chain, you’d be spending however much CPU time that is equivalent or better to demonstrate that you’d put the effort into this inscription, into this ordinal, into this whatever you call the offchain version of it, that makes it scarce and therefore collectible or valuable, or whatever.
I just think that having an offchain approach is going to be much more scalable, and because it’s offchain, that means that you can’t do all the censorship things that people are doing or worried about, where you identify a transaction that’s an inscription and then don’t accept it in your mempool, don’t relay it. If you’re doing stuff offchain, people just don’t really have that opportunity because they don’t see the association onchain. So, if you’re trying to do all these NFTs and trying to get the censorship resistance that comes with bitcoin, then moving as much offchain as possible is much better for that too. Anyway, that’s my thoughts.
Mike Schmidt: Murch, you’ve got your hand up?
Mark Erhardt: Yeah, I wanted to touch on something that AJ said and that I’ve heard previously from someone else, and I’m hoping that I manage to restate it correctly. I think it’s important to note that the image in most cases is not really scarce; often, it’s a copy from something published somewhere else already. So, the scarce thing is really the representation onchain and the claim or the token that is onchain. So, the ordinal is the scarce thing, the block chain is just being used as a publication medium for often data that has been published elsewhere already.
So really, what is a little strange around the whole inscription craze is, for an inscription to actually be unique and/or closely associated with the ordinal that it is supposedly tied to, I think that the data or the image would need to commit to the specific ordinal that it is going to get published in. So, the data has to link to the onchain record and that has not really happened, or I have not seen that happen yet, and that would align very well with what AJ is proposing, where the data is published in maybe a different means, maybe offchain, but you have maybe a commitment in the data to what is the process onchain and create what a token or representation is, and then you actually get scarcity because even if people right-click copy that image, it commits to a specific owner onchain.
Mike Schmidt: Murch, are you saying something like the image file itself, via steganography or some other such thing, would commit to the creation of that NFT for example; is that what you’re getting at, with the image having some commitment back to the creation of it onchain?
Mark Erhardt: Yeah, so if you have say a set of seven images that are supposedly valuable because the artist says, “I made these brilliant images and I only will create these seven and they are a collection and a set, and I will assign them to ordinal 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, and so forth”, so this is part of the art project; and then the images may be on the image in the corner somewhere as part of what becomes basically the fingerprint of the image and the hash proof of what image exactly is being traded here with the ordinal, they commit to the number that you attach it to onchain.
So, by having the commitment in the image to commit to the ordinal, I think I start to understand why it might be scarce.
Mike Schmidt: AJ, you mentioned some of the comments on your idea having to do with there being some value to the image data being in the Bitcoin block chain and trying to recreate that in some other manner. Some of the feedback that I saw was also that, “We don’t know if any of these are file systems or an example of nostr, there’s no guarantee that message will be held indefinitely, but we have this thing called the Bitcoin block chain that we all think is going to be around forever, or maybe longer than it would be in a nostr message, or some such thing”. What’s your feedback to that?
Anthony Towns: I mean, if you’ve got this valuable NFT, then it doesn’t really make any sense to me to not have a copy of it yourself. If you’ve got offchain data that provably links to the ordinal, then having a copy of the image, or whatever it is, yourself already has that link to the ordinal back yourself, so you don’t need everyone else to have it, you’ve got a copy yourself and then you can give that to anyone you want to have it. It’s a fair claim that, okay great, we can just have all this stuff on the block chain and then I don’t need to keep a copy; if I lose it, I can always recover it. But for me, that’s just outsourcing the problem to a bunch of people who don’t really benefit from it, which is the whole economic externality thing and you’re giving cost to other people and they’re not getting any benefit for it which, I don’t know, is annoying at best.
The other problem with that is that then people might decide, “We don’t want to pay that cost, so you know that idea that we’re going to have permanent archive nodes of Bitcoin forever? That’s just too much hassle, so we won’t do that then”; rather than Bitcoin is around forever, we’ve got witness data forever, we start printing stuff, everyone prints, and then suddenly you can’t go back to genesis anymore because nobody’s got all those archives, because it was just too expensive keeping all those jpegs about.
If you want to do inscriptions, then you should be able to run a Bitcoin node. If you’re able to run a Bitcoin node with inscriptions, then you can just manage a file system with just your inscriptions much easier than that because you don’t have to keep a copy of everyone else’s. So to me, that doesn’t make sense, but that’s my opinion, not everyone’s.
Mike Schmidt: That makes sense. So, the owner of these offchain data pieces is incentivized to keep them themselves, whether that’s on Dropbox or their own file system, or running a nostr relay that happens to have an archive of those pieces of data, and so that motivation will be the reason that data stays around, not the fact that you’re externalizing this to the entire Bitcoin Network?
Anthony Towns: Yeah, exactly.
Mike Schmidt: So, Murch, I guess the question is, when Optech NFTs on nostr in Bitcoin?
Anthony Towns: When are we moving the space to nostr?
Mark Erhardt: …!
Mike Schmidt: AJ, one question that I had about your proposal, and I’m sure you clearly described it but maybe I just missed it, it does sound like anybody could create an NFT, let’s go with the nostr example. As the creator of the NFT or this inscription on nostr, I as the creator can start sending ownership of certain satoshis associated with this data to, for example, Satoshis’ UTXOs, or anybody’s, it’s not just the owner of that satoshi that can inscribe, there can be other people and then you could end up spamming people with additional information? But I guess the point is, it’s not the owner onchain that needs to do it, it could be anybody?
Anthony Towns: You could do that with inscriptions as well essentially though, because once you’ve created the inscription against your UTXO, you can just send that UTXO to whoever’s address.
Mike Schmidt: Yeah, that makes sense. And then I think you outlined in the mailing list post that there’s the potential then that you would have several of these inscriptions attributed to a single satoshi and it might not be possible to split those off, those “maybe spam” inscriptions off of your satoshi?
Anthony Towns: Yeah, so that’s a limitation of the ordinals’ way of moving assets around. If you split out the inscription/ordinal part from these other, like Taro and RGB, Taro lets you split up the assets in other ways and I feel like you could probably pull out the transfer part of Taro and have an offchain creation of assets that then says the assets follow the Taro way of doing things and not have that problem. But I tried reading the Taro BIP and I got lost, so I can’t actually give any details on how that would actually work.
Mike Schmidt: Murch?
Mark Erhardt: I mean, in a way that’s an advantage of having offchain data that commits to the original ordinal that it was attached to, because then if other people attach stuff to your ordinal, you can choose, as the owner of the ordinal, whether you keep a copy of that. And if you don’t and nobody else does, it just disappears again.
Mike Schmidt: AJ, I think you referenced a previous post that was a little bit more hostile, I guess, to this idea of colored bitcoins, and I think you’ve come to the conclusion that it’s inevitable and that we should deal with it, as opposed to trying to prevent it or avoid it?
Anthony Towns: Yeah, the post that I linked to from sipa is pretty much what I had been thinking until all this stuff came out the past few weeks, and there’s two things about that. There’s one that if it’s unavoidable, then it’s unavoidable and we just have to do it; but the other issue is how it relates to mining incentives or consensus change incentives.
So issuing USDT or stablecoins, or whatever, is the other side of the NFT, it’s the fungible token side of things. And I think there’s fair concern that if you have billions or trillions of fiat dollars on the block chain, how does that affect incentives? Once you’ve got a protocol that works for NFTs, then extending that to something that works for fungible things, and if it works for NFTs in an efficient way, maybe it works for stablecoins in an efficient way, and if that’s eventually going to cause problems, then you want to draw a line and try to stop it. I think there’s a fair question as to, does that actually create incentive problems?
To me it seems like if all you’re doing is moving sats around and people are assigning value to those sats, it’s not completely off the chain that you don’t have any way of telling about, then that feels the same to me as if I’m paying $1,000 for life-saving surgery, then that means a lot more to me than you paying $1,000 for a picture of a Bored Ape, or whatever. That’s not changing the incentives in a fundamental way, it’s just some things I value more than you value, and if I’m going to be willing to pay a lot higher fees for my $1,000 than you are, then that’s just something that we have to deal with and is probably fine anyway. That’s kind of where my thinking’s at now, but that still seems like a really important question to think about, rather than one that I’d say I have an answer for, or anything.
Mike Schmidt: So, maybe one example to think about this is in the fungible token example, if you can attribute $1 billion to a particular satoshi, does that mess with Bitcoin’s incentive mechanism? I guess the jury’s out on that, or you think that maybe there’s not an issue with that?
Anthony Towns: I mean, how is that different to assigning $1 billion to one particular UTXO, which we do already by just having however many bitcoin in it?
Mike Schmidt: Well, I guess the only difference in that example is that the value “in bitcoin” versus the value being in Tether’s reserves, or whatnot, right, I’m not bringing this up as an actual concern, rather than pointing out that there’s a difference between those two.
Anthony Towns: Yeah, so at some point if the value of bitcoin is trivial and miners are getting paid in bitcoin and you just can’t get an amount to pay people in bitcoin that’s not trivial, then maybe that means that the security of moving the things that are worth non-trivial amounts on Bitcoin doesn’t make sense. But at least to me, it currently feels like that’s not as much of a concern as it felt like a few weeks ago. But yeah, that’s much more of a feeling than something I can argue, I guess.
Mike Schmidt: There was another item that was related to block chain data storage. Actually, we have Rodolfo wanting to come in here.
Anthony Towns: Just unrelatedly, I’ve heard a bunch of people in the last week or so saying that there’s a whole bunch of Ethereum folks firing up nodes to play around with ordinals inscriptions and NFTs, and whatnot, and I’m just looking at Luke Dashjr’s charts of node adoption stuff, and it looks like it’s gone up from 48,000 nodes a couple of weeks ago to 52,000 nodes, which is a relatively big increase, which is interesting.
Mark Erhardt: I’ve also seen a ton of people that seem to have technical expertise ask novice questions on Bitcoin Stack Exchange, so they do seem to be a bunch of engineers, or people that have at least dabbled with block chain stuff, suddenly coming on Stack Exchange to ask questions.
Mike Schmidt: Go ahead, Rodolfo.
Rodolfo Novak: Hey, guys, I was trying to avoid the topic, but I guess I couldn’t help myself! So, I think there’s a few things. One is, my preference on this is I don’t think it’s great to use the block space personally. There is a massive demand for this, and the perception I get from talking to people who like this stuff is that the whole point of doing this the way that they’re doing and talking to Casey as well is that they want to do this the Bitcoin way, which is very anchored into the chain, and the inscriptions are done once, and they’re put in a block and they don’t get moved, the sats’ ownership moves, and that’s how they perceive the scarcity value of this, is the fact that it is a very early block in their ordinal system thing. So, that’s why they’re not interested in doing it offchain.
That was essentially why so many of the people doing this crap on Ethereum, they actually created a bridge to burn their NFTs on Ethereum to bring them to Bitcoin. They want that to be inscribed on the Bitcoin chain, to many of our dismay, but that is a valid transaction; in my view at least, it is a valid transaction. I mean, it gets in a block, it’s paying a fee, I don’t believe there is spam on Bitcoin if it’s paying.
The other thing that I think a lot of people are missing here in the forest for the trees is that blocks should be full. I mean, people should be using bitcoin and blocks should be full. So, the original sin here is making the Bitcoin blocks 4 MB and having them huge, and that’s the real problem. It’s kind of similar to roads; the more roads are built, the more people buy cars and drive, which I think is a great thing. But using wishful thinking for blocks to be emptier so that people can sync faster I think is the wrong way of looking at this. I guess I just wanted to put that out there.
Mike Schmidt: Rodolfo, do you think it would be the Bitcoin way if some version of what AJ outlined comes to fruition and you’re using nostr to issue and privacy, etc?
Rodolfo Novak: Probably not. I think that their goal is to actually have the art itself inscribed forever in the cathedrals; I think that is their goal and this was very deliberate. It was actually kind of clever. It’s weird to think about this as clever, but it is. They even have MIME types on the inscriptions. It’s very easy for any block explorer to look at a block, find that witness and actually render it. They don’t have to support anything, but any MIME type that exists can be essentially inscribed there if the data amount fits.
I think the strife now is coming from the fact that people got off-guard with the fact that the witness for taproot doesn’t have a limit. Two main issues are, one, we could find ourselves in the next activation period, where there’ll be a lot of strife and discussion on limiting that witness size that could have a lot of impact on scripts that people want to do. I actually don’t have an issue with limiting that script size a little bit; it doesn’t have to take a full block, so maybe that was a mistake. It’s just too much of people arguing about this stuff, but I feel like neither side understand each other, people don’t seem to understand the market demand for this, the reason why it was designed the way it was designed and how it actually works.
Then, on the other side, I don’t think these people understand how important this block space is, and these jpegs could actually take away cheap block space from, say, Lightning channels that may be economically less than the jpegs. I don’t think the jpegs compete with actually monetary transactions at all, the density is just too different; they’ll get pushed out of that. But for the Lightning, that could be a concern and I don’t have a good answer.
Mike Schmidt: You mentioned potentially tightening witness restrictions, but there is some discussion on the mailing list about OP_RETURN space and actually loosening the restriction on the data that you could put in OP_RETURN, even discussion looking at a free-for-all.
Rodolfo Novak: I mean, Jesus Christ, no! We’ve already had the discussion about OP_RETURN 12 years ago. I also don’t like the idea of just having this vestigial organ that OP_RETURN is around. If you have stuff to put in there, put it in the witness, put it in a transaction. OP_RETURN is a weird vehicle to put these things, in my view.
Mike Schmidt: Murch?
Mark Erhardt: Yeah, I agree with witness being a better place for it. It’s also cheaper to put stuff in the witness. There are already people considering at least to work on synchronisation optimisations disregarding some of the witness data. In a way, I think the increased demand for block space recently has shown again that people are willing to pay a lot more for payments.
We’ve had a ton of blocks that have had their minimum feerate of over 20 sats per vbyte. I don’t really think that it’s going to hamper payment traffic too much. It might be pushing out the very cheapest part of very smallest payments, where people are sending micro-amounts, like less than $1 or less than $10, and those should hopefully, in the long run, be served by Lightning or other offchain solutions. It will make opening a Lightning channel a little more expensive, but I think a Lightning channel can still usually afford 20 sats per vbyte or something.
So, if there’s now a buyer of last resort to inscribe jpegs on the block chain, but for the most part we’re just using it for payments before we fall back on the secondary use, I could see that with more demand, there will just be less inscriptions on the block chain anyway.
Rodolfo Novak: There are two side effects of this that I like. One is, we don’t have to talk anymore, no more discussions about security budget and tail emissions crap, because technically this is filling up the blocks and giving money to miners. And the other thing is, maybe there are more talks about more data compression and clever things people can do to the data that could actually help Lightning maybe compress some of their bigger channels and things that they want to put in there.
Mark Erhardt: Or, if we actually get something like Utreexo done, people can just skip the whole witness data altogether.
Mike Schmidt: Go ahead, AJ.
Anthony Towns: So, a couple of background things. I’ve seen a whole bunch of people talking about how blocks are suddenly 4 MB and that was never conceived as possible, and stuff, and I’m sure lots of people haven’t considered it, but that was certainly something that was pretty heavily thought through when segwit was originally proposed and the size limit, or the witness data, was set up so that you could go up to 4 MB. And there’s two reasons for that I think are worth going into a little bit.
The first reason for the limit is, the way it’s set up is that you’ve effectively got, as long as people started using segwit addresses and spending with segwit, then the normal sort of use case more or less got double the amount of transactions that you could get, so that was one side of it. But the other side, the basic way everyone figured, was that the worst-case scenario was something that we’d be able to cope with. Like 8 MB was one of the other numbers that was being thrown around at the time, and that was a little bit big and 4 MB was something that folks thought they could deal with.
The reason that we thought we could deal with that was because the segwit rollout got essentially delayed until we could implement the compact block relay stuff. So, with that enabled, I think the 4 MB stuff works pretty well and has pretty much demonstrated that we can cope with it, cope with those sized blocks without much impact on the network; at least, that’s how it seemed as far as I’ve seen, and maybe if people are actually having problems and not just frustrated with it, then that would be something that’s worth knowing about, and maybe deliberately reducing sizes based on that.
I think the other thing that’s possibly interesting, once we’ve got maybe a couple of months of experience with this, is that if we’re filling up, I don’t know, 50% of block space with 1 satoshi per byte, big jpegs, and maybe we’ve got some idea of how much they’re going at auction for and can thus get some value on how much value that’s creating versus the remaining 50% of block space that’s going to regular transactions, or Lightning channels, or whatever, and seeing the comparative value, willingness to pay fees, whatever, for those two different types of transactions, that might be something that miners look into and decide to actually add soft limits to the block size again, which is something we used to have up until 2014, or so, I think.
That sort of thing doesn’t require a consensus change, it’s just that miners might decide, “Yeah, we can make a lot more money if we reduce the block size”, and regular transaction users might decide, “Okay, this is more efficient and we can still do this stuff at essentially the same price”, so it’s win/win.
Mike Schmidt: Murch, you had your hand up?
Mark Erhardt: So, I’m going to jump back a little bit in what you were talking about. So, one effect that the 4 MB blocks have had, or maybe have had a part in, is last year forkmonitor.info had six blocks at the same height. Well, this year already we’ve seen three, so we’ve had three one-block reorgs in the last six weeks already.
Anthony Towns: So, I had a look at that the other day as well, and I was going to make a snarky tweet about it, but in looking at it, thought that three or four of the ones last year were in the January/February period as well, so I’m not entirely sure that’s an actual change, rather than just a seasonal thing.
Mike Schmidt: Interesting. What would explain the seasonality in that?
Anthony Towns: I have no idea.
Mike Schmidt: Murch, any thoughts?
Mark Erhardt: It could be that miners move to different regions in different seasons because of power costs, hydro being cheaper some parts of the year, and they just have worse internet connections in those regions. That could be a regional/seasonal effect. I do see that they were February and April and May were four of them last year. Well, anyway, I think maybe their sample set is also just a little too small to read too much into that. But yeah, I thought it was interesting that we had three stale blocks already.
Anthony Towns: Yeah, I thought it was interesting too. The other thing is that we don’t have a uniform mempool policy at the moment, with some people and some miners doing the mempool full of EF stuff; and I know of the recent ones, two of the blocks, alternative blocks, had significant-ish added transactions. So, that’s another possible current cause for that, rather than –
Mark Erhardt: Oh, interesting, yeah. All right, maybe enough on this?
Mike Schmidt: Yeah, I just wanted to give AJ an opportunity to opine on the OP_RETURN space discussion, if you have anything to say about that, AJ?
Anthony Towns: I don’t see why anyone would use OP_RETURN space instead of witness space, so I just don’t see the point of that.
Mike Schmidt: Okay, so leave this standardness and OP_RETURN restrictions in place?
Anthony Towns: Yeah.
Mike Schmidt: All right, we can move on. Quite a discussion there on our first news item.
Fee dilution in multiparty protocols
The next news item here is fee dilution in multiparty protocols, and you’ve all kicked off this discussion, or reignited this discussion, I guess I should say, on the Bitcoin-Dev mailing list. Do you want to provide an overview of your post, Yuval, and the responses to it?
Yuval Kogman: Sure. So basically, the instigating thing was the estimated witness size message in the dual funding proposal. It struck me a bit as being odd that there is essentially an unenforceable message, like data’s being exchanged between clients, but it’s purely informational, it doesn’t affect what they do in any material way. And thinking in the context of all this ordinal stuff happening, I was trying to think of a way of exploiting that and realized you need a specialized protocol that constructs transactions that actually respect ordinals’ ordering, so that you don’t accidentally send your brand-new inscription to somebody else.
But if you’re able to arrange for that, you have the option as the last signer to either reveal your ordinal commitment with a large witness, or just sign normally as everybody expects you to. And if you’re the very last signer and you already have everybody else’s signatures, then in some sense you can get them to pay for your fees, even though you’ve agreed to a different fee contribution.
It turns out that this has already been described. I either forgot, or missed this at the time, but Antoine Riard described exactly this mechanism as part of the transaction attack; he called it the witness malleability. And also I got the description of the mechanism itself wrong, so it’s not specific to taproot, although the attack model that I was interested in, that’s the only one in which it makes sense, the only setting in which it makes sense. I think my post is actually not that great, but I really liked the discussion that came out of it.
Perhaps the most interesting thing was bringing up the taproot signing algorithm and whether or not it should commit to the control block in full in the signature, because right now there is a malleability potential, where if a tapleaf appears multiple times in the taps, then you can control blocks that are as long as you like without modifying the signature, which is kind of an interesting malleation case. I think that’s a fair summary.
Mike Schmidt: Murch, I see your hand up.
Mark Erhardt: Yeah, I had two follow-up questions, because I wasn’t sure that I understood the discussion correctly. One is, in the output script, you have to commit to the input script in order to be able to satisfy the input script, right. Is the inscription not something that you would have to commit to in advance in the output script before you can add it in the input script; I thought that was the case? So, given that as a user, I would never want to participate in an address that I hadn’t seen the whole script tree through, how much of a danger is this whole thing in the first place?
Yuval Kogman: So, that’s kind of what I was alluding to by saying I described it incorrectly. Really, the issue from my point of view, I was assuming BIP322; and the way that BIP322 works, it only commits you to one path. So, if there was an equivalent ownership proof proposal that forces the prover to reveal the entire tree, then yes, this issue would be entirely addressed, you just would avoid interacting with anything that is not fully revealed. And if you have a taproot output with a script path that contains a jpeg that you definitely don’t want to pay for, then you just never initiate a protocol with such an ownership proof.
I was kind of incorrectly ascribing this potential for a malfeasance to MAST-type construction themselves and it has nothing to do with that. This is what shesek pointed out, but it’s not really about tapscript in this regard, it’s more about the kind of ownership proofs that you use for multiparty protocols. And I guess my tunnel vision kind of comes from the fact that revealing your entire taproot tree is kind of bad for privacy. So, in a coinjoin setting, I’m not sure how much of good idea it is to – if you have interesting script and you also want the privacy that coinjoins might provide you, revealing everything you could have used as a spend path kind of undermines taproot’s privacy model.
Mark Erhardt: Oh, I see, because when you construct a multiparty transaction, you are committing to which output you’re going to spend. But in this case, you may unilaterally own that output and you don’t reveal the input script yet to the other participants, so there might be multiple ways of spending the output with different input scripts, and that could malleate the final transaction that everybody is committing to?
Yuval Kogman: Exactly.
Mark Erhardt: Okay, yeah, that was what I was missing. Thank you very much.
Mike Schmidt: And I guess that has two effects that we described in the newsletter: one is, you’re getting your other parties to that transaction to pay your fees disproportionately; and then also, I guess related to that, is if you’re decreasing then the effective feerate, then you could potentially run into slow confirmation times.
Yuval Kogman: So, the latter part is already fully captured, I think, by the transaction pinning stuff. The first part, I think, everybody was assuming up until now the main reason you’d want to inflate the witness data is postpone confirmation as much as possible, because presumably you have some sort of offchain contract which is time sensitive. I don’t know of any way to mount this attack on existing protocols, for various reasons, chief among them being how do you even control where your ordinal ends up. So, actually constructing it in such a way where the adversary can benefit in the way that I described I think is really contrived, but if you are able to do that, then yeah, you can extract a positive payoff that only has to do with how much you end up directly paying for block space, I do think is still kind of interesting.
Tapscript signature malleability
Mike Schmidt: Murch, Yuval mentioned the spinoff discussion that we noted in the newsletter, which is the tapscript signature malleability, in that you could have essentially copies of the same tapscript placed in different places of the tree, which could be one issue in regards to the fee dilution multiparty protocol concern. Were you aware, Murch, that there was that tapscript signature malleability?
Mark Erhardt: I was not. But the way that we described it in the newsletter with an output being owned by multiple parties together, I don’t think that is much of a concern, simply because before I create an address with someone, I would always require the whole taptree to be revealed to me. I would not participate in an output where I only see part of the tree. So specifically in the context of a multiparty output, the concern that a leaf appears in multiple places, I don’t see the concern in practice.
Unilaterally owned outputs, as we discussed, with coinjoins for example, I now see the point how that might be a problem with the inputs having multiple scripts that can spend it and then you’re using a different script than you originally showed people, and thus changing the outcome of the feerate. But even then, I think if there’s a coordinator that puts together the transaction before it is published, funnily enough they could still use the original script path, because the signature, if the same leaf appears twice in the tree, as long as they know the original script path, they could still use the smaller one, even if you provide the signature and witness stack of the bigger one later, as long as you revealed it previously.
Mike Schmidt: AJ, I know that you have your ANYPREVOUT proposal, and it looked like you picked up on some of this discussion and how would that PR that you opened to address this issue work?
Anthony Towns: So, I haven’t opened an issue, not a PR to this so far. The way ANYPREVOUT works, or is proposed to work, is when you do a tapscript and you want to have a signature as part of it, you say CHECKSIG, then you have 32 bytes of x-only pubkey and then you have the signature with whatever sighash on it. With ANYPREVOUT, instead of having a 32 byte key, you have a 33 byte key and the first byte is just a 1 to indicate ANYPREVOUT. And then you can use pretty much the exact same signatures as you could with the 32 byte x-only keys, but you can also use the ANYPREVOUT sighashes.
So, one way we could address this shortcoming is having the ANYPREVOUT sighashes that match the current sighashes we’ve got also commit to the full path to the tapscript or the tapleaf, in which case you can’t suddenly switch it around to some other thing, like when you’re observing the script, you can just see that it’s an APO pubkey and you know at that point that the sighash is going to commit to everything and they’re not going to be able to switch it around. That seems like a possible way of doing it, and there’s been a little bit of discussion on the issue as to exactly how to commit to that, whether to do just the level or the full path, but I think we can wrap that up and have a go and see how it works.
Mike Schmidt: All right. We have a monthly segment that we have in this newsletter, which is Changes to Services and Client Software, and as a brief reminder for everybody, this is a monthly segment where we highlight different libraries, or wallet software, or other software that is adopting new Bitcoin technology, and so we like to highlight that here for users that are familiar with those projects and to give a pat on the back to those projects for adopting those different pieces of tech.
Liana wallet adds multisig
So, the first one we had this month is the Liana wallet adding multisig. So we actually covered their initial release last month in which they noted that they did not have multisig support, that they were planning on it, and I guess in a very quick turnaround, they’ve already released this 0.2 release which adds multisig support using descriptors. As a reminder, the Liana wallet is a wallet that includes a degrading multisig, a fallback, and that’s built into their wallet. An initial release had singlesig and now they support multisignature, so that’s pretty cool to see. Murch?
Mark Erhardt: I think more importantly, as far as I know, Liana is the first wallet working on miniscript support for descriptors, so Antoine Poinsot has been pretty heavily involved in a review of miniscript, so they are very excited about the miniscript capabilities of descriptors and being able to specify this degrading multisig in the form of a miniscript descriptor. That’s the most exciting thing to me about the Liana wallet, is the miniscript use.
Mike Schmidt: Yeah, they seem to be moving fast and on the cutting edge, so round of applause for those guys.
Sparrow wallet 1.7.2 released
The next one we highlighted in the newsletter this week was Sparrow wallet, and they have a 1.7.2 release which adds taproot support and also support for BIP329, which is the ability to import and export labels, and that was actually a recently assigned BIP as of the last few weeks; we covered that in Newsletter #235, so you can import and export your labels using that format, and then there’s additional support for hardware signing devices.
Mark Erhardt: In fact, the author of Sparrow wallet is also the author of BIP329.
Bitcoinex library adds schnorr support
Mike Schmidt: It’s a wonder they got it done so quickly. The folks at River Financial have a library that they’ve been contributing to, called Bitcoinex, and that’s a library that added schnorr support recently, and I don’t think we’ve highlighted this library in the past, but it’s a utility library for a functional programming language, named Elixir, so I thought that was interesting and their support for schnorr was a good reason to include it in the newsletter. Murch, are you doing any functional programming using Elixir?
Mark Erhardt: I have never used Elixir, but I did enjoy using functional programming languages at university. The simulation for coin selection for my master thesis was in Scala.
Libwally 0.8.8 released
Mike Schmidt: Oh, cool. And then the last highlight for this segment was libwally 0.8.8 being released, and that’s a sort of primitives library for doing Bitcoin stuff. I believe that the Green wallet uses libwally under the covers, and some other wallet libraries as well use that. And they added tagged hash support, additional sighash support, including ANYPREVOUT support. I suppose that’s for potential use on the Liquid sidechain, and additional miniscript descriptor and PSBT functions to that library.
Anthony Towns: I think the APO stuff’s because c-lightning, CLN, uses libwally these days, and that’s what instagibbs is working on for L2.
Mike Schmidt: Okay, cool.
Mark Erhardt: LN symmetry!
Mike Schmidt: We have an Optech Recommends segment this week, and this is something that was published recently, a search engine for Bitcoin technical content. It’s called BitcoinSearch.xyz, and it’s focused on Bitcoin, it’s focused on technical documentation and discussions, and it’s a nice way to pull up resources like the Optech Newsletter and our topics, as well as other resources. I started playing with it and I got some great results quickly. Murch, I’m not sure if you’ve had a chance to play with that yet?
Mark Erhardt: Yeah, I’ve played around a little bit with it. I think that it will become a staple for me to find stuff for show notes linking to Stack Exchange answers and some other stuff. So, as far as I understand currently, we pull in – so, this is a project spearheaded by one of my colleagues at Chaincode. We pull in a mailing list, Bitcoin-Dev mailing list and Lightning-Dev mailing list, Stack Exchange, the Bitcoin Transcript page that is also spearheaded by Jonas. There’s the Bitcoin Talk Technical Forum, I think, and the Optech website.
I’m not sure if there’s other content, but yeah, if you want to cut through all of the news articles and blogposts that pop up when you search for Bitcoin topics, especially technical topics, this will give you a pretty good signal, I think. And, yeah, if you have ideas how to improve it, it’s also open source of course.
Mike Schmidt: I find myself often using Google and then adding the modifier at the end, site:bitcoinops.org. So, I think instead of doing that, I could add a little shortcut to use this search engine and just type my query in there, so looking forward to using this more.
Core Lightning 23.02rc2
Next segment of the newsletter is Releases and Release Candidates, and the first one that we noted here is the Core Lightning 23.02rc2 release candidate for a new maintenance version of this popular LN implementation. Alex or Vivek, I’m not sure if you guys have comments on this particular release, if there’s things notable that folks should be aware of.
Alex Myers: Yeah, first of all, thanks for having me, and also that search engine I think is going to be really useful. Looking through pretty much anything we do on Lightning, there’s a mailing list thread that goes back years. So, first of all, this new release is the 23.02 release, which we moved on the last release from semantic versioning to a date-based system. So, this is just 2023 February release. And being in February, it’s generally kind of a lighter release than other points in the year, because we’ve got all the holidays and everything. We tried for a three-month release cycle and this one was supposed to be a lighter release than normal, which is nice for me because I haven’t done Release Captain duties on Core Lightning yet, this is my first. But it turned out that we actually have quite a lot of pretty cool features that are integrated in this new release.
So, one of them that I’m pretty excited about is peer storage, which is Aditya Sharma, that’s his baby. But this is basically 64 kB of blob storage with your peer that you encrypt, hand it to your peer, and on reconnect, they just feed it back to you. It’s pretty simple on the surface, it’s very small, so pretty lightweight for your peers to store, but what this allows you to do is integrate it with your static channel backup and now all of a sudden, when you reconnect with your peer, you basically get all this redundancy of having your static channel backup available.
It’s probably to be flushed out a little bit more so that it’s just a seamless user experience and it’s still an experimental feature right now, so you’ve got to set a specific flag to turn it on, but I think this could really make things a lot more user-friendly, especially for newer players that are just setting up a small node in the future. They really won’t have to worry about the backup case nearly as much potentially.
Then, another cool feature that Rusty has been working on is the SQL plugin. So, this allows you to run a custom query on your database as an RPC. I think this will be really useful if you’re trying to access your node remotely from a client RTL. We’ve actually got this new client, clams.tech, that connects over the Lightning Network itself using Commando, and any time you’re doing something like this, you don’t want an RPC call that has a really verbose output that you’ve got to filter through thousands of lines; it’s really nice if you can do that all on the node side and just return the specific query that you’re really interested in. So, yeah, that will be really nice for developers building front ends, I think.
Kind of along the same vein, we had this 10,000 channels project that Rusty did, where we were just looking at some of the pain points for larger nodes, again looking at these RPC calls that can get quite lengthy when there’s a lot of channels involved. So, there were several performance enhancements there that I think some of our users will appreciate.
I would say finally, it’s the spec updates. As you know, the Lightning vaults and spec is sort of a moving target. Currently, we’ve got the dual funding efforts that Lisa, niftynei, has been working on, and does also touch a lot of the splicing work. But there’s definite interest in the other implementations on dual funding. So, she’s been working with t-bast at Eclair, and following that feedback, there were some updates to the dual funding spec, and those have all been incorporated into this latest release. So, really hopeful that we can have interoperability soon with Eclair.
Similarly, offers has some interoperability updates also, and yeah, I think that’s about it.
Mike Schmidt: So, I’m curious, what is the role of Release Captain on this Core Lightning project?
Alex Myers: Oh absolutely, yeah, I should have given some background. So, when it comes time for release, we have a feature freeze. So, we tag all of the PRs that we really want to make sure they’re going to be headline feature for the current release, or major bug fixes that we want to make sure to incorporate before the release, so just going through that, tagging them all, making sure that there’s an owner who is responsible for that, making sure that we get reviews on all of the PRs that we’re waiting for, and really it’s just like a project management role. So, if we’re going to merge conflicts, make sure there’s a sensible order for which get priority, that sort of thing. But yeah, that’s basically it.
I work on kind of narrow aspects of Core Lightning, so mostly I focus on gossip and plugin sort of things. But being Release Captain, I’ve had to review an awful lot of PRs, so I’m broadening my horizons there. But yeah, you get to see just all sorts of different initiatives, I guess, and various parts of the codebase, so it’s kind of fun.
Mike Schmidt: Cool, Alex, thanks for giving us a little glimpse behind the curtain there, and we’ll jump to some of these more PR –
Vivek Kasarabada: Alex has an official hat, you should tell them the story about that too, Alex!
Alex Myers: Yeah, I don’t even know, I’ve got this boat captain’s hat. It gets mailed around to whoever is the Release Captain, so Lisa dropped it in the mail to me, and I guess it will go to Shahana Farooqui as soon as I’m done with this one. But yeah, you’ve got to wear it in the meetings!
Mike Schmidt: Nice! We’ll jump back to some of the Core Lightning PRs shortly. Let’s wrap up the Release Candidate and Releases section.
BTCPay Server 1.7.11
BTCPay Server 1.7.11. The last release we covered in the newsletter was 1.7.1, so there wasn’t anything notable for each one of the releases in between there, but we kind of grouped all that into this update. There’s a bunch of bug fixes and general improvements, and I think the big thing that we noted was the ability to migrate your BTCPay Server database from MySQL to SQLite, and then cross-site scripting vulnerability that was fixed. Murch, was there anything from those BTCPay Server releases that was notable to you?
Mark Erhardt: To be honest, I don’t follow that project too closely, because I don’t run an instance, but BTCPay Server is interesting in that they are very responsive in their releases. Sometimes they have multiple releases per week, so this is maybe just to explain why we don’t cover every single release of theirs. So, the 1.7.1 release was end of November and since then, they’ve had 11 more releases, right? So last week, for example, they had three releases.
I was just scrolling a little bit through their release page, but it’s mostly all smaller things. Occasionally there’s a big release, but yeah, anyone that is running a BTCPay Server or that runs one of the integrators should check because they leave notes for specific user groups on their releases, like here’s for example on 1.7.4, there’s a note for the integrators, for the people that work on RaspiBlitz and Umbrel. Anyway, those people that directly work with the project should be reading all of the release notes definitely.
Mike Schmidt: The last release that we noted was a maintenance release for BDK, and that’s release 0.27.0, and after looking through the release notes, it looks like there’s a bunch of dependencies that have been bumped and I didn’t really see anything too notable for our audience. Murch, I’m not sure if you saw anything else notable?
Mark Erhardt: Sorry, I did not.
Mike Schmidt: All right, Notable Code and Documentation Changes.
Core Lightning #5361
Alex, we’ll bring you back in for this. I think you had already talked about peer storage backups as a feature, so maybe there’s not much more to say on that. I’m curious, as a node operator myself, why would I want to store my backups for them; am I just being nice, or are there other reasons for that?
Alex Myers: No, you’re just being nice. So, I guess it depends on how many peers you’ve got but in this day and age, having a small 64 kB blob of data doesn’t seem to be too burdensome. I know Rusty’s got some thoughts on this, where now that you’ve got a node with these peers and it’s going to be online 24/7 anyway, this could actually be seen as sort of a service you could provide. So, I think he’s interested in making this part of the spec where you could provide data storage as a service and charge a few sats just to store whatever blob another node is interested in stashing with you. Maybe we ought to let Murch chime in.
Mark Erhardt: I think there might be a reason for how it’s in your self-interest to store a little data for your peers, because if your peer actually lost their state, the only thing that they can do is ask for their channel to be closed, and closing a channel is a burden to both channel partners. So, if you can enable them to recover their state, and it’s pretty safe to do so in this manner because they themselves stored the package with you that they signed and encrypted to themselves, so they know that whatever you give them at least is accurate, your counterparty might give you an old blob, but they definitely give you something that you stored with them for yourself, because you signed it and encrypted it to yourself.
So, you sort of get into a fun game theory where you can just occasionally request that, or even on every connection, and if they ever give you the wrong one, you know that they’re malicious. But that way, they would never be able to tell when you actually want to get the data because you need it, because you always ask for it. And, yeah, 64 kB is not really that much data today. I think it could be in your interest to do this for your peers, because you have already a contract going with them, you already have a relationship with them and you actually, if you’re not malicious, want to help them out.
Alex Myers: Yeah, I absolutely agree on both counts. It is in the node operator’s interest, and I’ve also thought just a little about the game theory and just like you say, the way this protocol works is on every connection, that’s the first thing that you transmit is, “Hey, here’s your blob”. So, you don’t know if that’s actually needed by your peer or not, and the existing recovery method right now goes along the lines of, you reach out to your peer and say, “Help, please force close my channel”, and then they know exactly what sort of trouble you’re in. That can certainly be gamed if they have enough information and are willing to take that risk.
With the static channel backups, you never know if the peer needs is or not. And just like you say, every time you reconnect you’re given it, so you can absolutely tell if your peer’s being a reliable backup partner there. And furthermore, I think it will be really interesting recovering a node where you’ve just catastrophically lost everything, you’ve got a seed and let’s say maybe you have your seed phrase, so some of your onchain funds, and you randomly connect to a peer and they say, “Oh, I noticed that here’s your blob that you backed up with me”, and you say, “Oh, I didn’t know I had a channel with you. But look, I can inspect the contents of the static channel backup and it turns out I’ve got dozens of channels”. So now, all of a sudden, he can seamlessly recover. I think that would be the dream, right?
Mike Schmidt: Is there a standardization for this yet? I know that it’s not supported by other implementations, but is this something that will have something?
Alex Myers: Yeah, there is ongoing discussion, I believe. I think the spec needs to be cleaned up a bit, but I know in the mailing list, this has been discussed in the past, the next step. So, this is just a completely experimental feature for Core Lighting in this release; it’s an optional feature bit, so it’s definitely not anything that other nodes will expect you to have. But yeah, if it all looks good, this will definitely inform the spec going forward and hopefully can be integrated into the BOLTs.
Mark Erhardt: I was also just reminded of Sergi’s work on watchtowers, where we talked a lot with Sergi last month, we being Chaincode, and he had also specced out the watchtower as being able to store arbitrary blobs of data, and I’m wondering whether some of the work that he’s done to specify how watchtowers should work might apply to this static channel backup mechanism, because it sounds very similar to me.
Alex Myers: Yeah, I don’t know, but that sounds awesome. And, yeah, part of the whole recovery story is ideally you’d like to know at least one node, one watchtower, one source where you could retrieve your static channel backup blob if everything else is lost. That’s really interesting, I’ll have to look into that.
Core Lightning #5670 and #5956
Mike Schmidt: Alex, you talked a little bit about dual funding, which is the next set of PRs here, #5670 and #5956, to Core Lightning. Is there anything you wanted to add on that?
Alex Myers: Not really, just that I think dual funding is amazing. You’ve basically got inputs coming from both sides, you’re doing like a mini coinjoin, so you’re already breaking some heuristics, you’re creating balanced channels and furthermore, all of this work gets leaned on heavily by the splicing work that Dusty is doing. I’m really excited to see this progress and I don’t know all the details of it, but I hear that there was some really good feedback from Eclair that came out of this, so I think the spec will be in a better place going forward and maybe we’ll have full interoperability pretty soon.
Mike Schmidt: Awesome.
Vivek: Another cool note, I think, is that upgradewallet RPC are moving from the P2SH-wrapped to native segwit outputs, so Murch is a lot happier now!
Mike Schmidt: Yuval, you have a question or comment?
Yuval Kogman: Yeah, I just wanted to mention that the thing about what I wrote up on the estimated witness size message, my understanding is that due to this collaboration with t-bast and his implementation, this was since removed from the proposal, so this somewhat dubious message that inspired that attack model. Yeah, it’s cool to see parity between implementations instigating a re-evaluation of the protocol design questions. I thought that was cool.
Alex Myers: Yeah, absolutely. I love how just the spec process in general works with, it doesn’t get ratified until a second implementation goes through all the pain points and these issues arise.
Core Lightning #5697
Mike Schmidt: Alex, Core Lightning #5697 adds a signinvoice RPC that will sign a BOLT11 invoice. What’s going on there?
Alex Myers: Okay, so I’m not even sure what exactly this will enable or what the impetus was. It sounds pretty interesting. It’s a little bit risky that you’re signing without the preimage, but I think maybe there’s an LNbits feature that requires the utility, or at least it sounds like Fedimint would be able to get some utility out of this call.
Basically, you’re signing an invoice without having generated the preimage from Core Lightning. So, any time you go to accept an incoming payment, you would call a plugin hook and retrieve that preimage externally. So, I imagine you would exchange this for some other sort of payment app in the case of Fedimint or LNbits, or maybe you could have other users that are all using the same node, that sort of thing. It’s kind of interesting.
I think why this wasn’t a feature before is that it does open up a bit of a security hole when you don’t actually know the preimage, so you could potentially collude to intercept a payment. So, this might make more sense in maybe a PTLC world, but I think it will enable some neat things to be built on top of it, so I’m excited to see how it gets used.
Core Lightning #5960
Mike Schmidt: And then the last Core Lightning PR for this week’s newsletter was #5960 adding a security policy, which seems like a good idea and straightforward. You want to comment on that, Alex; I see you’re on the PGP key list?
Alex Myers: Sure. I think it was just a nice method to report anything critical that crops up in a secure manner. I know that there was at least one person who did a little bit of fuzz testing and did notify Rusty of some of the issues that came out of that, and I think it was just time that having a security policy and being able to report those bugs in a secure way is probably the right thing to do.
Mark Erhardt: Yeah, I mean we saw a few security issues, or bug reports, that could have used a security policy end of last year for other implementations. So, I think that all of the Lightning projects by now are used in production by enough people that this is about time! Also, a comment, we’ll be taking comments and questions from the general audience at the end of the newsletter, so if you want to comment on anything we’ve discussed or have a question to one of those things in a few minutes when we’ve done the last few items, we’ll be able to take your comment.
Mike Schmidt: LND #7171 upgrading the signrpc RPC to support the latest draft BIP for MuSig2. So, I think because MuSig2 has gone through a couple of different iterations, there’s somewhat different versions of MuSig2 that LND supports and so now they’re requiring the version of MuSig2 that you’re using when you’re calling this RPC to actually specify that protocol version number so that you get the correct protocol, and some of these changes have been made to MuSig2 regarding security issues that they found while trying to get that to 1.0. Murch, any thoughts on that?
Mark Erhardt: Yeah, I actually talked to one of the authors of the MuSig2 BIP recently. I’m just wondering because there was this mailing list post in October that they had found another security issue, and then in November that they had fixed it. So, the status of MuSig2 last I heard was that it’s very close, it’s coming soon, so we only have to wait 2 more weeks to 18 months.
Mike Schmidt: At first I thought that you were real on the 2 weeks, but yeah, who knows what else might be found.
Our LDK PR which is next is actually incorrect. Val actually okayed the change; I opened up a PR to the newsletter. It’s actually instead of #2022, it’s actually #2002 is the PR, so if you link off to that PR from the newsletter now, it’s actually the wrong PR. But this PR adds support for automatically resending spontaneous payments, keysend payments, that don’t initially succeed. Go ahead, Murch.
Mark Erhardt: One follow-up on the MuSig, so my understanding is that it’s actually really close to coming out but as we know that things can just take time, if something is still found, they might go back to fixing that. So, yeah, I think that MuSig2 is usable as it is right now already. We know that some people are already implementing support for it that are using some bigger wallet services that have had MuSig support for a long time. Yeah, I don’t want to predict any timeline, but it’s actually really close.
Mike Schmidt: It’s happening!
BTCPay Server #4600
The last PR for this week’s newsletter if BTCPay Server #4600 and that updates the coin selection for its payjoin implementation to avoid unnecessary inputs. Murch, you’re the coin selection guru, so do you want to talk about unnecessary inputs, coin selection and how it interplays with payjoin?
Mark Erhardt: So, the unnecessary input heuristic, it is a method of telling which one is the likely change output, because if all inputs are bigger than one of the outputs on the transaction, then it doesn’t make sense to have included more than one of the inputs, and the other one would have been unnecessary, unless the bigger output on the transaction is the payment.
So, the idea here is this is a heuristic use by chain analytics companies to guess or to determine one of the outputs to be more likely to go back to the sender’s wallet as change output, and so a payjoin transaction is a coinjoin transaction where the receiver of a transaction is providing an input to the transaction and thus the output that was going to the receiver is increased by the amount of the input that the receiver provided. So here, it looks like BTCPay Server thought more about how they construct these payjoin transactions so that there is no fingerprint that reveals which one is the more likely change one.
Mike Schmidt: All right, well that wraps up the newsletter coverage for this week. I don’t see any speaker requests, so I guess we could thank our special guests for joining us, my co-host – oh, go ahead, Murch.
Mark Erhardt: I remembered that I actually did have an announcement. So, we had Greg Sanders on the Chaincode podcast recently to talk about LN symmetry and ephemeral anchors and that episode is out, so a lot of the topics that we touched on today are related to that; and if you want to hear directly from the people working on it, you could perhaps listen to the Chaincode podcast episode.
Mike Schmidt: Excellent, good plug. I see Greg in here, so howdy, Greg! Thanks to my co-host, Murch, for joining, AJ, Yuval, Alex, Vivek and Rodolfo for helping to contribute to the discussion.
Mark Erhardt: Yeah, thanks for a great discussion today, and hear you all next week.
Mike Schmidt: Cheers.
Alex Myers: Thanks for having us.