[Bitcoin-development] New P2P commands for diagnostics, SPV clients

Matt Corallo bitcoin-list at bluematt.me
Mon Jul 23 16:40:36 UTC 2012

On Mon, 2012-07-23 at 09:54 +0200, Andreas Petersson wrote:
> Some concerns regarding Bloom Filters. I talked with Stefan Thomas on 
> the Hackathon Berlin about this.
> I tried to follow the discussion closely but i have not taken a look at 
> the code yet (is there already an implementation?) so please correct me 
> if i got something wrong.
AFAIK there was no implementation.  I pushed one for bitcoinj+bitcoind
today that compiles, but I haven't tested it much further (though its
really quite a simple implementation):

> The way the Bloom filters are planned now this requires a complicated 
> setup. basically the client will ask the server to replay the whole 
> blockchain, but filtered.
> This is not optimal for the following reasons:
> This will require the server to do a full scan of his data and only 
> filter out non-matching entries.
My implementation has yet to implement block filtering, for now its only
tx inv filtering.  However, its really not that complicated and doing a
scan of any individual transaction is very fast.  So during the download
phase, it really isn't much of any extra load on block chain providers
(aside from having to load inputs in the current implementation, but
that could be optimized some).

> Really lightweight clients (like Bitcoincard), clients with shared 
> private keys (electrum-style), or brainwallets - will ask the following 
> question quite often to "supernodes": Given my public keys/addresses, 
> what is the list of unspent outputs. i think it would make sense to 
> include such a command, instead or in addition to the filterload/filterinit.

> And perhaps more severe: as far as i understand classic bloom filters, 
> the server has no method of indexing his data for the expected requests. 
> There is simply no data structure (or maybe it has to be invented) which 
> allows the use of an index for queries by bloom filters of *varying 
> length* and a generic hashing method.

> im not sure what a really efficient data structure for these kinds of 
> query is. but i think it should be possible to find a good compromise 
> between query flexibility, server load, client privacy.

> one possible scheme, looks like this:

> the client takes his list of addesses he is interested in. he hashes all 
> of them to a fixed-length bit array (bloom filter) of length 64KiB (for 
> example), and combines them with | to add more 1's with each address.
> the server maintains a binary tree data structure of unspent outputs 
> arranged by the Bloom filter bits.
> to build the tree, the server would need to calculate the 64KiB bits for 
> each address and arrange them in a binary tree. that way he can easily 
> traverse the tree for a given bloom query.
> if a client whishes to query more broadly he can calculate the bloom 
> filter to 64KiB and after that fill up the last 50% of the Bits with 1. 
> or 95%. the trailing 1 bits even don't need to be transmitted to the 
> server when a client is querying. of course, if the client is more 
> privacy-concerned he could also fill up random bits with 1, which would 
> not change much actually.
> the value of 64KiB is just out of thin air.
> according to my experimentation using BloomFilter from Guava - 
> currently, also 8KiB would be sufficient to hava a 3% false positive 
> rate for the 40000 active addresses we have right now.
> someone more familiar with hashing should please give his opinion if 
> cutting a bloom filter in half has any bad consequences.
> Andreas
Though I like the idea of having a "give me all unspent outputs for my
pubkeys" command, I see quite a future for clients somewhere between "I
store nothing but pubkeys and don't know about the chain" and "I store a
full chain" and the bloom filters as described are pretty useful for
many clients in that in between.  Also, for clients that are "Really
lightweight clients" (given that they don't know about the chain) should
probably just stick with an electrum-style server-client system with
specialized servers (IMHO) instead of relying on P2P nodes to provide
them with a list of unspent outputs/etc.

In response to Mike's what-the-filter-should-match:
The way it is now, it just checks each input+output to see if the
hash160 of the dest addr, hash160 of the pubkey or hash160 of the p2sh
sh matches the filter as-is.
>From the list provided, I think adding a check to allow adding a
specific outpoint to a filter would be nice.
However, in terms of data elements in txes, Im not so sure.
Its by no means a bad idea, and it wouldnt be too much overhead, but
making filters match a very broad set of criteria seems like a bit much
to me, but maybe others disagree?


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