[Bitcoin-development] Floating fees and SPV clients

Peter Todd pete at petertodd.org
Sun Dec 1 18:12:11 UTC 2013

On Sun, Dec 01, 2013 at 06:19:14PM +0100, Mike Hearn wrote:
> > Both can be combined into adapting the current generic messages ("This
> > payment should become spendable shortly" for incoming and "This payment
> > has not been transmitted yet" for outgoing transactions). 
> What would the new messages say?
> We need to get away from the notion of senders attaching fees anyway. This is the wrong way around because it’s the recipient who cares about double spending risk, not the sender. That’s why merchants keep running into issues with people attaching zero fees. Of course they attach zero fees. They know they aren’t going to double spend. It’s the merchant who cares about getting the security against that.
> The UI for sending money should end up dead simple - no mention of fees anywhere, IMO.
> The UI for receiving money could be a bit more complicated but even then - I think if ordinary people using smartphone wallets are having to think about how quickly they want their transaction to confirm and adjust fees, etc on the receiving side then we’re getting dangerously close to the usability failure zone.
> Unfortunately we lack the protocol pieces to get the right UI here :( Someone needs to sit down and figure out what the UI *should* look like, in the ideal world, and then work backwards to figure out what needs to be done to get us there.
> > For outgoing transactions, if it is very clear that they're never going
> > to be confirmed, I'd like to see a "Revoke" button.
> Disagree. There should never be any cases in which a transaction doesn’t confirm. Period. I know there have been bugs with bitcoinj that could cause this in the past, but they were bugs and they got fixed/will get fixed.
> Settlement failure is just unacceptable and building a UI around the possibility will just encourage people to think of it as normal, when it should not be so.

Bitcoin is and always will be limited in capacity - transactions may not
confirm in a reasonable about of time because of high-demand and/or DoS
attacks. Giving senders and/or receivers the ability to increase fees
after the fact is the only way you'll ever be able to deal with these
situations. Of course, in those situations revoke isn't going to be 100%
reliable until the txins get spent elsewhere, but that just indicates
the UI problem is around that kind of functionality is subtle.

re: merchants paying tx fees, child-pays-for-parent is inefficient, and
micropayments direct to miners isn't implemented. (though I did write up
a rough sketch of how to do that in a decentralized fashion on
#bitcoin-dev) Propose something concrete.

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