[Bitcoin-development] Proposal: soft-fork to make anyone-can-spend outputs unspendable for 100 blocks

Luke-Jr luke at dashjr.org
Thu Jun 6 21:48:13 UTC 2013

On Thursday, June 06, 2013 8:16:40 PM Andreas M. Antonopoulos wrote:
> > This doesn't work like you might think: first of all, the fees today are
> > greatly subsidized - the actual cost to store data in the blockchain is
> > much higher than most storage solutions. Secondly, only the miner receives
> > the fees, not the majority of nodes which have to bear the burden of the
> > data. That is, the fee system is setup as an antispam/deterrant, not as
> > payment for
> > storage.
> There's a difference between storing the content itself, and storing just a
> hash to content (which however is not spendable payment). I undertand why
> content itself doesn't belong. But it goes too far to say that only
> payments should be allowed.

Because payments are the only thing everyone using Bitcoin has agreed to use 
the blockchain for. Furthermore, there is no *reason* to store non-payments in 
the blockchain. If there was in fact such a use case, things might be arguable 
- but there isn't any I'm aware of.

> If the fees are not enough, fix the fee structure, don't stop incredibly
> innovative and promising uses of the distributed timestamping database.
> That is definitely throwing the baby out with the bathwater. If the issue
> is size, then address that, rather than the content itself.

The issue is using other peoples' resources for something they did not agree 
to use it for. The fees aren't merely "not enough", they were never *intended* 
to be "cost of storage". They are "cost of security" and "prevent spamming".

> Discriminating based on transaction content violates neutrality of the
> protocol and in my mind removes a very very large possibility of future
> innovation. If bitcoin is a *platform* and not just a payment system, then
> it needs to be neutral to content, like TCP/IP so that other protocols can
> be layered. Solve the size problem itself, without picking and chosing
> which uses of bitcoin are good and which are "bad" or "spam". I think it
> risks killing a tremendous amount of innovation just as it is starting.

The concepts behind Bitcoin are applicable to future innovation, but this can 
all be accomplished without spamming Bitcoin itself.

> > Not the same thing at all; nobody is forced to store/relay
> > video/voice/images without reimbursement. On the other hand, any full
> > Bitcoin node is required to at least download the entire blockchain once.
> > And the network as a whole suffers if nodes decide to start not-storing
> > parts of the blockchain they don't want to deal with.
> > 
> > So don't store content, but allow hashes of content.
> Again, I think it is extreme and extremely restrictive to say that ONLY
> payments are allowed.

Non-payments are quite possible without the Bitcoin blockchain itself. If 
you're worried that not enough people will store the alternative-non-payment 
data, then you are essentially saying that voluntary participation is not 
enough and that forced storage is your solution. I don't think this is what 
you intend...

> > This is how merged mining solves the problem. A single extra hash in the
> > coinbase can link the bitcoin blockchain up with unlimited other data.
> Can you explain this part or refer me to some docs? What do you mean by
> "coinbase", I assume not the company.

The Bitcoin blockchain protocol has 95 bytes per block reserved for miners to 
put extra data. Currently, this is used for extranonces, political or other 
short messages (such as in the Genesis block), miner "signatures", and also, 
as I mentioned, merged mining. Merged mining works by tying a non-
transactional merkle tree to the blockchain. The block coinbase stores the 
hash of the top of this merkle tree, so any data within the merkle tree can 
prove it is associated to the block. The merged mining merkle tree then stores 
hashes of multiple other data sets: for example, a Namecoin block can be 
referenced in a merged mining merkle tree, to use the Bitcoin block's proof-
of-work for itself (so, miners can mine both Bitcoin and Namecoin using the 
same hashing effort). You could also add other non-transactional blocks to the 
merged mining merkle tree, for generic timestamping or really anything at all.


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