[Bitcoin-development] is there a way to do bitcoin-staging?

Alan Reiner etotheipi at gmail.com
Mon Oct 14 20:20:33 UTC 2013


Michael,

Very interesting that you have tackled that off the radar.  I didn't
know anyone else was working on anything similar.  I'm sure you saw the
recent Armory-funding announcement, so understandably I have other
priorities in recent past and near future, but I think you should
connect with Mark Friedenbach about this topic.  He solicited donations
for working on my idea, and has been doing proof-of-concept for for the
last few months.  In fact, he was just looking for funding for another 3
months, and Armory Technologies, Inc, just offered up 50 BTC for him to
continue (@Mark, whoops, I haven't actually paid you yet; contact me to
work out details).

For now, my ability to participate directly is limited, but I am still
very interested to see the ideas developed further, as well as provide a
first test of this whole staging-area idea.  I devised it originally for
the UBC/Reiner-tree concept, but there's no reason it couldn't be used
for any other type of sweeping change to the protocol. 

-Alan


On 10/14/2013 02:43 PM, Michael Gronager wrote:
> Hi Alan,
>
> What you describe in the ultimate blockchain compression I have already
> coded the authenticated datastructure part of in libcoin
> (https://github.com/libcoin/libcoin) - next step is to include a p2pool
> style mining, where a parallel chain serves several purposes:
> 1. to validate the root hash at a higher frequency than the 10 min
> 2. to enable distributed mining, easily (part of libcoind)
> 3. to utilize the soft fork by defining the root hash in coinbase blocks
> as v3 and once we cross the limit all blocks are v3.
>
> I will have a closer look at you bitcoin talk post to see how well my
> approach and ideas fit to yours.
>
> Michael
>
> On 20/5/13 08:34 , Alan Reiner wrote:
>> This is exactly what I was planning to do with the inappropriately-named
>> "Ultimate Blockchain Compression
>> <https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=88208.0>".  I wanted to
>> reorganize the blockchain data into an authenticated tree, indexed by
>> TxOut script (address), instead of tx-hash.  Much like a regular merkle
>> tree, you can store the root in the block header, and communicate
>> branches of that tree to nodes, to prove inclusion (and exclusion!) of
>> TxOuts for any given script/address.  Additionally, you can include at
>> each node, the sum of BTC in all nodes below it, which offers some other
>> nice benefits.
>>
>> I think this idea is has epic upside-potential for bitcoin if it works
>> -- even "SPV" nodes could query their unspent TxOut list for their
>> wallet from any untrusted peer and compare the result directly to the
>> blockheaders/POW.  Given nothing but the headers, you can verify the
>> balance of 100 addresses with 250 kB.  But also epic failure-potential
>> in terms of feasibility and cost-to-benefit for miners.  For it to
>> really work, it's gotta be part of the mainnet validation rules, but no
>> way it can be evaluated realistically without some kind of "staging". 
>> Therefore, I had proposed that this be merge-mined on a "meta-chain"
>> first...get a bunch of miners on board to agree to merge mine and see it
>> in action.  It seemed like a perfectly non-disruptive way to prove out a
>> particular idea before we actually consider making a protocol change
>> that significant.  Even if it stayed on its own meta chain, as long as
>> there is some significant amount of hashpower working on it, it can
>> still be a useful tool. 
>>
>> Unfortunately, my experience with merged mining is minimal, so I'm still
>> not clear how feasible/reliable it is as an alternative to direct
>> blockchain integration.  That's a discussion I'd like to have.
>>
>> -Alan
>>
>>
>> On 5/19/2013 11:08 AM, Peter Vessenes wrote:
>>> I think this is a very interesting idea. As Bitcoiners, we often stuff
>>> things into the 'alt chain' bucket in our heads; I wonder if this idea
>>> works better as a curing period, essentially an extended version of
>>> the current 100 block wait for mined coins.
>>>
>>> An alternate setup comes to mind; I can imagine this working as a sort
>>> of gift economy; people pay real BTC for merge-mined "beta BTC" as a
>>> way to support development. There is no doubt a more elegant and
>>> practical solution that might have different economic and crypto
>>> characteristics.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On Sun, May 19, 2013 at 6:23 AM, Adam Back <adam at cypherspace.org
>>> <mailto:adam at cypherspace.org>> wrote:
>>>
>>>     Is there a way to experiment with new features - eg committed
>>>     coins - that
>>>     doesnt involve an altcoin in the conventional sense, and also
>>>     doesnt impose
>>>     a big testing burden on bitcoin main which is a security and
>>>     testing risk?
>>>
>>>     eg lets say some form of merged mine where an alt-coin lets call it
>>>     bitcoin-staging?  where the coins are the same coins as on
>>>     bitcoin, the
>>>     mining power goes to bitcoin main, so some aspect of merged
>>>     mining, but no
>>>     native mining.  and ability to use bitcoins by locking them on
>>>     bitcoin to
>>>     move them to bitcoin-staging and vice versa (ie exchange them 1:1
>>>     cryptographically, no exchange).
>>>
>>>     Did anyone figure anything like that out?  Seems vaguely doable and
>>>     maybe productive.  The only people with coins at risk of defects
>>>     in a new
>>>     feature, or insufficiently well tested novel feature are people
>>>     with coins
>>>     on bitcoin-staging.
>>>
>>>     Yes I know about bitcoin-test this is not it.  I mean a real live
>>>     system,
>>>     with live value, but that is intentionally wanting to avoid
>>>     forking bitcoins
>>>     parameters, nor value, nor mindshare dillution.  In this way something
>>>     potentially interesting could move forward faster, and be les
>>>     risky to the
>>>     main bitcoin network.  eg particularly defenses against
>>>
>>>     It might also be a more real world test test (after bitcoin-test)
>>>     because
>>>     some parameters are different on test, and some issues may not
>>>     manifest
>>>     without more real activity.
>>>
>>>     Then also bitcoin could cherry pick interesting patches and merge
>>>     them after
>>>     extensive real-world validation with real-money at stake (by early
>>>     adopters).
>>>
>>>     Adam
>>>
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>>>
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