[Bitcoin-development] deterministic transaction expiration

Kaz Wesley keziahw at gmail.com
Tue Aug 5 19:10:50 UTC 2014


> In general, if a transaction has not made it into a block within 144*X blocks, there is _some_ reason it is getting rejected by the miners.

This is the crux of my concern: relay policy and miner priorities will
not necessarily always be in sync, and node resource management
shouldn't rely on them being compatible. There are other solutions
than transaction expiration; I think Gavin's idea from the
block-squashing thread, in which miners explicitly provide information
about their policies, would go a long way to address this. But even
when mechanisms for reconciling nodes' expectations about miners'
behavior with miners' actual behavior are available, it may be
desirable to keep an expiry mechanism in place in case of glitches
between node understanding of policy and actual miner policy.

Any approach based on beginning a transaction expiry countdown when a
transaction is received (as in mempool janitor) seems unviable to me:
once a node has forgotten a transaction, it must be susceptible to
reaccepting it; all the functionality of such an expiry mechanism
depends on the network not containing any nodes with slightly
different relay behavior from bitcoind. I could accidentally
debilitate mempool janitors across the entire network if I set up two
nodes to exchange mempools whenever they reconnected to each other,
and restarted each frequently.

That's why I think including information in the transaction itself, as
with my nLockTime/IsStandard proposal, is necessary for transactions
to reliably eventually die off from mempools.
There's a modification I've been thinking about: allow a transaction's
lifetime to be refreshed (even after expiry) by a child transaction,
along the lines of child-pays-for-parent fee policy. This would
eliminate the need to reuse a key to make a replacement for an expired
transaction (when submitting the tx directly to a miner is not an
option), as well as alleviating the potential inconvenience in cases
like Peter brought up, where nLockTime is used for exchanged locked
transactions as part of a multi-transaction contract. With
child-refreshes-parent, a transaction's receivers and senders would
have the ability to keep trying to get their payment confirmed, but
anyone on the network can't just keep all transactions alive.


On Tue, Aug 5, 2014 at 10:48 AM, Jeff Garzik <jgarzik at bitpay.com> wrote:
> Glad this was brought up.
>
> Transaction expiration is something that I have wanted to see happen in
> bitcoin for a long, long time.  The user experience of unconfirming
> transactions setting around in limbo is just horrible.  Bitcoin software by
> necessity has gotten better about attaching fees so this sort of behavior is
> uncommon, but that does not eliminate the problem.
>
> Of course, we cannot presume that a transaction will truly disappear -- The
> Internet Never Forgets -- but given a bit of mempool adjusting, we can
> achieve the next best thing:  the majority of the network "forgets" the
> transaction and becomes willing to relay a respend of some or all of the
> inputs.  This uses existing client logic where the client must rebroadcast a
> transaction until it is confirmed.
>
> In general, if a transaction has not made it into a block within 144*X
> blocks, there is _some_ reason it is getting rejected by the miners.
>
> The mempool janitor is a garbage collector design.  This is inferior to the
> "superblock" model described at
> https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/issues/3723   Other models can also
> achieve similar results.
>
> There are a lot of issues tied together here:  transaction expiration, the
> desire to cap the mempool ram usage, scalability, DoS prevention, ...
> mempool ties a lot together.
>
> --
> Jeff Garzik
> Bitcoin core developer and open source evangelist
> BitPay, Inc.      https://bitpay.com/




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