[Bitcoin-development] [RFC] [BIP proposal] Dealing with malleability

Pieter Wuille pieter.wuille at gmail.com
Wed Feb 19 14:38:19 UTC 2014

On Wed, Feb 19, 2014 at 3:11 PM, Michael Gronager <gronager at mac.com> wrote:
> Why introduce a new transaction version for this purpose ? Wouldn't it be more elegant to simply let:
> 1. the next bitcoin version "prettify" all relayed transactions as deterministic transactions fulfilling the scheme 1-6 effectively blocking any malleability attack? If miners would upgrade then all transactions in blocks would have a deterministic hash.

I consider actively mutating other's transactions worse than not
relaying them. If we want people to make their software deal with
malleability, either will work.

Regarding deterministic hash: that's impossible. Some signature hash
types are inherently (and intentionally) malleable. I don't think we
should pretend to want to change that. The purpose is making
non-malleability a choice the sender of a transaction can make.

Most of the rules actually are enforced by IsStandard already now.
Only #1 and #7 aren't. #1 affects the majority of all transactions, so
changing it right now would be painful. #7 only affects multisig.

> 2. In a version later one could block relay of non deterministic transactions, as well as the acceptance of blocks with non-confirming transactions.
> To non-standard conforming clients this "prettify" change of hash would be seen as a constant malleability attack, but given the "prettify" code it is to fix any client into producing only conforming transactions, just by running the transaction through it before broadcast.
> There is a possible fork risk in step 2. above - if a majority of miners still havn't upgraded to 1 when 2 is introduced. We could monitor % non conforming transaction in a block and only introduce 2. once that number is sufficiently small for a certain duration - criteria:
> * Switch on forcing of unmalleable transactions in blocks when there has been only conforming transactions for 1000 blocks.

The problem in making these rules into consensus rule (affecting
tx/block validity) is that some rules (in particular #3) may not be
wanted by everyone, as they effectively limit the possibilities of the
script language further. As it is ultimately only about protecting
senders who care about non-malleability, introducing a new transaction
version is a very neat way of accomplishing that. The new block
version number is only there to coordinate the rollout, and choosing
an automatic forking point.


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