[Bitcoin-development] On OP_RETURN in upcoming 0.9 release

Mark Friedenbach mark at monetize.io
Fri Feb 28 19:25:27 UTC 2014

Hash: SHA1

Transaction fees are a DoS mitigating cost to the person making the
transaction, but they are generally not paid to the people who
actually incur costs in validating the blockchain. Actual transaction
processing costs are an externality that is completely unpaid for.

When I add a 1Kb transaction to the blockchain, there is an attached
fee which probabilistically goes to one of the miners. But every other
full node on the network also receives this transaction, processes it,
and adds it to local storage. From now until the heat death of the
universe that 1Kb of data will be redundantly stored and transmitted
to every single person who validates the block chain. None of these
countless people are reimbursed for their storage, bandwidth, and
processing costs. Not even a single satoshi.

Yes, transaction fees are broken. But it is their very nature which is
broken (sending coins to the miners, not the greater validator set),
and no little tweak like the one Warren links to will fix this.

But, in the absence of a reformed fee regime - which it is not clear
is even possible - one could at least make the hand-wavey argument
that people who validate the block chain receive benefit from it as a
payment network. Therefore processing of the block chain is "paid for"
by the utility it provides once fully synced.

However even this weak argument does not extend to general data
storage. If you want to put all of wikileaks or whatever in the block
chain, then you are extracting a rent from every full node which is
forced to process and store this data for eternity without
compensation or derived utility. You are extorting users of the
payment network into providing a storage service at no cost, because
the alternative (losing bitcoin as a payment network) would cost them

That is not ethical behavior. That is not behavior which responsible
developers should allow in the reference client.


On 02/28/2014 06:42 AM, Warren Togami Jr. wrote:
> On Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 7:25 PM, Troy Benjegerdes <hozer at hozed.org 
> <mailto:hozer at hozed.org>> wrote:
> Either the transaction fees are sufficient to pay the cost for
> whatever random junk anyone wants to put there, or they are not,
> and if they are not, then I suggest you re-think the fee structure
> rather than trying to pre-regulate me putting 80 character pithy
> quotes in the blockhain.
> https://github.com/litecoin-project/litecoin/commit/db4d8e21d99551bef4c807aa1534a074e4b7964d
>  In one way in particular, the transaction fees per kilobyte
> completely failed to account for the actual cost to the network.
> If Bitcoin had adopted a common-sense rule like this, I would have
> had no reason to join Litecoin development last year.  This is one
> of the few economic design flaws that Satoshi overlooked in the
> original design.
> As much as I personally hate the idea of data storage in the
> blockchain, this at least discourages the creation of permanent
> Warren Togami
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