[bitcoin-dev] "A Transaction Fee Market Exists Without a Block Size Limit"--new research paper suggests

Peter R peter_r at gmx.com
Wed Aug 5 22:15:43 UTC 2015


Hi Dave,

Thank you for the feedback regarding my paper.  

> The paper is nicely done, but I'm concerned that there's a real problem with equation 4. The orphan rate is not just a function of time; it's also a function of the block maker's proportion of the network hash rate. Fundamentally a block maker (pool or aggregation of pools) does not orphan its own blocks.

With the benefit of hindsight, I think the paper would be stronger if it also analyzed how the model changes (or doesn't) if we assume zero propagation impedance for intra-miner communication, as you suggested (the "you don't orphan your own blocks" idea).  Note that the paper did briefly discuss miner-dependent propagation times in the second paragraph of page 9 and in note 13.  

> In a degenerate case a 100% pool has no orphaned blocks.

Agreed.  In this case there's no information to communicate (since the miner has no peers) and so the Shannon-Hartley limit doesn't apply.  My model makes no attempt to explain this case.  

> Consider that a 1% miner must assume a greater risk from orphaning than, say, a pool with 25%, or worse 40% of the hash rate.

I'd like to explore this in more detail.  Although a miner may not orphan his own block, by building on his own block he may now orphan two blocks in a row.  At some point, his solution or solutions must be communicated to his peers.  And if there's information about the transactions in his blocks to communicate, I think there's a cost associated with that.  It's an interesting problem and I'd like to continue working on it.  

> I suspect this may well change some of the conclusions as larger block makers will definitely be able to create larger blocks than their smaller counterparts.

It will be interesting to see.  I suspect that the main result that "a healthy fee market exists" will still hold (assuming of course that a single miner with >50% of the hash power isn't acting maliciously).  Whether miners with larger value of h/H have a profit advantage, I'm not sure (but that was outside the scope of the paper anyways).  

Best regards,
Peter



>> On 3 Aug 2015, at 23:40, Peter R via bitcoin-dev <bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:
>> 
>> Dear Bitcoin-Dev Mailing list,
>> 
>> I’d like to share a research paper I’ve recently completed titled “A Transaction Fee Market Exists Without a Block Size Limit.”  In addition to presenting some useful charts such as the cost to produce large spam blocks, I think the paper convincingly demonstrates that, due to the orphaning cost, a block size limit is not necessary to ensure a functioning fee market.  
>> 
>> The paper does not argue that a block size limit is unnecessary in general, and in fact brings up questions related to mining cartels and the size of the UTXO set.   
>> 
>> It can be downloaded in PDF format here:
>> 
>> https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/43331625/feemarket.pdf
>> 
>> Or viewed with a web-browser here:
>> 
>> https://www.scribd.com/doc/273443462/A-Transaction-Fee-Market-Exists-Without-a-Block-Size-Limit
>> 
>> Abstract.  This paper shows how a rational Bitcoin miner should select transactions from his node’s mempool, when creating a new block, in order to maximize his profit in the absence of a block size limit. To show this, the paper introduces the block space supply curve and the mempool demand curve.  The former describes the cost for a miner to supply block space by accounting for orphaning risk.  The latter represents the fees offered by the transactions in mempool, and is expressed versus the minimum block size required to claim a given portion of the fees.  The paper explains how the supply and demand curves from classical economics are related to the derivatives of these two curves, and proves that producing the quantity of block space indicated by their intersection point maximizes the miner’s profit.  The paper then shows that an unhealthy fee market—where miners are incentivized to produce arbitrarily large blocks—cannot exist since it requires communicating information at an arbitrarily fast rate.  The paper concludes by considering the conditions under which a rational miner would produce big, small or empty blocks, and by estimating the cost of a spam attack.  
>> 
>> Best regards,
>> Peter
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>> bitcoin-dev mailing list
>> bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org
>> https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-dev
> 

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