[bitcoin-dev] Fork of invalid blocks due to BIP66 violations

Justus Ranvier justus at openbitcoinprivacyproject.org
Sat Jul 4 15:18:19 UTC 2015

On 07/04/2015 12:44 AM, Peter Todd wrote:
> Fact is, SPV means you're trusting other people to check the rules for
> you. In this particular case bitcoinj could have - and should have -
> checked the BIP66 soft-fork rules, but in general there's no easy
> solution to this problem.

In general, the situation can be improved if there existed proofs which
validating full nodes could broadcast which would tell SPV nodes why the
branch it sees with the most proof of work is actually invalid.

As far as I can tell, producing such proofs is reasonably
straightforward for all cases except the case where a block is invalid
because it contains a transaction which references a non-existent output.

The shortest proof that a particular transaction does not exist in the
blockchain is the entire blockchain.

If each transaction input identified the block containing the referenced
outpoint, then the proof of non-existence is either the block in
question, or the list of block headers (to show that the block doesn't
exist). That's a significant improvement in proof size over the entire

Proving the non-existence of a particular transaction in a specific
block could be made easier for future blocks by requiring transactions
to be ordered in the merkle tree by their hashes.  Then it would just
require a few nodes in the tree to show that the transaction isn't in
the place where it should be.

Justus Ranvier
Open Bitcoin Privacy Project
justus at openbitcoinprivacyproject.org
E7AD 8215 8497 3673 6D9E 61C4 2A5F DA70 EAD9 E623
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