[Bitcoin-development] Proposed additional options for pruned nodes

Tier Nolan tier.nolan at gmail.com
Tue May 12 18:23:48 UTC 2015

On Tue, May 12, 2015 at 6:16 PM, Peter Todd <pete at petertodd.org> wrote:

> Lots of people are tossing around ideas for partial archival nodes that
> would store a subset of blocks, such that collectively the whole
> blockchain would be available even if no one node had the entire chain.

A compact way to describe which blocks are stored helps to mitigate against
fingerprint attacks.

It also means that a node could compactly indicate which blocks it stores
with service bits.

The node could pick two numbers

W = window = a power of 2
P = position = random value less than W

The node would store all blocks with a height of P mod W.  The block hash
could be used too.

This has the nice feature that the node can throw away half of its data and
still represent what is stored.

W_new = W * 2
P_new = (random_bool()) ? P + W/2 : P;

Half of the stored blocks would match P_new mod W_new and the other half
could be deleted.  This means that the store would use up between 50% and
100% of the allocated size.

Another benefit is that it increases the probability that at least someone
has every block.

If N nodes each store 1% of the blocks, then the odds of a block being
stored is pow(0.99, N).  For 1000 nodes, that gives odds of 1 in 23,164
that a block will be missing.  That means that around 13 out of 300,000
blocks would be missing.  There would likely be more nodes than that, and
also storage nodes, so it is not a major risk.

If everyone is storing 1% of blocks, then they would set W to 128.  As long
as all of the 128 buckets is covered by some nodes, then all blocks are
stored.  With 1000 nodes, that gives odds of 0.6% that at least one bucket
will be missed.  That is better than around 13 blocks being missing.

Nodes could inform peers of their W and P parameters on connection.  The
version message could be amended or a "getparams" message of some kind
could be added.

W could be encoded with 4 bits and P could be encoded with 16 bits, for 20
in total.  W = 1 << bits[19:16] and P = bits[14:0].  That gives a maximum W
of 32768, which is likely to many bits for P.

Initial download would be harder, since new nodes would have to connect to
at least 100 different nodes.  They could download from random nodes, and
just download the ones they are missing from storage nodes.  Even storage
nodes could have a range of W values.
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