[bitcoin-dev] Segwit Upgrade Procedures & Block Extension Data

Pieter Wuille pieter.wuille at gmail.com
Mon Feb 1 16:55:03 UTC 2016

On Thu, Jan 28, 2016 at 7:51 PM, Peter Todd via bitcoin-dev
<bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:
> A few notes on upgrade procedures associated with segregated witnesses:

> While Pieter Wuille's segwit branch(1) doesn't yet implement a fix for
> the above problem, the obvious thing to do is to add a new service bit
> such as NODE_SEGWIT, and/or bump the protocol version, and for outgoing
> peers only connect to peers with segwit support.

Agree, I've merged the changes to switch to a service bit instead.
We'll need further changes to prefer connecting to segwit nodes.

> Segwit isn't going to be the last thing that adds new block data. For
> example, my own prev-block-proof proposal(3) requires that blocks commit
> to another tree, which itself is calculated using a nonce that must be
> passed along with the block data. (U)TXO commitments are another
> possible future example.

> Unfortunately, this means that the next soft-fork upgrade to add
> additional data will have the above relaying problem all over again!
> Even a minimal upgrade adding a new commitment - like my
> prev-block-proof proposal - needs to at least add another nonce for
> future upgrades. In addition to having to upgrade full nodes, this also
> requires systems like the relay network to upgrade, even though they may
> not themselves otherwise need to care about the contents of blocks.

Those are good arguments for making the witness data more extensible.
> A more subtle implication of this problem is how do you handle parallel
> upgrades, as proposed by BIP9? Splitting the P2P network into
> non-upgraded nodes, and a much smaller group of upgraded nodes, is bad
> enough when done every once in a awhile. How does this look with more
> frequent upgrades, not necessarily done by teams that are working
> closely with each other?

I don't expect that changes that add more data to be relayed with
blocks will be frequent, though I certainly agree there may be some.

> Proposal: Unvalidated Block Extension Data
> ==========================================


This will need a backward-incompatible change to the current segwit
change anyway, so at the risk of more bikeshedding, let me propose
going a bit further:

* The coinbase scriptSig gets a second number push (similar to the
current BIP34 height push), which pushes a number O. O is a byte
offset inside the coinbase transaction (excluding its witness data)
that points to a 32-byte hash H. This is more flexible and more
compact than what we have now (a suggestion by jl2012).
* H is the root of a Merkle tree, whose leaves are the hashes of the
coinbase witness's stack items.
* Item 0 of the coinbase witness stack must be 32 bytes, and must be
equal to the witness tree root.
* No further restrictions on the rest of the stack items; these can be
used for future commitments.

> A significant design consideration is that if arbitrary data can be
> added, it is very likely that miners will make use of that ability for
> non-Bitcoin purposes; we've already run into problems deploying segwit
> itself because of pools using the coinbase space for advertising and
> merge-mining. Avoiding this problem is easiest with a merkelized
> key:value mapping, with the ability to use collision-resistant ID's as
> keys (e.g. UUID).

I agree with the concern, but I don't really understand how this idea solves it.


More information about the bitcoin-dev mailing list