[bitcoin-dev] Code Review: The Consensus Critical Parts of Segwit by Peter Todd

Peter Todd pete at petertodd.org
Mon Jul 4 23:27:15 UTC 2016

On Sun, Jul 03, 2016 at 03:20:42AM +0800, Johnson Lau wrote:
> >>> the fact that we do this has a rather odd result: a transaction spending a witness output with an unknown version is valid even if the transaction doesn’t have any witnesses!
> >> 
> >> I don’t see any reason to have such check. We simply leave unknown witness program as any-one-can-spend without looking at the witness, as described in BIP141.
> > 
> > It will lead to a special case in code that does things with witness
> > transactions, as we can spend a witness output without a witness.
> It is trivial to softfork a new rule to require the witness must not be empty for a witness output. However, does it really make the code simpler?

The Bitcoin Core codebase, no, but it does reduce the number of special cases
other codebases have to contend with.

Probably not worth changing now, but it was I think a weird design choice to

> > Thus you could summarize the argument for the P2PKH special case as "We don't
> > want to make it possible to use 160-bit commitments for multisig, which _might_
> > need 256-bit security. But we do want to special-case pubkeys to save a few
> > bytes.”
> Actually I would like to see even shorter hash and pubkey to be used. Storing 1 BTC for a few months does not really require the security level of P2PKH.

How short? 128 bits? 80 bits? 64 bits?

It's hard to know what's the point where you're going to risk massive losses
due to theft... and as we've seen with the DAO, those kinds of losses can lead
to very undesirable pressure for devs to act as a central authority and

> >>> we haven’t explicitly ensured that signatures for the new signature hash can’t be reused for the old signature hash
> >> 
> >> How could that be? That’d be a hash collision.
> > 
> > Nope. The problem is it might not be a hash collission, if the actual bytes
> > signed can be interpreted in two different ways, by different types of
> > signature hashes.
> > 
> > This is the same reason the signmessage functionality prepends the message
> > being signed with the "Bitcoin Signed Message:\n" magic string.
> > 
> In BIP143 sig, first 4 bytes is nVersion, and the next 32 bytes (hashPrevouts) is a hash of all prevouts. (in the case of ANYONECANPAY, the bytes following would be zero, as you proposed)
> In the original sig, first 4 bytes in nVersion, next 4 bytes is number of inputs, and the next 32 bytes is a txid.
> For a signature to be valid for both schemes, the last 28 bytes of the hashPrevouts must also be the first 28 bytes of a valid txid. This is already impossible. And this is just one of the many collisions required. In such case SHA256 would be insecure and adding a zero after the nVersion as you suggest would not be helpful at all.

Why isn't this carefully documented in the BIPs then?

Again, as I said in my summary:

    In a number of places we either have a belt, or suspenders, when given the
    importance of this code we’d rather have both a belt and suspenders.

Tagged hashing is an excellent way to absolutely sure that signatures can't be
reused in different contexts; if it happens to be overkill in a specific
context, the overhead of hashing another few bytes is trivial; the gain of
being absolutely sure you haven't missed a vulnerability can't be easily

Equally, I think in most cases simply XORing the digest obtained by hashing
with a magic tag prior to using it (e.g. by signing it) should be sufficient
for signature applications, and the overhead of doing that is ~zero.
Essentially you can think of the magic tag that's XORed with the raw digest as
making clear the intent of the signature: "this is why I think I'm signing this

However, the XOR option does have one potentially big downside in other
contexts, like general use in committed data structures: it's incompatible with
timestamping schemes like OpenTimestamps that rely on all operations being
cryptographically secure.

https://petertodd.org 'peter'[:-1]@petertodd.org
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