[bitcoin-dev] Using a storage engine without UTXO-index

Tomas tomas at tomasvdw.nl
Fri Apr 7 01:29:07 UTC 2017

On Fri, Apr 7, 2017, at 03:09, Gregory Maxwell wrote:
> How do you deal with validity rules changing based on block height?

I expected that one :). Just like the 100 blocks coinbase rule, changes
by softforks need to be added as metadata to the transaction-index, but
this is not yet in place.

As for the script validation itself using libbitcoinconsensus, this is a
bit hairy as this expects the rules to be known. Luckily, simply
gradually retrying using "lower" rules won't hurt performance, as
transaction that mismatch newer rules are rare.

Generally, bitcrust would appreciate a "is valid with X rules" instead 
of a "validate with X rules" approach.

> So it sounds like to work the software still needs an analog of a
> (U)TXO database? I am confused by the earlier comments about thinking
> the the resource consumption of the (U)TXO database is not a
> consideration in your design.

No, but transactional access is. Bitcrust just uses a
*transaction-index*, where outputs can be looked up regardless of being
spent. As the concept of being "spent" depends on the branch, script
validation ignores this and simply looks up the outputs.

Transactions are split in two parts for better locality of reference
when accessing outputs.

The transaction index only looks similar to an "UTXO-index" after full

> If you get a transaction claiming to spend 0xDEADBEEFDEADBEEF, an
> output that never existed how does your spent index reject this spend

The spend-tree is scanned until either DEADBEAF is found (=ERR double
spent),  the transaction of DEADBEEF is found (=all ok!), or the start
of the chain is reached (=ERR spending unknown output!)

To prevent actually having to scan to genesis, the spent-index "catches"
the search after a few blocks and performs the same lookup (positive for
tx, negative for output) on a simple bit index.

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