[bitcoin-dev] A Small Modification to Segwit

Jimmy Song jaejoon at gmail.com
Sat Apr 8 00:05:16 UTC 2017


I've gotten feedback from Adam Back that you actually don't need all 32
bits in the header for overt ASICBoost, so I'm modifying my proposal. Of
the 32-bit version field, bits 16 to 23 are reserved for miners, the
witness commitment stays as defined in BIP-141 except that it's now
required. BIP9 then is modified so that bits 16 to 23 are now no longer
usable.

On Fri, Apr 7, 2017 at 3:06 PM, Jimmy Song <jaejoon at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hey everyone, This is an idea that I had about Segwit and Gregory's
> proposal from yesterday that I wanted to run by everyone on this list. I'm
> not at all sure what this would mean for non-upgraded nodes on the network
> and would like feedback on that. This is not a formal BIP as it's a
> modification to a previously submitted one, but I'm happy to formalize it
> if it would help.
> ----------------------------------------
> MotivationOne of the interesting aspects of Gregory Maxwell’s proposal is
> that it only precludes the covert version of ASICBoost. He specifically
> left the overt version alone.
>
> Overt ASICBoost requires grinding on the version bits of the Block header
> instead of the Merkle Root. This is likely more efficient than the Merkle
> Root grinding (aka covert ASICBoost) and requires way less resources
> (much less RAM, SHA256 calculations, no tx shuffling, etc).
>
> If we combine Gregory Maxwell’s proposal with BIP-141 (Segwit) and add a
> slight modification, this should, in theory, make ASICBoost a lot more
> useful to miners and appeal to their financial interests.
> The Modification
>
> Currently, the version bits (currently 4 bytes, or 32 bits) in the header
> are used for BIP9 signaling. We change the version bits to a nonce-space so
> the miners can use it for overt ASICBoost. The 32-bits are now moved over
> to the Coinbase transaction as part of the witness commitment. The witness
> commitment goes from 38 bytes to 42 bytes, with the last 4 bytes being used
> as the version bits in the block header previously. The witness commitment
> becomes required as per Gregory Maxwell’s proposal.
> Reasoning
>
> First, this brings ASICBoost out into the open. Covert ASICBoost becomes
> much more costly and overt ASICBoost is now encouraged.
>
> Second, we can make this change relatively quickly. Most of the Segwit
> testing stays valid and this change can be deployed relatively quickly.
>
> Note on SPV clients
>
> Currently Segwit stores the witness commitment in the Coinbase tx, so
> lightweight clients will need to get the Coinbase tx + Merkle proof to
> validate segwit transactions anyway. Putting block version information in
> the Coinbase tx will not impose an extra burden on upgraded light clients.
>
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