[bitcoin-dev] A Better MMR Definition

Peter Todd pete at petertodd.org
Fri Feb 24 01:09:43 UTC 2017

On Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 04:49:01PM -0800, Bram Cohen wrote:
> On Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 3:51 PM, Peter Todd <pete at petertodd.org> wrote:
> > On Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 03:13:43PM -0800, Bram Cohen wrote:
> > >
> > > I can't speak to MMRs (they look a bit redundant with the actual
> > blockchain
> > > history to my eye) but circling back to utxo commitments, the benefits
> > are
> >
> > In what way do you see MMRs as redundant?
> >
> You can readily prove something is in the TXO or STXO set using the actual
> blockchain, and the proofs will be nice and compact because even light
> nodes are expected to already have all the historical headers.
> What you can't do with MMRs or the blockchain is make a compact proof that
> something is still in the utxo set, which is the whole point of utxo
> commitments.

I think you've misunderstood what TXO commitments are. From my article:

"A merkle tree committing to the state of all transaction outputs, both spent
and unspent, can provide a method of compactly proving the current state of an

I'm proposing that we commit to not just the set of transaction outputs, but
also the current *state* of those outputs, with the same commitment structure.

Concretely, each leaf node in the TXO commitment tree needs to commit to - at
minimum - the outpoint (txid:n) and spent/unspent status (possibly structurally
as mentioned elsewhere in this thread). It's probably also valuable to commit
to the scriptPubKey, nValue, as well, though technically that's redundant as
the txid already commits to that (there's some implementation options here).

> It's totally reasonable for full nodes to independently update and
> recalculate the utxo set as part of their validation process. The same
> can't be done for a balanced version of the txo set because it's too big.

Why would you commit to a balanced version of the TXO set? I'm proposing
committing to an insertion-ordered list, indexed by txout #.

> Relying on proofs as a crutch for using the full txo set would badly
> exacerbate the already extant problem of miners doing spv mining, and
> increase the bandwidth a full validating node had to use by a multiple.
> This whole conversation is badly sidetracked. If people have comments on my
> merkle set I'd like to engage further with them, but mmrs need to be argued
> independently on their own merits before being used as a counterpoint to
> utxo commitments.

Hmm? That's exactly what I'm doing. Also, as per the above, I think you've
misunderstood what my TXO commitment proposal is.

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