[bitcoin-dev] Forcenet: an experimental network with a new header format

Matt Corallo lf-lists at mattcorallo.com
Sat Jan 28 03:02:21 UTC 2017

Oops, forgot to mention, in the "parent" (ie old) block header, we should:

1) fix the version field so its a static constant
2) swap first 2 bytes of the merkle root with the timestamp's two
high-order bytes (preferably more, I'm not sure how much ASIC hardware
has timestamp-rolling in it anymore, but if there is none left we should
take all 4 bytes from the timestamp field).


On 01/28/17 02:32, Matt Corallo via bitcoin-dev wrote:
> Looks cool, though I have a few comments inline.
> One general note - it looks like you're letting complexity run away from
> you a bit here. If the motivation for something is only weak, its
> probably not worth doing! A hard fork is something that must be
> undertaken cautiously because it has so much inherent risk, lets not add
> tons to it.
> Matt
> On 01/14/17 21:14, Johnson Lau via bitcoin-dev wrote:
>> I created a second version of forcenet with more experimental features
>> and stopped my forcenet1 node.
>> 1. It has a new header format: Height (4), BIP9 signalling field (4),
>> hardfork signalling field (2), Hash TMR (32), Hash WMR (32), Merkle sum
>> root (32), number of tx (4), prev hash (32), timestamp (4), nBits (4),
>> nonce1 (4), nonce2 (4), nonce3 (compactSize + variable), merkle branches
>> leading to header C (compactSize + 32 bit hashes)
> In order of appearance:
> First of all lets try to minimize header size. We really dont want any
> more space taken up here than we absolutely need to.
> I'm super unconvinced that we need more than one merkle tree for
> transactions. Lets just have one merkle tree who's leaves are
> transactions hashed 2 ways (without witnesses and only witnesses).
> Why duplicate the nBits here? shouldn't the PoW proof be the
> responsibility of the parent header?
> I have to agree with Tadge here, variable-length header fields are evil,
> lets avoid them.
> Why have merkle branches to yet another header? Lets just leave it as an
> opaque commitment header (32).
> Finally, lets not jump through hoops here - the transaction merkle root
> of the "old-style" (now PoW) header should simply be the hash of the new
> header. No coinbase transaction, just the hash of the secondary header.
> This saves space without giving up utility - SPV nodes are already not
> looking at the coinbase transaction, so no harm in not having one to give.
>> 2. Anti-tx-replay. If, after masking the highest byte, the tx nVersion
>> is >=3, the sighash for both segwit and non-segwit outputs is calculated
>> with BIP143, except 0x2000000 is added to the nHashType. Such signatures
>> are invalid for legacy nodes. But since they are non-std due the
>> nVersion, they won’t be relayed nor validated by legacy nodes. This also
>> removes the O(n^2) sighash problem when spending non-segwit outputs.
>> (anti-replay is a long story and I will discuss in a separate post/BIP)
> Will comment on the anti-replay post.
>> 3. Block sighashlimit
>> (https://github.com/jl2012/bips/blob/sighash/bip-sighash.mediawiki). Due
>> to point 2, SigHashSize is counted only for legacy non-segwit inputs
>> (with masked tx nVersion < 3). We have to support legacy signature to
>> make sure time-locked txs made before the hard fork are still valid.
>> 4. A totally new way to define tx weight. Tx weight is the maximum of
>> the following metrics:
>> a. SigHashSize (see the bip in point 3)
>> b. Witness serialised size * 2 * 90
>> c. Adjusted size * 90. Adjusted size = tx weight (BIP141) + (number of
>> non-OP_RETURN outputs - number of inputs) * 41 * 4
>> d. nSigOps * 50 * 90. All SigOps are equal (no witness scaling). For
>> non-segwit txs, the sigops in output scriptPubKey are not counted, while
>> the sigops in input scriptPubKey are counted.
> This is definitely too much. On the one hand its certainly nice to be
> able to use max() for limits, and nice to add all the reasonable limits
> we might want to, but on the other hand this can make things like coin
> selection super complicated - how do you take into consideration the 4
> different limits? Can we do something much, much simpler like
> max(serialized size with some input discount, nSigOps * X) (which is
> what we effectively already have in our mining code)?
>> 90 is the scaling factor for SigHashSize, to maintain the 1:90 ratio
>> (see the BIP in point 3)
>> 50 is the scaling factor for nSigOps, maintaining the 1:50 ratio in BIP141
>> Rationale for adjusted size: 4 is witness scaling factor. 41 is the
>> minimum size for an input (32 hash + 4 index + 4 nSequence + 1
>> scriptSig). This requires people to pre-pay majority of the fee of
>> spending an UTXO. It makes creation of UTXO more expensive, while
>> spending of UTXO cheaper, creates a strong incentive to limit the growth
>> of UTXO set.
>> Rationale for taking the maximum of different metrics: this indirectly
>> set an upper block resources for _every_ metrics, while making the tx
>> fee estimation a linear function. Currently, there are 2 block resources
>> limits: block weight and nSigOp cost (BIP141). However, since users do
>> not know what the other txs are included in the next block, it is
>> difficult to determine whether tx weight of nSigOp cost is a more
>> important factor in determining the tx fee. (This is not a real problem
>> now, because weight is more important in most cases). With an unified
>> definition of tx weight, the fee estimation becomes a linear problem.
>> Translating to new metric, the current BIP141 limit is 360,000,000. This
>> is equivalent to 360MB of sighashing, 2MB of serialised size, 4MB of
>> adjusted size, or 80000 nSigOp.
>> Any new block-level limit metrics could be added to tx weight using soft
>> forks.
>> 5. Smooth halving: the reward of the last 2016 blocks in a halving cycle
>> will be reduced by 25%, which is contributed to the first 2016 blocks of
>> the new halving cycle. (different parameters for forcenet) This makes a
>> more graceful transition but we will lose some fun around halving.
> Hum, not sure this is sufficient. Its still stair-stepping at big enough
> jumps that we could conceivably see super slow block times around
> halvings in the distant future. Maybe instead of 100%-75%-75%-50% (I
> believe that's what you're proposing here?),
> 100%-87.5%-75%-75%-62.5%-50% might be smoother?
>> 6. A new coinbase tx format. BIP34 is removed. Coinbase tx may have more
>> than 1 input. The prevout hash of first input must be the hash of
>> previous block, and index must be 0xffffffff.
> I'm not necessarily opposed to this, but what is the justification for it?
>> The other inputs (if any)
>> must come from UTXOs with valid signatures. Spending of previous
>> coinbase outputs in a coinbase tx is exempted from the 100 block
>> maturity requirement. Therefore, miners of an earlier block may pay
>> other miners to convince them to confirm their blocks.
> Sounds good.
>> 7. Merkle sum tree: it allows generating of fraud-proof for fee and
>> weight. A special softfork (bit 15) is defined. When this softfork is
>> activated, the full node will not validate the sum tree. This is needed
>> because when the definition of tx weight is changed through a softfork
>> (e.g. a new script version introducing new sigop), olds nodes won’t know
>> the new rules and will find the sum tree invalid. Disabling the sum tree
>> validation won’t degrade the security of a full node by more than an
>> usual softfork, because the full node would still validate all other
>> known rules.
>> However, it is still not possible to create fraud proof for spending of
>> non-existing UTXO. This requires commitment of the block height of
>> inputs, and the tx index in the block. I’m not quire sure how this could
>> be implemented because a re-org may change such info (I think validation
>> is easy but mining is more tricky)
> If we cant build wholesale proofs, then lets not jump through hoops and
> add special bits to build partial ones? Its not clear to me that it
> would be any reduction in soft-fork-ability later down the road to not
> have this - if you're changing the definition of tx weight, you're
> likely doing something like segwit where you're adding something else,
> not trying to re-adjust weights.
>> How to join: codes at https://github.com/jl2012/bitcoin/tree/forcenet2 ,
>> start with "bitcoind —forcenet" .
>> Connection: I’m running a node at 8333.info <http://8333.info> with
>> default port (39901)
>> Mining: there is only basic internal mining support. To use the internal
>> miner, writeup a shell script to repeatedly call “bitcoin-cli —forcenet
>> generate 1”
>> jl2012
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