[bitcoin-dev] Updating the Scaling Roadmap

Chris Stewart chris at suredbits.com
Tue Jul 11 16:03:45 UTC 2017

Concept ACK.

I think you are overstating the readiness of drivechains though. I think
the optimistic estimate for drivechains to be ready for bitcoin core is a
year out from today. More likely the date should be early 2018. Still a lot
of work to be done! :-)

Also I don't know if I would put a hard fork suggestion in the scaling map.
If drivechains are successful they should be viewed as the way we scale --
not hard forking the protocol. Do you still have capacity concerns if
drivechains are successful?


On Mon, Jul 10, 2017 at 11:50 AM, Paul Sztorc via bitcoin-dev <
bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:

> Summary
> =========
> In my opinion, Greg Maxwell's scaling roadmap [1] succeeded in a few
> crucial ways. One success was that it synchronized the entire Bitcoin
> community, helping to bring finality to the (endless) conversations of
> that time, and get everyone back to work. However, I feel that the Dec
> 7, 2015 roadmap is simply too old to serve this function any longer. We
> should revise it: remove what has been accomplished, introduce new
> innovations and approaches, and update deadlines and projections.
> Why We Should Update the Roadmap
> =================================
> In a P2P system like Bitcoin, we lack authoritative info-sources (for
> example, a "textbook" or academic journal), and as a result
> conversations tend to have a problematic lack of progress. They do not
> "accumulate", as everyone must start over. Ironically, the scaling
> conversation _itself_ has a fatal O(n^2) scaling problem.
> The roadmap helped solve these problems by being constant in size, and
> subjecting itself to publication, endorsement, criticism, and so forth.
> Despite the (unavoidable) nuance and complexity of each individual
> opinion, it was at least globally known that X participants endorsed Y
> set of claims.
> Unfortunately, the Dec 2015 roadmap is now 19 months old -- it is quite
> obsolete and replacing it is long overdue. For example, it highlights
> older items (CSV, compact blocks, versionbits) as being _future_
> improvements, and makes no mention of new high-likelihood improvements
> (Schnorr) or mis-emphasizes them (LN). It even contains mistakes (SegWit
> fraud proofs). To read the old roadmap properly, one must already be a
> technical expert. For me, this defeats the entire point of having one in
> the first place.
> A new roadmap would be worth your attention, even if you didn't sign it,
> because a refusal to sign would still be informative (and, therefore,
> helpful)!
> So, with that in mind, let me present a first draft. Obviously, I am
> strongly open to edits and feedback, because I have no way of knowing
> everyone's opinions. I admit that I am partially campaigning for my
> Drivechain project, and also for this "scalability"/"capacity"
> distinction...that's because I believe in both and think they are
> helpful. But please feel free to suggest edits.
> I emphasized concrete numbers, and concrete dates.
> And I did NOT necessarily write it from my own point of view, I tried
> earnestly to capture a (useful) community view. So, let me know how I did.
>  ==== Beginning of New ("July 2017") Roadmap Draft ====
> This document updates the previous roadmap [1] of Dec 2015. The older
> statement endorsed a belief that "the community is ready to deliver on
> its shared vision that addresses the needs of the system while upholding
> its values".
> That belief has not changed, but the shared vision has certainly grown
> sharper over the last 18 months. Below is a list of technologies which
> either increase Bitcoin's maximum tps rate ("capacity"), or which make
> it easier to process a higher volume of transactions ("scalability").
> First, over the past 18 months, the technical community has completed a
> number of items [2] on the Dec 2015 roadmap. VersonBits (BIP 9) enables
> Bitcoin to handle multiple soft fork upgrades at once. Compact Blocks
> (BIP 152) allows for much faster block propagation, as does the FIBRE
> Network [3]. Check Sequence Verify (BIP 112) allows trading partners to
> mutually update an active transaction without writing it to the
> blockchain (this helps to enable the Lightning Network).
> Second, Segregated Witness (BIP 141), which reorganizes data in blocks
> to handle signatures separately, has been completed and awaits
> activation (multiple BIPS). It is estimated to increase capacity by a
> factor of 2.2. It also improves scalability in many ways. First, SW
> includes a fee-policy which encourages users to minimize their impact on
> the UTXO set. Second, SW achieves linear scaling of sighash operations,
> which prevents the network from crashing when large transactions are
> broadcast. Third, SW provides an efficiency gain for everyone who is not
> verifying signatures, as these no longer need to be downloaded or
> stored. SegWit is an enabling technology for the Lightning Network,
> script versioning (specifically Schnorr signatures), and has a number of
> benefits which
> are unrelated to capacity [4].
> Third, the Lightning Network, which allows users to transact without
> broadcasting to the network, is complete [5, 6] and awaits the
> activation of SegWit. For those users who are able to make a single
> on-chain transaction, it is estimated to increase both capacity and
> scalability by a factor of ~1000 (although these capacity increases will
> vary with usage patterns). LN also greatly improves transaction speed
> and transaction privacy.
> Fourth, Transaction Compression [7], observes that Bitcoin transaction
> serialization is not optimized for storage or network communication. If
> transactions were optimally compressed (as is possible today), this
> would improve scalability, but not capacity, by roughly 20%, and in some
> cases over 30%.
> Fifth, Schnorr Signature Aggregation, which shrinks transactions by
> allowing many transactions to have a single shared signature, has been
> implemented [8] in draft form in libsecp256k1, and will likely be ready
> by Q4 of 2016. One analysis [9] suggests that signature aggregation
> would result in storage and bandwidth savings of at least 25%, which
> would therefore increase scalability and capacity by a factor of 1.33.
> The relative savings are even greater for multisignature transactions.
> Sixth, drivechain [10], which allows bitcoins to be temporarily
> offloaded to 'alternative' blockchain networks ("sidechains"), is
> currently under peer review and may be usable by end of 2017. Although
> it has no impact on scalability, it does allow users to opt-in to
> greater capacity, by moving their BTC to a new network (although, they
> will achieve less decentralization as a result). Individual drivechains
> may have different security tradeoffs (for example, a greater reliance
> on UTXO commitments, or MimbleWimble's shrinking block history) which
> may give them individually greater scalability than mainchain Bitcoin.
> Finally, the capacity improvements outlined above may not be sufficient.
> If so, it may be necessary to use a hard fork to increase the blocksize
> (and blockweight, sigops, etc) by a moderate amount. Such an increase
> should take advantage of the existing research on hard forks, which is
> substantial [11]. Specifically, there is some consensus that Spoonnet
> [12] is the most attractive option for such a hardfork. There is
> currently no consensus on a hard fork date, but there is a rough
> consensus that one would require at least 6 months to coordinate
> effectively, which would place it in the year 2018 at earliest.
> The above are only a small sample of current scaling technologies. And
> even an exhaustive list of scaling technologies, would itself only be a
> small sample of total Bitcoin innovation (which is proceeding at
> breakneck speed).
> Signed,
> <Names Here>
> [1]
> https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-dev/
> 2015-December/011865.html
> [2] https://bitcoincore.org/en/2017/03/13/performance-optimizations-1/
> [3] http://bluematt.bitcoin.ninja/2016/07/07/relay-networks/
> [4] https://bitcoincore.org/en/2016/01/26/segwit-benefits/
> [5]
> http://lightning.community/release/software/lnd/
> lightning/2017/05/03/litening/
> [6] https://github.com/ACINQ/eclair
> [7] https://people.xiph.org/~greg/compacted_txn.txt
> [8]
> https://github.com/ElementsProject/secp256k1-zkp/blob/
> d78f12b04ec3d9f5744cd4c51f20951106b9c41a/src/secp256k1.c#L592-L594
> [9] https://bitcoincore.org/en/2017/03/23/schnorr-signature-aggregation/
> [10] http://www.drivechain.info/
> [11] https://bitcoinhardforkresearch.github.io/
> [12]
> https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-dev/
> 2017-February/013542.html
>  ==== End of Roadmap Draft ====
> In short, please let me know:
> 1. If you agree that it would be helpful if the roadmap were updated.
> 2. To what extent, if any, you like this draft.
> 3. Edits you would make (specifically, I wonder about Drivechain
> thoughts and Hard Fork thoughts, particularly how to phrase the Hard
> Fork date).
> Google Doc (if you're into that kind of thing):
> https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gxcUnmYl7yM0oKR9NY9zCPbBbPNoc
> mCq-jjBOQSVH-A/edit?usp=sharing
> Cheers,
> Paul
> _______________________________________________
> bitcoin-dev mailing list
> bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org
> https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-dev
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