[bitcoin-dev] Merkle branch verification & tail-call semantics for generalized MAST

Luke Dashjr luke at dashjr.org
Wed Nov 1 08:43:48 UTC 2017


I think I have found an improvement that can be made.

As you recall, a downside to this approach is that one must make two 
commitments: first, to the particular "membership-checking script"; and then 
in that script, to the particular merkle root of possible scripts.

Would there be any harm in, instead of checking membership, *calculating* the 
root? If not, then we could define that instead of the witness program 
committing to H(membership-check script), it rather commits to H(membership-
calculation script | data added by an OP_ADDTOSCRIPTHASH). This would, I 
believe, securely reduce the commitment of both to a single hash.

It also doesn't reduce flexibility, since one could omit OP_ADDTOSCRIPTHASH 
from their "membership-calculation" script to get the previous membership-
check behaviour, and use <hash> OP_EQUAL in its place.

What do you think?


On Saturday 28 October 2017 4:40:01 AM Mark Friedenbach wrote:
> I have completed updating the three BIPs with all the feedback that I have
> received so far. In short summary, here is an incomplete list of the
> changes that were made:
> * Modified the hashing function fast-SHA256 so that an internal node cannot
> be interpreted simultaneously as a leaf. * Changed MERKLEBRANCHVERIFY to
> verify a configurable number of elements from the tree, instead of just
> one. * Changed MERKLEBRANCHVERIFY to have two modes: one where the inputs
> are assumed to be hashes, and one where they are run through double-SHA256
> first. * Made tail-call eval compatible with BIP141’s CLEANSTACK consensus
> rule by allowing parameters to be passed on the alt-stack. * Restricted
> tail-call eval to segwit scripts only, so that checking sigop and opcode
> limits of the policy script would not be necessary.
> There were a bunch of other small modifications, typo fixes, and
> optimizations that were made as well.
> I am now ready to submit these BIPs as a PR against the bitcoin/bips repo,
> and I request that the BIP editor assign numbers.
> Thank you,
> Mark Friedenbach
> > On Sep 6, 2017, at 5:38 PM, Mark Friedenbach <mark at friedenbach.org>
> > wrote:
> > 
> > I would like to propose two new script features to be added to the
> > bitcoin protocol by means of soft-fork activation. These features are
> > a new opcode, MERKLE-BRANCH-VERIFY (MBV) and tail-call execution
> > semantics.
> > 
> > In brief summary, MERKLE-BRANCH-VERIFY allows script authors to force
> > redemption to use values selected from a pre-determined set committed
> > to in the scriptPubKey, but without requiring revelation of unused
> > elements in the set for both enhanced privacy and smaller script
> > sizes. Tail-call execution semantics allows a single level of
> > recursion into a subscript, providing properties similar to P2SH while
> > at the same time more flexible.
> > 
> > These two features together are enough to enable a range of
> > applications such as tree signatures (minus Schnorr aggregation) as
> > described by Pieter Wuille [1], and a generalized MAST useful for
> > constructing private smart contracts. It also brings privacy and
> > fungibility improvements to users of counter-signing wallet/vault
> > services as unique redemption policies need only be revealed if/when
> > exceptional circumstances demand it, leaving most transactions looking
> > the same as any other MAST-enabled multi-sig script.
> > 
> > I believe that the implementation of these features is simple enough,
> > and the use cases compelling enough that we could BIP 8/9 rollout of
> > these features in relatively short order, perhaps before the end of
> > the year.
> > 
> > I have written three BIPs to describe these features, and their
> > associated implementation, for which I now invite public review and
> > discussion:
> > 
> > Fast Merkle Trees
> > BIP: https://gist.github.com/maaku/41b0054de0731321d23e9da90ba4ee0a
> > Code: https://github.com/maaku/bitcoin/tree/fast-merkle-tree
> > 
> > BIP: https://gist.github.com/maaku/bcf63a208880bbf8135e453994c0e431
> > Code: https://github.com/maaku/bitcoin/tree/merkle-branch-verify
> > 
> > Tail-call execution semantics
> > BIP: https://gist.github.com/maaku/f7b2e710c53f601279549aa74eeb5368
> > Code: https://github.com/maaku/bitcoin/tree/tail-call-semantics
> > 
> > Note: I have circulated this idea privately among a few people, and I
> > will note that there is one piece of feedback which I agree with but
> > is not incorporated yet: there should be a multi-element MBV opcode
> > that allows verifying multiple items are extracted from a single
> > tree. It is not obvious how MBV could be modified to support this
> > without sacrificing important properties, or whether should be a
> > separate multi-MBV opcode instead.
> > 
> > Kind regards,
> > Mark Friedenbach

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