[bitcoin-dev] Transaction Merging (bip125 relaxation)

Rhavar rhavar at protonmail.com
Mon Jan 22 20:09:20 UTC 2018


> Most transactions don't have change?! Under what circumstance? For most
> use-cases the reverse is true: almost all all transactions have change, because
> it's rare for the inputs to exactly math the requested payment.

It's actually a common misconception. With good coin selection, I am able to avoid change about ~75% of the time in my simulations (on my real world data). In practice it's a bit lower, probably about 40-50% of the time because of the need to keep the majority of my funds offline where they can't be used for coin selection, and I have not been able to accurate simulate how I consolidate.

Also the other misconception is that inputs don't need to match exactly the requested payment, it's totally fine to do something I call a "miner sacrifice" where you overpay txfees up to the amount that that would otherwise be the total cost (immediate + consolidation) of creating change.

Also another trick I use, is something I call "output selection". If I have N queued non-time sensitive payments, I don't really need to send them all at the same time. So I can pick the best combination of inputs+outputs.

Obviously none of this applies to consumer wallets, who typically have less than a handful of options. But for a service, avoiding change can be the norm with good coin selection.

---

-Ryan

-------- Original Message --------
On January 22, 2018 3:00 PM, Peter Todd <pete at petertodd.org> wrote:

> On Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 12:40:31PM -0500, Rhavar via bitcoin-dev wrote:
>
>> So my half-baked idea is very simple:
>> Allow users to merge multiple unconfirmed transactions, stripping extraneous inputs and change as they go.
>> This is currently not possible because of the bip125 rule:
>> "The replacement transaction pays an absolute fee of at least the sum paid by the original transactions."
>> Because the size of the merged transaction is smaller than the original transactions, unless there is a considerable feerate bump, this rule isn't possible to observe.
>> I my question is: is it possible or reasonable to relax this rule? If this rule was removed in its entirety, does it introduce any DoS vectors? Or can it be changed to allow my use-case?
>
> It would definitely introduce DoS vectors by making it much cheaper to use
> relay bandwidth. You'd also be able to push others' txs out of the mempool.
>
>> ---------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>> Full backstory: I have been trying to use bip125 (Opt-in Full Replace-by-Fee) to do "transaction merging" on the fly. Let's say that I owe John 1 bitcoin, and have promised to pay him immediately: Instead of creating a whole new transaction if I have an in-flight (unconfirmed) transaction, I can follow the rules of bip125 to create a replacement that accomplishes this goal.
>> From a "coin selection" point of view, this was significantly easier than
>> I had anticipated. I was able to encode the rules in my linear model and
>> feed in all my unspent and in-flight transactions and it can solve it without difficulty.
>> However, the real problem is tracking the mess. Consider this sequence of events:
>>
>> - I have unconfirmed transaction A
>> - I replace it with B, which pays John 1 BTC
>> - Transaction A gets confirmed
>>
>> So now I still owe John 1 BTC, however it's not immediately clear if
>> it's safe to send to him without waiting $n transactions. However even
>> for a small $n, this breaks my promise to pay him immediately.
>> One possible solution is to only consider a transaction "replaceable" if it has change, so if the original transaction confirms -- payments can immediately be made that source the change, and provide safety in a reorg.
>> However, this will only work <50% of the time for me (most transactions
>> don't have change) and opens a pandora's box of complexity.
>
> Most transactions don't have change?! Under what circumstance? For most
> use-cases the reverse is true: almost all all transactions have change, because
> it's rare for the inputs to exactly math the requested payment.
>
> https://petertodd.org 'peter'[:-1]@petertodd.org
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