[bitcoin-dev] BIP 158 Flexibility and Filter Size

David A. Harding dave at dtrt.org
Sat Jun 9 10:34:45 UTC 2018


On Fri, Jun 08, 2018 at 04:35:29PM -0700, Olaoluwa Osuntokun via bitcoin-dev wrote:
>   2. Since the coinbase transaction is the first in a block, it has the
>      longest merkle proof path. As a result, it may be several hundred bytes
>      (and grows with future capacity increases) to present a proof to the
>      client.

I'm not sure why commitment proof size is a significant issue.  Doesn't
the current BIP157 protocol have each filter commit to the filter for
the previous block?  If that's the case, shouldn't validating the
commitment at the tip of the chain (or buried back whatever number of
blocks that the SPV client trusts) obliviate the need to validate the
commitments for any preceeding blocks in the SPV trust model?

> Depending on the composition of blocks, this may outweigh the gains
> had from taking advantage of the additional compression the prev outs
> allow.

I think those are unrelated points.  The gain from using a more
efficient filter is saved bytes.  The gain from using block commitments
is SPV-level security---that attacks have a definite cost in terms of
generating proof of work instead of the variable cost of network
compromise (which is effectively free in many situations).

Comparing the extra bytes used by block commitments to the reduced bytes
saved by prevout+output filters is like comparing the extra bytes used
to download all blocks for full validation to the reduced bytes saved by
only checking headers and merkle inclusion proofs in simplified
validation.  Yes, one uses more bytes than the other, but they're
completely different security models and so there's no normative way for
one to "outweigh the gains" from the other.

> So should we optimize for the ability to validate in a particular
> model (better security), or lower bandwidth in this case?

It seems like you're claiming better security here without providing any
evidence for it.  The security model is "at least one of my peers is
honest."  In the case of outpoint+output filters, when a client receives
advertisements for different filters from different peers, it:

    1. Downloads the corresponding block
    2. Locally generates the filter for that block
    3. Kicks any peers that advertised a different filter than what it
       generated locally

This ensures that as long as the client has at least one honest peer, it
will see every transaction affecting its wallet.  In the case of
prevout+output filters, when a client receives advertisements for
different filters from different peers, it:

    1. Downloads the corresponding block and checks it for wallet
       transactions as if there had been a filter match

This also ensures that as long as the client has at least one honest
peer, it will see every transaction affecting its wallet.  This is
equivilant security.

In the second case, it's possible for the client to eventually
probabalistically determine which peer(s) are dishonest and kick them.
The most space efficient of these protocols may disclose some bits of
evidence for what output scripts the client is looking for, but a
slightly less space-efficient protocol simply uses randomly-selected
outputs saved from previous blocks to make the probabalistic
determination (rather than the client's own outputs) and so I think
should be quite private.  Neither protocol seems significantly more
complicated than keeping an associative array recording the number of
false positive matches for each peer's filters.

-Dave
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