[bitcoin-dev] Statechain implementations

Ruben Somsen rsomsen at gmail.com
Sat Mar 28 17:38:47 UTC 2020

Hi Bob,

Looks like we're largely thinking along the same lines.

It's unlikely that a party sending a UTXO to another party will have a UTXO
> of exactly the right size that's needed

My original proposal uses adaptor signatures to ensure swapping UTXOs is
atomic. All parties choose a secret, then they all make adaptor signatures,
then they reveal their secret to the statechain entity. The SE then
publishes the signatures, causing everyone to learn the secret. And if the
SE doesn't publish, it simply means the transfer didn't occur.

But taking a step back and thinking about an MVP, it may be easier to make
it more like a fully audited transparent blockchain where multiple users
create a combined transaction of all the UTXOs they want to swap, which is
published together with all the corresponding Bitcoin transactions. Then
adaptor signatures aren't needed.

The downside of that method is that you lose the ability to only validate
the history of the coins you hold (scalability win). For this to be
possible, you need to keep the history of every individual UTXO completely
separate. I still think that is where we eventually want to end up (as well
as having blind signatures), but it adds a lot of complexity (adaptor
signatures, sparse merkle trees with non-inclusion proofs...).

The natural solution is to decompose your outputs in a binary decomposition

I fully agree, but on top of that I think we also need Lightning,

This same mechanism can also be used to pay the SE for its service through
> a different UTXO than the one being transferred.

My conclusion was that opening a Lightning channel on top of a statechain
makes more sense for this (as ZmnSCPxj explained in his reply to you). If
we expect BTC fees to go up, we can't expect the statechain to hold UTXOs
that are small enough to be used to pay for statechain fees.

More on this in my Breaking Bitcoin 2019 talk (timestamped link):

a logical enhancement would be to use some kind of single-use seal

Any kind of system where users transfer ownership through signatures will
resemble single-use seals, so I'd say that's inevitable! :)


On Sat, Mar 28, 2020 at 3:42 AM ZmnSCPxj via bitcoin-dev <
bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:

> Good morning Bob,
> > Big picture, it seems to me this idea is workable and very interesting.
> I see
> > three likely enhancements that will be necessary or desirable:
> > 1. Atomic swap of multiple UTXOs, and binary decomposition of value in
> lots
> > 2. Key exchange ("addresses") to facilitate a secure comms path from
> > sender -> receiver
> >
> >     3. (Optional) single-use seals to close old state
> >
> >
> > (1) It's unlikely that a party sending a UTXO to another party will have
> a UTXO
> > of exactly the right size that's needed, already locked into the
> statechain. If
> > he has to create the UTXO first and then lock it into the statechain, the
> > statechain solution is no better than an on-chain send. And once the
> receiver
> > has the UTXO, it's unlikely that he will want to send exactly that same
> amount
> > to another receiver later. This isn't a problem in Lightning where
> amounts can
> > be arbitrarily updated. As a consequence, I think Lightning is more
> valuable for
> > small-value payments, and statechains will be more valuable for larger
> values.
> >
> > The natural solution is to decompose your outputs in a binary
> decomposition,
> > having e.g. UTXOs with 1048576 satoshis, another with 2097152 satoshis,
> and so
> > on. Then when I want to send, I select the appropriate UTXOs as a binary
> > decomposition of the value I want to send, with a "lot size" of 1048576
> > satoshis, or the dust limit. The notion of "lots" like this is common in
> > traditional markets...many stocks are bought and sold in lots of 100,
> and forex
> > is traded in lots of $100,000. Users of a statechain therefore need
> log(V)
> > available UTXOs locked into the statechain, where V is their value in
> BTC.
> > Having fixed lot sizes like this also makes coinjoin-type uses more
> viable. The
> > statechain could also assist in dividing a UTXO into two utxos of the
> next lot
> > size down, so that I have the right UTXOs to hit the value I want to
> send.
> My understanding of statechains is that nothing prevents the statechain
> from internally having multiple UTXOs divided from a single large onchain
> Indeed, a statechain can act much like a federated blockchain, and the
> interface to the statechain could be for its clients to send a Bitcoin
> transaction to it spending 1 or more of the UTXOs currently instantiated
> inside the statechain.
> Then the statechain validates the client Bitcoin transaction, updates its
> state and republishes it to its clients, removing the
> (internal-to-statechain-only) UTXOs spent, and inserting the new UTXOs of
> the incoming transaction.
> For example, suppose I have a 1BTC onchain UTXO that I use to create a new
> statechain:
>     [funding tx]->1BTC(SE)-+  (onchain)
>     _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _|_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
>               (statechain) |
>                            +->[update mechanism]->1BTC(ZmnSCPxj)
> Then I send to the statechain a transaction spending my
> 1BTC-on-statechain, giving you 0.11568768 BTC:
>     [funding tx]->1BTC(SE)-+  (onchain)
>     _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _|_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
>               (statechain) |
>                            +->[update
> mechanism]->1BTC(ZmnSCPxj)->[tx]-+->0.11568768BTC(bsm117532)
>  +->0.88431232BTC(ZmnSCPxj)
> The statechain verifies that the tx I sent is valid, then outputs the next
> state as below:
>     [funding tx]->1BTC(SE)-+  (onchain)
>     _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _|_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
>               (statechain) |
>                            +->[update
> mechanism]-+->0.11568768BTC(bsm117532)
>                                                  +->0.88431232BTC(ZmnSCPxj)
> In short, statechains can be implemented as a sort of
> super-transaction-cutthrough system.
> This prevents the onchain UTXO from having a single logical owner, of
> course, so onchain it is the statechain entity that owns the entire fund,
> but if you are trusting the statechain entity anyway, the update mechanism
> is sufficient to ensure that nobody (other than the trusted statechain) can
> prevent the publication of the latest accepted state.
> This is probably significantly more efficient than splitting up the 1BTC
> value to multiple lots.
> I think this framework will work for all offchain mechanisms (CoinSwap,
> Lightning, statechains), by the way --- you can always view the offchain
> update mechanism as logically implementing a "new" cryptocurrency system
> that maintains UTXO sets and allows removal and insertion of UTXO sets
> according to the same rules (sans relative-locktime) as the hosting
> cryptocurrency system (i.e. the blockchain).
> The same realization is what underlies channel factories as well --- the
> hosting cryptocurrency system need not be a blockchain, it can be just
> another cryptocurrency system (of which a blockchain is just one kind).
> My understanding is that the original description, which describes
> transferring the entire value inside the statechain to a new owner, was
> only for exposition and that it was an exercise for the reader to consider
> how a statechain can internally split the total value among multiple UTXOs.
> Regards,
> ZmnSCPxj
> _______________________________________________
> bitcoin-dev mailing list
> bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org
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