[bitcoin-dev] [Lightning-dev] Removing the Dust Limit

Billy Tetrud billy.tetrud at gmail.com
Tue Aug 10 00:30:02 UTC 2021

> 5) should we ever do confidential transactions we can't prevent it without compromising
privacy / allowed transfers

I wanted to mention the dubiousness of adding confidential transactions to
bitcoin. Because adding CT would eliminate the ability for users to audit
the supply of Bitcoin, I think its incredibly unlikely to ever happen. I'm
in the camp that we shouldn't do anything that prevents people from
auditing the supply. I think that camp is probably pretty large. Regardless
of what I think should happen there, and even if CT were to eventually
happen in bitcoin, I don't think that future possibility is a good reason
to change the dust limit today.

It seems like dust is a scalability problem regardless of whether we use
Utreexo eventually or not, tho an accumulator would help a ton. One idea
would be to destroy/delete dust at some point in the future. However, even
if we were to plan to do this, I still don't think the dust limit should be
removed. But the dust limit should probably be lowered a bit, given that
the 546 sats limit is about 7 cents and its very doable to send 1 sat/vbyte
transactions, so lowering it to 200 sats seems reasonable.

On Mon, Aug 9, 2021 at 6:24 AM Antoine Riard via bitcoin-dev <
bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:

> I'm pretty conservative about increasing the standard dust limit in any
> way. This would convert a higher percentage of LN channels capacity into
> dust, which is coming with a lowering of funds safety [0]. Of course, we
> can adjust the LN security model around dust handling to mitigate the
> safety risk in case of adversarial settings, but ultimately the standard
> dust limit creates a  "hard" bound, and as such it introduces a trust
> vector in the reliability of your peer to not goes
> onchain with a commitment heavily-loaded with dust-HTLC you own.
> LN node operators might be willingly to compensate this "dust" trust
> vector by relying on side-trust model, such as PKI to authenticate their
> peers or API tokens (LSATs, PoW tokens), probably not free from
> consequences for the "openness" of the LN topology...
> Further, I think any authoritative setting of the dust limit presents the
> risk of becoming ill-adjusted  w.r.t to market realities after a few months
> or years, and would need periodic reevaluations. Those reevaluations, if
> not automated, would become a vector of endless dramas and bikeshedding as
> the L2s ecosystems grow bigger...
> Note, this would also constrain the design space of newer fee schemes.
> Such as negotiated-with-mining-pool and discounted consolidation during low
> feerate periods deployed by such producers of low-value outputs.
> `
> Moreover as an operational point, if we proceed to such an increase on the
> base-layer, e.g to 20 sat/vb, we're going to severely damage the
> propagation of any LN transaction, where a commitment transaction is built
> with less than 20 sat/vb outputs. Of course, core's policy deployment on
> the base layer is gradual, but we should first give a time window for the
> LN ecosystem to upgrade and as of today we're still devoid of the mechanism
> to do it cleanly and asynchronously (e.g dynamic upgrade or quiescence
> protocol [1]).
> That said, as raised by other commentators, I don't deny we have a
> long-term tension between L2 nodes and full-nodes operators about the UTXO
> set growth, but for now I would rather solve this with smarter engineering
> such as utreexo on the base-layer side or multi-party shared-utxo or
> compressed colored coins/authentication smart contracts (e.g
> opentimestamp's merkle tree in OP_RETURN) on the upper layers rather than
> altering the current equilibrium.
> I think the status quo is good enough for now, and I believe we would be
> better off to learn from another development cycle before tweaking the dust
> limit in any sense.
> Antoine
> [0]
> https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/lightning-dev/2020-May/002714.html
> [1] https://github.com/lightningnetwork/lightning-rfc/pull/869
> Le dim. 8 août 2021 à 14:53, Jeremy <jlrubin at mit.edu> a écrit :
>> We should remove the dust limit from Bitcoin. Five reasons:
>> 1) it's not our business what outputs people want to create
>> 2) dust outputs can be used in various authentication/delegation smart
>> contracts
>> 3) dust sized htlcs in lightning (
>> https://bitcoin.stackexchange.com/questions/46730/can-you-send-amounts-that-would-typically-be-considered-dust-through-the-light)
>> force channels to operate in a semi-trusted mode which has implications
>> (AFAIU) for the regulatory classification of channels in various
>> jurisdictions; agnostic treatment of fund transfers would simplify this
>> (like getting a 0.01 cent dividend check in the mail)
>> 4) thinly divisible colored coin protocols might make use of sats as
>> value markers for transactions.
>> 5) should we ever do confidential transactions we can't prevent it
>> without compromising privacy / allowed transfers
>> The main reasons I'm aware of not allow dust creation is that:
>> 1) dust is spam
>> 2) dust fingerprinting attacks
>> 1 is (IMO) not valid given the 5 reasons above, and 2 is preventable by
>> well behaved wallets to not redeem outputs that cost more in fees than they
>> are worth.
>> cheers,
>> jeremy
>> --
>> @JeremyRubin <https://twitter.com/JeremyRubin>
>> <https://twitter.com/JeremyRubin>
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