[bitcoin-dev] Taproot activation meeting 2 - Tuesday 16th February 19:00 UTC

Michael Folkson michaelfolkson at gmail.com
Fri Feb 5 12:43:57 UTC 2021


A summary of the first Taproot activation meeting (February 3rd) is here:
https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-dev/2021-February/018379.html


It appears there is one (hopefully) last stumbling block before we are
ready to propose Taproot activation parameters to the mailing list.


Hence we are organizing a follow up meeting on IRC on the
##taproot-activation channel on Tuesday 16th February at 19:00 UTC.


As I said in the summary of the first Taproot activation meeting whether
lockinontimeout (LOT) is set to true or false in a Bitcoin Core release
attracted discussion during the meeting and has continued to attract
discussion afterwards.


I will weigh up the arguments I have seen for both true and false here. I
won’t comment on the strength of the arguments, merely attempt to summarize
them. Any errors are my own.


Arguments for setting lockinontimeout (LOT) to true in a Core release

T1) This entirely eradicates the possibility (however unlikely) that
Taproot fails to activate within a year. Although approximately 90 percent
of mining pools have already pledged to activate Taproot there is no reason
to open the door to possible delays and political shenanigans for no
reason, however unlikely.

T2) Given users can change LOT=true at any point (and some have declared
they will be setting LOT=true regardless), setting LOT=false in Core opens
up edge case scenarios where different proportions of users on the network
change to LOT=true at different points in time in an uncoordinated fashion.
Given the end state we all want is Taproot activated it doesn’t make sense
to open the door to these edge cases. Setting LOT=true in Core would mean
there is no motivation for users to change LOT in the software they are
running.

T3) We should not be putting users in a place where they feel they need to
change LOT. The urge to change LOT will be strong if miners delay for an
unreasonable period. We are then in a situation where a decision has to be
made on whether Core releases a new version with LOT=true and this whole
discussion kicks off again. We should definitely seek to avoid the need to
rehash this discussion later in the year.

T4) LOT is only relevant if miners fail to activate. It doesn’t make sense
to set it to false as that is essentially saying if miners fail to activate
early, LOT should also let them not activate.

T5) Activation should only be attempted once community consensus for the
soft fork has been reached. Miner signaling is not voting for the changes,
it is signaling readiness. There is no reasonable rationale for not being
ready within a year.

T6) An argument belcher outlined on IRC. If LOT was set to true and a chain
split happened then the Taproot chain doesn’t have wipeout risk so there’s
a really strong incentive to be on the Taproot activating LOT=true chain
and therefore using LOT=true means the risk of a chain split is actually
lower.



Arguments for setting lockinontimeout (LOT) to false in a Core release

F1) The probability of Taproot not being activated by miners is small. This
is not 2017, this is not SegWit, there is no need to worry.

F2) The worst case scenario is we have to wait over a year for Taproot to
be activated. Even the worst case scenario is not a disaster.

F3) If in the unlikely scenario miners did not activate Taproot for a year
for no apparent reason we would never set LOT to false again for any
potential future soft fork. If miners fail to activate Taproot despite
pledging support and there being overwhelming community consensus for it,
it would set a precedent that miners cannot be relied upon *at all* to
activate soft forks.

F4) If in the highly unlikely scenario that a bug or some problem with the
Taproot implementation was found during the signaling period miners could
choose not to activate it which is cleaner than needing an emergency Core
release.


Then some additional arguments nullc posted on Reddit

https://old.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/lcjhl6/taproot_activation_pools_will_be_able_to_veto/gm2l02w/

F5) LOT = false is more similar to what was done previously (unless you go
way back to the earliest soft forks which were more similar to LOT = true)

F6) It is more important that no rules that harm users are deployed than it
is that new useful rules are deployed quickly. If there is a choice between
“faster” and “more clear that this isn’t a mechanism to force bad things on
users” we should prefer the latter. Plenty of people just don’t like
LOT=true very much absent evidence that miners are blocking deployment. To
some it just feels needlessly antagonistic and distrusting towards part of
our community.


There are some additional parameters other than LOT we will discuss in this
meeting such as activation threshold, start time etc but personally I don’t
think they will attract the same discussion as LOT.


As I’ve stated before please continue to engage productively and in good
faith. I can see arguments with merit on both sides of the LOT discussion
but there appears to be overwhelming consensus that Taproot is activated
this year and there appears to be no reason it shouldn’t be. This
discussion on LOT really should not derail that.

-- 
Michael Folkson
Email: michaelfolkson at gmail.com
Keybase: michaelfolkson
PGP: 43ED C999 9F85 1D40 EAF4 9835 92D6 0159 214C FEE3
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