[bitcoin-dev] PSA: Taproot loss of quantum protections

Robert Spigler RobertSpigler at protonmail.ch
Mon Mar 15 22:30:35 UTC 2021

I agree with Matt.

The naked pubkey is required for some of the benefits being implemented (snicker coinjoins).

Even with pubkey hashes, bitcoin could still be stolen because the pubkey is published on spend.  Regardless, QC needs to be fixed later on (decades), and shouldn't be a reason to NACK taproot.

Personal Fingerprint:  BF0D 3C08 A439 5AC6 11C1 5395 B70B 4A77 F850 548F

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
On Monday, March 15, 2021 6:05 PM, Matt Corallo via bitcoin-dev <bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:

> There have been many threads on this before, I'm not sure anything new has been brought up here.
> Matt
> On 3/15/21 17:48, Luke Dashjr via bitcoin-dev wrote:
> > I do not personally see this as a reason to NACK Taproot, but it has become
> > clear to me over the past week or so that many others are unaware of this
> > tradeoff, so I am sharing it here to ensure the wider community is aware of
> > it and can make their own judgements.
> Note that this is most definitelynot news to this list, eg, Anthony brought it up in "Schnorr and taproot (etc)
> upgrade" and there was a whole thread on it in "Taproot: Privacy preserving switchable scripting". This issue has been
> beaten to death, I'm not sure why we need to keep hitting the poor horse corpse.
> > In short, Taproot loses an important safety protection against quantum.
> > Note that in all circumstances, Bitcoin is endangered when QC becomes a
> > reality, but pre-Taproot, it is possible for the network to "pause" while a
> > full quantum-safe fix is developed, and then resume transacting. With Taproot
> > as-is, it could very well become an unrecoverable situation if QC go online
> > prior to having a full quantum-safe solution.
> This has been discussed ad nauseam, and it all seems to fall apart once its noted just how much Bitcoin could be stolen
> by any QC-wielding attacker due to address reuse. Ultimately, no "pause" can solve this issue, and, if we learned about
> a QC attacker overnight (instead of slowly over time), there isn't anything that a non-Taproot Bitcoin could do that a
> Taproot Bitcoin couldn't.
> > Also, what I didn't know myself until today, is that we do not actually gain
> > anything from this: the features proposed to make use of the raw keys being
> > public prior to spending can be implemented with hashed keys as well.
> > It would use significantly more CPU time and bandwidth (between private
> > parties, not on-chain), but there should be no shortage of that for anyone
> > running a full node (indeed, CPU time is freed up by Taproot!); at worst, it
> > would create an incentive for more people to use their own full node, which
> > is a good thing!
> This is untrue. The storage space required for Taproot transactions is materially reduced by avoiding the hash indirection.
> > Despite this, I still don't think it's a reason to NACK Taproot: it should be
> > fairly trivial to add a hash on top in an additional softfork and fix this.
> For the reason stated above, i think such a fork is unlikely.
> > In addition to the points made by Mark, I also want to add two more, in
> > response to Pieter's "you can't claim much security if 37% of the supply is
> > at risk" argument. This argument is based in part on the fact that many
> > people reuse Bitcoin invoice addresses.
> > First, so long as we have hash-based addresses as a best practice, we can
> > continue to shrink the percentage of bitcoins affected through social efforts
> > discouraging address use. If the standard loses the hash, the situation
> > cannot be improved, and will indeed only get worse.
> I truly wish this were the case, but we've been beating that drum for at least nine years and still haven't solved it.
> Worse, there's a lot of old coins that are unlikely to move any time soon that are exposed whether we like it or not.
> > Second, when/if quantum does compromise these coins, so long as they are
> > neglected or abandoned/lost coins (inherent in the current model), it can be
> > seen as equivalent to Bitcoin mining. At the end of the day, 37% of supply
> > minable by QCs is really no different than 37% minable by ASICs. (We've seen
> > far higher %s available for mining obviously.)
> Except its not? One entity would be able to steal that entire block of supply rather quickly (presumably over the course
> of a few days, at maximum), instead of a slow process with significant upfront real-world cost in the form of electricity.
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