On Fri, Feb 08, 2013 at 11:03:54AM +0100, Timo Hanke wrote:
> First, we have drafted a quite general specification for bitcoin certificates 
> (protobuf messages) that allow for a variety of payment protocols (e.g. 
> static as well as customer-side-generated payment addresses).
> This part has surely been done elsewhere as well and is orthogonal to the 
> goal of this project.
> What is new here is the signatures _under_ the certificates.
> We have patched the bitcoind to handle certificates, submit signatures to the 
> blockchain, verify certificates against the blockchain, pay directly to 
> certificates (with various payment methods), revoke certificates.
> Signatures in the blockchain are stored entirely in the UTXO set (i.e. the 
> unspend, unprunable outputs). 
> This seems to make signature lookup and verification reasonably fast: 
> it took us 10s in the mainnet test we performed (lookup is instant on the 
> testnet, of course).

Why don't you use namecoin or another alt-chain for this?

The UTXO set is the most expensive part of the blockchain because it
must be stored in memory with fast access times. It's good that you have
designed the system so that the addresses can be revoked, removing them
from the UTXO set, but it still will encourage the exact same type of
ugly squatting behavior we've already seen with first-bits, and again
it'll have a significant cost to the network going forward for purposes
that do not need to be done on the block chain.

In https://github.com/bcpki/bitcoin/wiki/Technical you say that you have
a minimum amount required for an outpoint to be valid, set at 0.05BTC.
That's a nice touch, and sort of works because this is a consensus
protocol, but if the exchange rate climbs significantly there will be a
lot of pressure to reduce that value. (setting minimum value by chain
height) What will happen then is there will be a mad rush to squat on
previously unaffordable domains, further disrupting Bitcoin's purpose as
a financial network.

In addition you'll also have a second problem: squatting of subsequent
transactions, particularly for valuable bcvalues. Basically if someone
already has "microsoft" insert bcvalues after their tx in case they
accidentally spend it. Of course, this will be done by people buying
bcvalues as well. Again, all this further clogs up the UTXO set.

I also can't figure out why you say signature lookup and verification
takes 10s - this should be an O(1) operation if you maintain a mapping
of candidate pubkeys to linked-lists of sorted applicable transactions.

Finally, why is this implemented within the reference client? Use the
raw transaction API and make up your own database. If you want, create a
RPC command that allows you to query the UTXO set directly; this would
be a useful feature to have. This patch will never be accepted to the
reference client, so you'll just wind up having to maintain a fork. Even
for a prototype this approach is ill-advised - prototypes have a bad way
of turning into production code.

In short, please don't do this.


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