On Thu, Apr 18, 2013 at 11:28:48AM +0200, Mike Hearn wrote:
> Let's include bandwidth. Say the contract (multi-sig input + the outputs)
> is about 700 bytes. 43,200 transactions is then about 29 megabytes of data.
> On a fairly normal 10mbit connection that would take about 23 seconds to
> transfer. Of course the real number is a bit higher because of latency
> introduced by the inv/tx round-tripping. So the time window of the attack
> is dominated by bandwidth but it's still quite small compared to the block
> solving window.

Mike, for the love of god, it's not acceptable to require Bitcoin
validating and mining nodes to buy unlimited bandwidth. The attacker
just has to spend more outgoing bandwidth than some fraction of the
network hashing power has incoming bandwidth (individually speaking) for
convergence to fail.

But anyway, as I said in my follow up email, with correct prioritization
it's probably a tractable problem.

> It's *easily* DoSable, not trivially.
> >
> What I meant is - find some open DNS resolvers, start firing packets at
> testnet nodes, done. You don't have to do protocol level attacks to just
> render nodes useless.

Testnet has 40 nodes online right now that can be seen by my seeder. To
shut down all those nodes with a standard DoS attack would take at least
40 times more bandwidth than required by a tx-replacement DoS attack.

> Having a single multi-sig input means you can't do that because both
> parties co-operate to update the single input, but schemes that use
> multiple inputs do seem posible.

You can always add dummy inputs.

> > How exactly do you envision replacement working with non-final ==
> > non-standard anyway?
> >
> As I said at the bottom of my second mail, it means making non-final
> transactions relayable again, but only to nodes that advertise a high
> enough version number. Those nodes are expected to do something intelligent
> with them, like just not put them in the wallet (unless the user has opted
> in and ticked the "i know what i'm doing" box, perhaps).

Well, all that making them relayable enables is letting all parties to a
transaction be offline when the nLockTime expires, so I'm not really
sure it's worth doing, at least immediately. Weakening the non-final ==
non-standard test to give a window of, say, 3 blocks, would be fine I

> Well, it depends on your use case - you need to cast the (fixed) algorithm
> into a network protocol, manage the interactions between the parties,
> monitor the network for malicious broadcasts so you can replace them, fix
> the code so the wallets don't accept non-final transactions except when
> taking part in your contract, etc. If you do it all with Bitcoin-Qt it's
> easier but then your app can't easily run in places that can't afford a few
> hundred megs of ram (like wifi hotspots). The devil is in the details.

The whole point of tx-replacement by fee is that the algorithm doesn't
need to be fixed. It makes it very clear that unconfirmed transactions
aren't trustworthy, and levels the playing field between you and people
posessing lots of hashing power. Nodes can independently choose their
replacement policy and the system still works. It also makes adjusting
fees after the fact easy, again, functionality that we really need right

John's adjusting micropayments proposal would work best in conjuction
with some reputation stuff, like buying a fidelity bond promising you
will play nice with tx replacement. Implementing such bonds is a bit
subtle, because random chance can cause an earlier tx to be mined rather
than a latter, but you can, for instance, rebut accusations of fraud in
that case by simply creating an additional tx that pays the full amount
if a partial tx accidentally gets mined. Come to think of it, such a
system could be useful for inter-bank settlement, providing a security
guarantee somewhere between a standard transaction and a fully off-chain
transaction, at the cost of a single transaction fee.

More importantly, it's not subject to sudden "oh shit, slush's pool got
hacked and is doing double spends!" disasters. People should not be
trusting multiple mining pools run by individuals as hobbies on insecure
VPS services with the security of their payments, and zero-conf
transactions do exactly that. Not to mention the ~25% of hashing power
controlled by parties of unknown origin.


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