First of all, I added more info to bitcointalk.org:
On Sat, Jun 13, 2015 at 2:39 PM, Pieter Wuille <pieter.wui...@gmail.com>
> In your proposal, transactions go to a chain based the addresses involved.
> We can reasonably assume that different people's wallet will tend to be
> distributed uniformly over several sidechains to hold their transactions
> (if they're not, there is no scaling benefit anyway...). That means that
> for an average transaction, you will need a cross-chain transfer in order
> to get the money to the recipient (as their wallet will usually be
> associated to a chain that is different from your own). Either you use an
> atomic swap (which actually means you end up briefly with coins in the
> destination chain, and require multiple transactions and a medium delay),
> or you use the 2way peg transfer mechanism (which is very slow, and reduces
> the security the recipient has to SPV).
> Whatever you do, the result will be that most transactions are:
> * Slower (a bit, or a lot, depending on what mechanism you use).
> * More complex, with more failure modes.
> * Require more and larger transactions (causing a total net extra load on
> all verifiers together).
> And either:
> * Less secure (because you rely on a third party to do an atomic swap
> with, or because of the 2 way peg transfer mechanism which has SPV security)
> * Doesn't offer any scaling benefit (because the recipient needs to fully
> validate both his own and the receiver chain).
> In short, you have not added any scaling at all, or reduced the security
> of the system significantly, as well as made it significantly less
> convenient to use.
> So no, sidechains are not a direct means for solving any of the scaling
> problems Bitcoin has. What they offer is a mechanism for easier
> experimentation, so that new technology can be built and tested without
> needing to introduce a new currency first (with the related speculative and
> network effect problems). That experimentation could eventually lead us to
> discover mechanisms for better scaling, or for more scalability/security
> tradeoffs (see for example the Witness Segregation that Elements Alpha has).
Thanks Pieter for your reply. The chain the transaction goes to does not
have to be based on the address (there can be a way for the protocol to
choose), but ya, the address scheme can be a good default. As I said, there
will be an incentive for empty chains to fill up since they will require
less fees (so the scaling benefit isn't dependent on a uniform distribution
The rule I mentioned is that at most 2 different chains can be involved in
one transaction. From a chain to itself is easy. From a parent or
grandparent chain to its child or grandchild chain, is also easy since the
child/grandchild always trusts its parent/grandparent. From a
child/grandchild to parent/grandparent, is also easy (no delay) since the
parent/grandparent will commit to its children (which recursively commit to
their children). As mentioned I am just doing a form of block extensions as
Adam Back described; the chains are not independent. From one chain to
another chain at the same level (sibling chains), the transaction is
recorded on both sibling chains (yes there is some duplication but this is
limited by requiring at most 2 sibling chains participating in a
transaction). They both have to be consistent and this will be ensured by
the miners of their parent chain (those miners will commit to their blocks).
So no, I don't see how it's slower, except that there needs to be some
delay for communication between children/grandchildren and
parents/grandparents, of time O(log n) where n is the number of levels.
Even a small number of levels corresponds to a large transaction volume: n
= 5 corresponds to the equivalent of 625 MB blocks.
Security-wise, it is true that the top level chain will likely have higher
security (more hash power), but at least you can fine tune the fees you pay
according to what level of security is acceptable to you, and as Bitcoin
grows, level 2,3,4 chains can be regarded as almost as secure as the level
1 chain, since there will still be a lot of hash power on them. And anyone
can run a full node on their chains of interest, so there is no SPV level
security here, it is full level security.
Transactions are not significantly different. Miners just have to deal with
child chains, but if there is a scaling benefit, we should not be scared of
complexity. It is probably the simplest way I can think of scaling.
The recipient will validate their own chain fully and will just need the
headers of the relevant parent chains to see whether an output from the
other chain involved in a transaction is really valid. They can also get
the headers of the sibling chain involved in the transaction if they want
to validate the work of the miners on these parent chains. They don't need
the full blocks of the parent and sibling chains involved since not all the
transactions in those blocks may be of interest to them, they just need
proof that any output used in their blocks of interest are valid, so that's
why the header-only SPV proof is sufficient. But yeah, typically a user
will have the full blocks of the parent and grandparent chains of the
chains they are interested in tracking, but it is not always necessary.
Also, in the bitcointalk forum I explain in more detail the mining
procedure and how to limit the extra traffic that may be caused on the
network in case this does get added as a soft fork and then later a new
better scaling method is invented that supercedes this.
But basically, for the mining, I think it should be merge-mined between
parent and direct children only. If all the chains are merge mining the
same root chain, then it would be bad for decentralization, right? But with
only direct parent and children merge mining, you can have smaller miners
on the lower (grand children) level chains and since they will need to
solve another hash problem than their grand parent chains, the grandparents
cannot solve blocks in the grand children chains (only the direct children).
So I still didn't hear a good argument against my proposal. I know Adam
Back's form of extension blocks is problematic because it still has the big
blocks, just at another level of chain, but just by partitioning his one 10
MB chain into 10 pieces, you get my idea, which I think solves the
scalability problem as well.
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