We will start with introductions, some basic ground rules, and jump into technical discussions. We will cover aspects of the bitcoin protocol, new research developments, recent news, and software developments.
Please note the meeting location at 4801 Glenwood Ave suite 200 in Raleigh, right above Fifth Third Bank.
Brandon Black aka reardencode published a historical review of changes to bitcoin’s carefully balanced incentive model. He explains the witness discount, how it works, and why a weighted combined byte limit was chosen. Black also addresses a common talking points by pointing out that the taproot upgrade was not an incentive change, did not unlock inscriptions, and how inscription data has an extremely low computational cost for node runners. He concludes that the solution to high fees is not to undo changes to the incentive model but instead to increase the economic density of bitcoin transactions with technologies like lightning, off-chain signature aggregation, ark, and DLCs.
Ben Carman wrote a thorough and realistic stacker news post examining the shortcomings of the lightning network. He points his finger squarely at offline receiving and channel liquidity as the biggest hurdles to mass adoption but also dives deep on the proposed solutions to these problems and the problems with the solutions. Are you still with me? Great, because at the end of the article it gets really good. Carman explains that the fundamental scaling problem with lightning is that it only scales payments but not UTXO ownership. We can work around the edges of this problem with various federated solutions like fedimint or Liquid but in order to scale self-sovereign bitcoin access to the masses of humanity we will need better tools for shared UTXO ownership. Those tools are broadly categorized as covenants.
Brandon Black opened a draft PR to the bitcoin repository proposing a collection of three BIPs that Black is calling LNHANCE. The three BIPs were chosen to enable output restricting covenants and LN-symmetry. The proposal has garnered a lot of discussion on the pull request as well as on the Delving Bitcoin post. Perhaps the best concise explanation was from this twitter thread, copied below:
OP_CHECKTEMPLATEVERIFY (CTV, BIP119) lets a recipient of bitcoin restrict the next outputs that bitcoin can be sent to (possibly combined with a time lock or other restriction). This can be use to build a some types of vaults, also Timeout Trees and Ark.
OP_CHECKSIGFROMSTACK(VERIFY) (CSFS) allows for owners of bitcoin to delegate control to another key, or make specific parts of their locking script signature-dynamic (e.g. a lock time which can be changed by signature). When combined with CTV, enables LN-Symmetry and simplified PTLCs.
OP_INTERNALKEY (IKEY) makes certain Tapscript constructions more efficient, and allows users of Taproot key paths to enable additional ways of signing with their root key. This can be used in lightning and other protocols to reduce on chain costs.
Some guy does it again! Another inscription whitepaper drop describing a novel technique to upload encrypted files to the bitcoin blockchain using recursive inscriptions. The file can be broken up into multiple chunks spread across multiple bitcoin blocks and decrypted once the corresponding private key is revealed in a later transaction. This technique can be used in combination with a timelock to create a dead man’s switch. It’s good to see cypherpunks leveraging bitcoin’s native file storage protocol to do cypherpunk things. Rock on! 🤘
In a totally unrelated development some other guy details the technical design enabling a collection of evolving inscriptions called Quantum Cats.