Discussion:
Amend the BIP 123 process to include buried deployments
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Marco Falke via bitcoin-dev
2018-02-14 22:01:46 UTC
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I define a buried deployment as a consensus rule change that affects
validity of blocks that are buried by a sufficiently large number of
blocks in the current valid most-work chain, but the current block
(and all its parents) remain valid.

BIP 123 suggests that BIPs in the consensus layer should be assigned a
label "soft fork" or "hard fork". However, I think the differentiation
into soft fork or hard fork should not be made for BIPs that document
buried deployments. In contrast to soft forks and hard forks, buried
deployments do not require community and miner coordination for a safe
deployment.

For a chain fork to happen due to a buried deployment, a massive chain
reorganization must be produced off of a block in the very past. In
the extremely unlikely event of such a large chain reorganization,
Bitcoin's general security assumptions would be violated regardless of
the presence of a buried deployment.
Luke Dashjr via bitcoin-dev
2018-02-14 22:11:42 UTC
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Post by Marco Falke via bitcoin-dev
BIP 123 suggests that BIPs in the consensus layer should be assigned a
label "soft fork" or "hard fork". However, I think the differentiation
into soft fork or hard fork should not be made for BIPs that document
buried deployments. In contrast to soft forks and hard forks, buried
deployments do not require community and miner coordination for a safe
deployment.
They also do not require software coordination. Therefore, why should there be
BIPs at all? Seems to me that we should instead add these documents to
https://github.com/bitcoin-core/docs

That being said, I'm also okay with just adding an Annex to the original
softfork/hardfork BIP describing each shortcut. It just seems annoying to have
two BIPs for every protocol change: one for the change itself, and then
another for implementation-specific shortcuts taken.

Luke
Gregory Maxwell via bitcoin-dev
2018-02-14 22:20:31 UTC
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On Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 10:11 PM, Luke Dashjr via bitcoin-dev
Post by Luke Dashjr via bitcoin-dev
Post by Marco Falke via bitcoin-dev
BIP 123 suggests that BIPs in the consensus layer should be assigned a
label "soft fork" or "hard fork". However, I think the differentiation
into soft fork or hard fork should not be made for BIPs that document
buried deployments. In contrast to soft forks and hard forks, buried
deployments do not require community and miner coordination for a safe
deployment.
They also do not require software coordination. Therefore, why should there be
BIPs at all? Seems to me that we should instead add these documents to
https://github.com/bitcoin-core/docs
In that sense, no but they help people understand the system (e.g. so
they don't go look at implementations and confuse that the activations
they expect are simply not there); and they aid other implementations
in understanding what other people have already analyzed and concluded
was safe. You could certainly get an analysis wrong for one of these
things.
Eric Voskuil via bitcoin-dev
2018-02-14 23:57:10 UTC
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Post by Marco Falke via bitcoin-dev
I define a buried deployment as a consensus rule change that affects
validity of blocks that are buried by a sufficiently large number of
blocks in the current valid most-work chain,
Sufficient for what, specifically?
Post by Marco Falke via bitcoin-dev
but the current block (and all its parents) remain valid.
Remain valid in the case where the depth assumption is "sufficient" to
ensure that a chain split is not possible?

If this was true (which it is not), it would imply that there is no
reason to validate any block deeper than the most recent 25,000.
Presumably this means that people may continuously rely on some
authority (like Bitcoin Core?) to determine the checkpoint for tip-25,000.
Post by Marco Falke via bitcoin-dev
BIP 123 suggests that BIPs in the consensus layer should be assigned a
label "soft fork" or "hard fork". However, I think the differentiation
into soft fork or hard fork should not be made for BIPs that document
buried deployments. In contrast to soft forks and hard forks, buried
deployments do not require community and miner coordination for a safe
deployment.
They can only avoid this requirement based on the assumption that the
hard fork cannot result in a chain split. This is not the case.
Post by Marco Falke via bitcoin-dev
For a chain fork to happen due to a buried deployment, a massive chain
reorganization must be produced off of a block in the very past.
In other words a "buried deployment" is a hard fork that is not likely
to cause a chain split. This is a subjective subcategory of hard fork,
not an independent category - unless maybe you can show that there is
the 25,000 blocks number is an objective threshold.
Post by Marco Falke via bitcoin-dev
In the extremely unlikely event of such a large chain reorganization,
Bitcoin's general security assumptions would be violated regardless of
the presence of a buried deployment.
This is untrue. The "security assumptions" of Bitcoin do not preclude
deep reorganizations.

e
Marco Falke via bitcoin-dev
2018-02-18 18:57:03 UTC
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Post by Luke Dashjr via bitcoin-dev
They also do not require software coordination. Therefore, why should there be
BIPs at all? Seems to me that we should instead add these documents to
https://github.com/bitcoin-core/docs
Consensus is not trivial. I think documentation is important, even if
it seems simple to some.
Personally, I don't care too much where to place the documentation,
but the BIPs repo seems a good place, since it also hosts other
informational documents.

To prevent "two BIPs for every protocol change", related buried
deployments could be bundled. E.g. the ISM BIP 90 change.
Post by Luke Dashjr via bitcoin-dev
Post by Marco Falke via bitcoin-dev
I define a buried deployment as a consensus rule change that affects
validity of blocks that are buried by a sufficiently large number of
blocks in the current valid most-work chain,
Sufficient for what, specifically?
Sufficiently large to prevent potential bike-shedding. The expected
number of blocks in two weeks could be considered a lower bound. Then
multiply that by 10 or 20.
Post by Luke Dashjr via bitcoin-dev
Post by Marco Falke via bitcoin-dev
but the current block (and all its parents) remain valid.
Remain valid in the case where the depth assumption is "sufficient" to
ensure that a chain split is not possible?
If this was true (which it is not), it would imply that there is no
reason to validate any block deeper than the most recent 25,000.
Presumably this means that people may continuously rely on some
authority (like Bitcoin Core?) to determine the checkpoint for tip-25,000.
Note that a checkpoint *freezes* the chain completely at a given
height. Buried deployments are *not* checkpoints.

Also note that buried deployments only make sense after a protocol
upgrade has happened (i.e. a soft fork or hard fork). If a miner has
the resources to cause a chain split, they could trivially do that
even in the complete absence of buried deployments. Buried deployments
are *not* a solution to 50% attacks.
Post by Luke Dashjr via bitcoin-dev
Post by Marco Falke via bitcoin-dev
BIP 123 suggests that BIPs in the consensus layer should be assigned a
label "soft fork" or "hard fork". However, I think the differentiation
into soft fork or hard fork should not be made for BIPs that document
buried deployments. In contrast to soft forks and hard forks, buried
deployments do not require community and miner coordination for a safe
deployment.
They can only avoid this requirement based on the assumption that the
hard fork cannot result in a chain split. This is not the case.
Post by Marco Falke via bitcoin-dev
For a chain fork to happen due to a buried deployment, a massive chain
reorganization must be produced off of a block in the very past.
In other words a "buried deployment" is a hard fork that is not likely
to cause a chain split. This is a subjective subcategory of hard fork,
not an independent category - unless maybe you can show that there is
the 25,000 blocks number is an objective threshold.
Please note that a buried deployment can very well be a soft fork. I
think this makes it even clearer, that such a label makes no sense for
buried deployments.
Post by Luke Dashjr via bitcoin-dev
Post by Marco Falke via bitcoin-dev
In the extremely unlikely event of such a large chain reorganization,
Bitcoin's general security assumptions would be violated regardless of
the presence of a buried deployment.
This is untrue. The "security assumptions" of Bitcoin do not preclude
deep reorganizations.
e
Eric Voskuil via bitcoin-dev
2018-02-21 17:27:53 UTC
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Post by Marco Falke via bitcoin-dev
Post by Luke Dashjr via bitcoin-dev
They also do not require software coordination. Therefore, why should there be
BIPs at all? Seems to me that we should instead add these documents to
https://github.com/bitcoin-core/docs
Consensus is not trivial. I think documentation is important, even if
it seems simple to some.
Personally, I don't care too much where to place the documentation,
but the BIPs repo seems a good place, since it also hosts other
informational documents.
To prevent "two BIPs for every protocol change", related buried
deployments could be bundled. E.g. the ISM BIP 90 change.
You seem to have missed the point. Either the "buried deployment" is a
consensus rule, and requires a BIP, or it is not a consensus rule, and
does not warrant a BIP.

You are arguing that it is not a consensus rule, yet requires a BIP. You
also strongly imply that it is a consensus rule ("consensus is important").

If it is a consensus rule it is either a hard fork (valid tx set
expansion) or a soft fork (valid tx set contraction). You are attempting
to create an independent category that violates this clear engineering
definition. The category you desire is actually a subcategory of hard
fork (employing an arbitrary threshold for likelihood of causing a chain
split).
Post by Marco Falke via bitcoin-dev
Post by Luke Dashjr via bitcoin-dev
Post by Marco Falke via bitcoin-dev
I define a buried deployment as a consensus rule change that affects
validity of blocks that are buried by a sufficiently large number of
blocks in the current valid most-work chain,
Sufficient for what, specifically?
Sufficiently large to prevent potential bike-shedding. The expected
number of blocks in two weeks could be considered a lower bound. Then
multiply that by 10 or 20.
The arbitrary threshold. It seems it could be anything. Such a
definition has no clear *engineering* usefulness.
Post by Marco Falke via bitcoin-dev
Post by Luke Dashjr via bitcoin-dev
Post by Marco Falke via bitcoin-dev
but the current block (and all its parents) remain valid.
Remain valid in the case where the depth assumption is "sufficient" to
ensure that a chain split is not possible?
If this was true (which it is not), it would imply that there is no
reason to validate any block deeper than the most recent 25,000.
Presumably this means that people may continuously rely on some
authority (like Bitcoin Core?) to determine the checkpoint for tip-25,000.
Note that a checkpoint *freezes* the chain completely at a given
height. Buried deployments are *not* checkpoints.
You are arguing a point that I did not make. The issue is that you argue
a "buried deployment" hard fork cannot create a chain split. This itself
implies that the chain is "frozen" at the depth below which the chain
cannot be split. In other words, by accepting your logic, we must
conclude there is no reason whatsoever to validate the chain prior to
that depth. This would lead to the conclusion that check-pointing the
chain to that depth is always sufficient validation.
Post by Marco Falke via bitcoin-dev
Also note that buried deployments only make sense after a protocol
upgrade has happened (i.e. a soft fork or hard fork). If a miner has
the resources to cause a chain split, they could trivially do that
even in the complete absence of buried deployments. Buried deployments
are *not* a solution to 50% attacks.
Not sure why you are making this obvious but seemingly-irrelevant point.
Post by Marco Falke via bitcoin-dev
Post by Luke Dashjr via bitcoin-dev
Post by Marco Falke via bitcoin-dev
BIP 123 suggests that BIPs in the consensus layer should be assigned a
label "soft fork" or "hard fork". However, I think the differentiation
into soft fork or hard fork should not be made for BIPs that document
buried deployments. In contrast to soft forks and hard forks, buried
deployments do not require community and miner coordination for a safe
deployment.
They can only avoid this requirement based on the assumption that the
hard fork cannot result in a chain split. This is not the case.
Post by Marco Falke via bitcoin-dev
For a chain fork to happen due to a buried deployment, a massive chain
reorganization must be produced off of a block in the very past.
In other words a "buried deployment" is a hard fork that is not likely
to cause a chain split. This is a subjective subcategory of hard fork,
not an independent category - unless maybe you can show that there is
the 25,000 blocks number is an objective threshold.
Please note that a buried deployment can very well be a soft fork. I
think this makes it even clearer, that such a label makes no sense for
buried deployments.
No, it cannot. Removal of an activated soft fork (valid tx set
contraction) is a hard fork (valid tx set expansion), and a new
activation rule for an active soft fork creates a path to that removal.
Given this error you may want to reconsider your proposal.
Post by Marco Falke via bitcoin-dev
Post by Luke Dashjr via bitcoin-dev
Post by Marco Falke via bitcoin-dev
In the extremely unlikely event of such a large chain reorganization,
Bitcoin's general security assumptions would be violated regardless of
the presence of a buried deployment.
This is untrue. The "security assumptions" of Bitcoin do not preclude
deep reorganizations.
e
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