OP_CHECKTEMPLATEVERIFY has as soon as once more grow to be a focus within the dialog about enhancements to scale Bitcoin. This time round there are various extra various designs for covenants being proposed, and precise concrete designs that make use of CTV as scaling options (Timeout Bushes and Ark). The dialog has a a lot bigger depth of ideas to take into accounts, each when it comes to alternate options that may very well be adopted in addition to concrete proposals that CTV might allow.
One narrative circulating from the camp of individuals towards CTV is that “CTV doesn’t scale Bitcoin.” Let’s charitably interpret that to imply that CTV itself doesn’t scale Bitcoin, issues you may construct with it do. Nicely, then that isn’t a coherent argument. Segregated Witness didn’t scale Bitcoin. CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY and CHECKSEQUENCEVERIFY didn’t scale Bitcoin. However the Lightning Community, which these three proposals enabled, do scale Bitcoin. They add an enormous quantity of overhead for transactional throughput to develop past the constraints of the blockchain itself.
Lightning actually couldn’t exist with out these base layer primitives. The issue with Lightning although, is it solely scales the variety of transactions that may be processed. It doesn’t in any method assist enhance the scalability of possession over UTXOs, or enhance the variety of customers who can management one. Lightning is presently not able to doing that with its present design and the present set of consensus primitives out there in Bitcoin script.
CTV can change that.
UTXOs And Digital UTXOs
A part of the issue of Lightning’s shortcoming relating to scalability of Bitcoin possession is that with a view to open a channel, or management a UTXO, you truly need to transact on the bottom layer. After that Lightning can facilitate a really massive variety of transactions off-chain, however a person should nonetheless transact on-chain to onboard themselves to Lightning. It massively will increase the variety of transactions Bitcoin can course of, nevertheless it does nothing in any respect to extend the quantity of people that can personal bitcoin.
That is one other huge downside CTV may also help with. Burak coined the time period “virtual UTXO” for his Ark proposal, however I feel this terminology is an ideal basic time period helpful far past the context of Ark. A digital UTXO is one dedicated to being created sooner or later, by mechanisms like a pre-signed transaction, however that hasn’t truly been created on-chain but. Bitcoin doesn’t have the blockspace for everybody to create a single UTXO on the scale of the world inhabitants, however there may be positively potential for folks to have their very own impartial digital UTXO if the method of committing to these could be made scalable.
Scaling the creation of commitments to vUTXOs is the issue. Proper now there is no such thing as a method to create them besides by using pre-signed transactions, and this introduces a bottleneck that have to be addressed. The variety of vUTXOs any actual UTXO can decide to is bounded by the dimensions of the multisig set signing these transactions. To trustlessly create vUTXOs, the proprietor of each vUTXO have to be a part of the multisig key that’s signing the transactions that decide to creating them, in any other case they haven’t any assure that conflicting transactions won’t be generated that voids their potential to assert their vUTXO if needed. The issue of coordinating the signing of this between each member of the set introduces sensible issues that may in the end severely restrict the dimensions any pool of vUTXOs can develop to. The one different various is to have some trusted occasion or events signal the transactions committing to everybody’s vUTXOs, and easily trusting them to not steal these funds from the rightful house owners.
CTV gives an answer to each of those issues. By having the ability to non-interactively decide to a set of future transactions the identical method pre-signed transactions do, however with out requiring each proprietor of the vUTXOs these transactions create to coordinate signing, it solves the coordination downside. On the similar time as a result of nobody must work together, a single individual might take the position of funding the CTV output that commits to everybody’s vUTXOs unfurling on-chain, and nil belief in that individual after the funding transaction is confirmed is required. As soon as that actual UTXO is confirmed in a block, the one that funded it has no potential to undo or double spend the longer term transactions it has dedicated to.
Remember the fact that a vUTXO could be no matter you need it to be. It may be a Lightning channel, a multisig script for chilly storage, and so on. CTV does what the present type of Lightning doesn’t, it scales precise possession of Bitcoin, not simply the variety of transactions it may possibly course of.
Reduce By way of The Shortcut
One of many different criticisms of CTV as “not scaling Bitcoin” is that by committing to future transactions you don’t escape the necessity to put them on-chain ultimately, and so subsequently CTV doesn’t truly assist enhance scalability. I prefer to name this “the OP_IF fallacy.” i.e. as soon as folks begin speaking about CTV they overlook OP_IF exists, and that scripts can even have a number of spending situations to select from.
Probably the most highly effective issues about Taproot are the flexibility to assemble multisigs by simply including two public keys collectively and signal for them with a single mixture signatures, and to solely selectively reveal a single “IF” department of a script that has a number of methods to be spent. Mixed with CTV, this gives a really highly effective method to make use of vUTXO commitments. Moderately than make a sequence of transactions utilizing purely CTV, they are often constructed with the CTV spending path buried inside a taproot tree. The top of the chain of transactions are all the person vUTXOs every participant owns, locked to that person’s public key alone. As you go backwards in direction of the foundation of the tree, every set of keys which are under any node within the tree can merely be added collectively and used because the Schnorr multisig key that the CTV spend path is buried beneath.
Which means that at any level within the chain of transactions unfurling on-chain to truly flip the vUTXOs into actual UTXOs the place you may get each participant in an intermediate UTXO to coordinate with one another, everybody can merely cooperatively signal a transaction shifting their cash the place they wish to go in a extra environment friendly method than merely letting the pre-defined transaction movement unfurl all the best way to morph their vUTXOs into actual ones. This permits small sub teams to flee needing to truly unfurl all the set of transactions pre-committed to on-chain, with out introducing any trusted events to depend on or weakening the safety of every person’s declare to their very own vUTXOs.
These two easy realities supply an enormous achieve in scalability for Bitcoin with out compromising on particular person sovereignty or safety in doing so, and all we want with a view to understand them is CTV.
Acknowledgements: I wish to thank everybody who participates on the Chicago Bitdevs for serving to me formulate these observations in a concise method by dialogue.