On consensus changes in bitcoin 2024

On consensus changes in bitcoin 2024

Original Postby rgrant

Posted on: February 18, 2024 01:33 UTC

In a detailed discussion about the stability of Bitcoin and the implications of soft forks, several critical points are raised regarding the behavior of miners and the overall security of the network.

Initially, there's an acknowledgment of concerns surrounding miners who falsely signal their readiness for updates, potentially leading to chaotic outcomes, including the risk of a 51% attack aimed at rolling back newly introduced features. This perspective considers such a scenario highly improbable, arguing that it overlooks the existing social dynamics and economic incentives underpinning Bitcoin's stability. The argument suggests that the historical behavior of miners, who have previously demonstrated both opportunistic actions and the capacity for learning from past experiences, offers a counterbalance to fears of widespread deceit and manipulation.

Furthermore, the discourse challenges the notion that non-mining nodes' involvement in upgrades significantly impacts the likelihood of consensus deception or preemptive attacks aiming at feature rollback. The contention is that the potential for such disruptive strategies exists independently of the degree of preparatory consensus-building or the involvement of economically significant non-mining nodes. It posits that only the adoption of a lock-in on timeout (LOT=true) mechanism can effectively mitigate this threat.

Additionally, the conversation addresses the deployment of soft fork feature bits, which were designed with the expectation of concurrent activation of multiple features. It refutes claims questioning the safety of these mechanisms for achieving their intended purposes, emphasizing that such allegations lack substantiation. The assertion is that any credible evidence proving these mechanisms endanger the network would necessitate reconsidering their inclusion in Bitcoin Core's codebase.

Overall, the dialogue underscores the complexity of ensuring network stability amid evolving technological updates and the critical role of economic incentives and community learning in safeguarding against systemic risks.