Revisiting BIP21

Revisiting BIP21

Original Postby MattCorallo

Posted on: March 5, 2024 02:47 UTC

The discussion revolves around the optimization of QR code data representation for cryptocurrency transactions, specifically focusing on the balance between efficiency and compatibility.

One suggestion put forth is to include an optional dummy value at the end of the data string, which could be phased out over time once it's confirmed that clients have adapted to the new logic. This approach aims at reducing the size of the data encoded within the QR code without immediately breaking existing implementations.

However, there are concerns regarding the actual benefits of saving a minimal amount of space compared to the potential drawbacks, such as the complexity of parsing and the future-proofing of addresses. The debate touches upon the importance of not overly relying on specific address formats like bech32m, considering the possibility of future developments that might move away from this standard. This underscores a broader issue of ensuring that any adopted solution does not deeply entrench assumptions about address formats that may limit flexibility in the future.

Moreover, the conversation highlights the inherent complexities involved in parsing various addresses and parameters (such as comments, amounts, and lightning network details), indicating that some level of complexity is unavoidable regardless of the encoding method chosen. The dialogue also acknowledges the significant challenge of making large-scale changes that would require widespread adoption across all existing wallets, suggesting a cautious approach to any modification that could impact compatibility.

In conclusion, while optimizing QR code data for efficiency is a worthwhile endeavor, it necessitates a careful consideration of the trade-offs between space savings, parsing complexity, and the ability to adapt to future technological shifts. Ensuring backward compatibility and avoiding overly rigid assumptions about address formats are critical factors that must guide any proposals for change.