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Lightning Network Co-Creator Is Designing a Scaling Solution Called Utreexo

Lightning Network Co-Creator Is Designing a Scaling Solution Called Utreexo


A blockchain researcher has been working on a bitcoin protocol. According to Tadge Dryja's recently published description of research, the software engineer is working on a dynamic accumulator called Utreexo. The project could theoretically allow the participants to verify the state of the chain.

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Utreexo Could Allow Bitcoin Full Nodes on a Mobile Phone

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Tadge Dryja from MIT and the Digital Currency Initiative.

A few years after Bitcoin was born, developers and network participants discovered the protocol needed to increase the number of users. The software stores a record of every transaction and the newly minted coins within a distributed ledger. This makes full node maintenance cumbersome over time and a large reason for this is because of a collection of Unspent Transaction Outputs or UTXOs. In order to help solve the scaling issue, Tadge Dryja from MIT has written a description of the current research project. The protocol is a hash-based dynamic accumulator, which essentially brings the millions of UTXOs recorded on a down to a kilobyte. "There is no trusted setup or loss of security; instead of the burden of keeping track of funds is shifted to the owner of those funds, "Dryja's description explains.

"With Utreexo, but rather than having to store the entirety of the bitcoin state, bitcoin holders could simply verify if it is correct using a cryptographic proof," Dryja's paper adds. "This approach could reduce the amount of bitcoin on a mobile phone."

Millions of Unspent Outputs Represented in Under at Kilobyte

Dryja's Utreexo and accumulators have been getting some attention in recent months. In the podcast episode Gray Mirror # 1, host Rhys Lindmark interviewed Tadge Dryja about the project, which has slowly become a prototype. Dryja explained to Lindmark how blockchains could bootstrap upgrades in a "non-fork" fashion using a bridge node to Utreexo. Furthermore, Stanford University cryptographers Ben Fisch, Dan Boneh, and Benedikt Bünz have also written a paper that involves accumulators. The study discusses batching techniques for accumulators with applications for IOPs and stateless blockchains. In addition to the group's 46-page paper, the research studies

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Batching Techniques for Accumulators with Applications for IOPs and Stateless Blockchains written by Ben Fisch, Dan Boneh, and Benedikt Bünz looks at accumulators in a different manner.

With Utreexo, the protocol places the cost of maintaining the network "to the right place," explains Dryja's documentation. UTILES set of tokens of proof. While some blockchain developers have discussed the Utreexo concept, engineers from other projects have been experimenting with different ideas as well. For instance, there's been a number of conversations about Bloxroute, a company that claims it can provide blockchain networks to improve efficiency by propagating blocks in a neutral manner. Additionally, there's Jonathan Toomim's Xthinner, which leverages the benefits of the lexicographic transaction ordering (LTOR) on the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network. Purportedly Xthinner can compress the information in blocks by 99.6 percent and Toomim's other project Blocktorrent could be even more efficient. The torrenting protocol Blocktorrent breaks a block down into fractions and each chunk can be independently verified.

Accumulators May See Action on Another Chain Two to Stubborn Bitcoin Core Developers

Even though accumulators may be a long-term scalability solution, the idea has been discussed for more than nine years with little advancement. Some developers will be able to see the light of day with developers who are not so stubborn when it comes to scaling the protocol as Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash programmers. BTC developers have been criticized by many for their refusal to raise the block size via a hard fork upgrade, while the developers' soft fork to introduce segregated witness still has less than 40 percent adoption after more than a year. Accumulators were talked about during a Bitcoin Core Dev discussion on Dec. 18, however, and Pieter Wuille reviewed UTXO accumulators on Dec. 7.

It is still a lot of work done with Utreexo, but Dryja has compiled some rough code. The Stanford programmers are working on their idea which is different to the MIT engineer's work. Scaling concepts announced over the last few months and 2019 might just be the year of scalability for several public blockchains.

What do you think about Tadge Dryja's Utreexo project and the general concept of dynamic accumulators? Let us know what you think about this project in the comments section below.

Images via Shutterstock, Twitter, and Pixabay.

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