The co-author behind the layer 2 payment solution for Bitcoin – known as the Lightning Network: Tadge Dryja has since released the original research paper behind the scaling solution to the public. This particular paper was one that he had been working on for the better part of a year.
The research paper itself was released at the beginning of this week, Utreexo is intending to make some changes to part of Bitcoin full nodes known as the ‘state', which are also commonly known as the UTXO set, this would make them smaller and, as a result, much easier to run with the continued support of cryptographic proofs.
While this would make for an ideal alternative to the existing ecosystem, the idea itself isn't exactly a new one. In fact, it's been around for some time, being covered by some news sources at the beginning of 2019. This paper does, however, go into far more extensive detail as to what it would entail overall.
Dryja himself has gained a good reputation for being one of the more influential and prodigious technologists and developers behind the Lightning Network, the one that has allowed for far more efficiency in completing transactions and improving the underlying scalability of Bitcoin. While it has provided a strong concept in its early stages, it remains a highly experimental solution and is not a wholly safe system.
There's a similar motivation which led to the creation of Utreexo, and it comes down to allowing these various Nodes on Bitcoin far easier to run. For those that aren't too familiar, there an extensive amount of power needed just to run a single node, making it a far more challenging task for single entities to run them.
While this is the case, they are a very secure way of leveraging bitcoin for storing information and securing transactions, all without the need of a middleman in order to verify them.
“As the number of users of the system increases, the UTXO set grows, and the resource cost of running a node increases. This has led to a progressively smaller proportion of users running their own node as more users rely on light clients or on [third] party nodes to inform them of the state of the network,” the paper explains.
The research paper continues on to highlight one of the ways in which these nodes could make use of cryptographic proofs, thereby reducing the amount of data they need to store without having any negative impact on security.
“Nodes using the accumulator need only store a logarithmically sized representation of the UTXO set, greatly reducing storage space and disk seek times,” the paper states.
This research paper goes on to disclose some of the results yielded from the simulations that Dryja ran, illustrating some of the benefits that this system would have on the network.
”Since January I’ve implemented more code and made the code public on GitHub, and gotten performance numbers for bitcoin mainnet download sizes,” Dryja went on to state.
Even though there are some quantitative positives to taking on this proposal, there are some snags to the plan, especially when looking at these same numbers – while the requirements for storage do significantly decrease, the amount of data still increases due to the application of these proofs.
“In our simulations of downloading Bitcoin’s blockchain up to early 2019 with 500MB of RAM allocated for caching, the proofs only add approximately 25% to the amount otherwise downloaded,” the paper explains.
If there are other developers out there interested in taking a look Dryja informed his community that the code, along with the report, would be made open and accessible to the community in order to pick it apart and even modify it if they wanted.
“It’s not integrated into a wallet yet, which will still take some time, but the library is there for people to try out,” he went on to quip.