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BTC developers propose new protocol to make network more efficient, safer

Bitcoin developers recently announced the work they have been doing on a new protocol for the Bitcoin network that would streamline the transaction relay method currently used. If implemented, this would not only vastly reduce bandwidth usage on the network but also improve security against timing attacks.


 

The Erlay protocol, as it is being called, was just announced recently on a developer mailing list and is the result of work from Gleb Naumenko, Gregory Maxwell, Pieter Wuille, Sasha Fedorova and Ivan Beschastnikh.

Essentially, Erlay would change the way that transactions are propogated throughout the network. Currently, every transactiion made is broadcast between every peer on the network. Erlay would make it so only 8 peers would be sent the transaction information, while occasionally running a "reconciliation protocol" across the network to confirm accuracy. This would reportedly save around half the bandwidth on the network, and this number could be boosted to 75% bandwidth saved if propagation is bumped to 32 peers. It also apparently will help protect the network from certain timing attacks.

From the announcement:

"The main idea is that instead of announcing every transaction to every peer, announcements are only sent directly over a small number of connections (only 8 outgoing ones). Further relay is achieved by periodically running a set reconciliation protocol over every connection between the sets of withheld announcements in both directions...

Results: we save half of the bandwidth a node consumes, allow increasing connectivity almost for free, and, as a side effect, better withstand timing attacks.
If outbound peer count were increased to 32, Erlay saves around 75% overall bandwidth compared to the current protocol."

Already some are taking fondly to this proposal, especially those who run full nodes:

Erlay, an efficient transaction relay protocol for Bitcoin, is quite exciting for those of us running highly connected nodes. As you can see from my node's stats, the "inv" messages use up ~90% of incoming bandwidth and ~20% of outgoing bandwidth. https://t.co/LKwLq8RIis pic.twitter.com/tzDRBU8lMj

— Jameson Lopp (@lopp) May 28, 2019

The group working on this development is looking for more community feedback before creating a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) to submit the changes for actual implementation. Will this upgrade find support and be implemented? Stick with Chepicap for all developments!

 

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