Home Bitcoin Drivechains Are Silly, Show Me Mistaken

Drivechains Are Silly, Show Me Mistaken


Shinobi’s Strawman is a weekly sequence the place our Technical Editor Shinobi challenges the Bitcoin neighborhood, aiming to fire up dialog round heated technical debates.


We’re going to attempt one thing of an experiment as we speak.

Drivechains are being proclaimed by some because the savior of Bitcoin, the reply to all of its issues. It solves the long term security budget, permits complete freedom to incorporate new features into Bitcoin, and presents no downsides for current Bitcoin customers.

Sounds too good to be true? It’s:

1) Drivechains Change Miner Incentives

Drivechains introduce a hodgepodge of latest variables into miners’ incentives, and after introducing that instability advocates push for users simply adopting a degraded security model for all new use cases and functionality by using a sidechain in lieu of changing the base layer. How is that this any completely different than an outright assault on Bitcoin self custody?

2) Current Sidechains Have No Adoption

There have been many alternative design proposals for sidechains through the years, however the one presently deployed ones are run by federations (Liquid and RSK), each of which have failed to achieve any significant stage of adoption since they had been deployed. Does this imply sidechains should not value continued improvement effort? Or are they value it, and the failure of federated chains to be adopted is just the results of shortcomings in that particular sidechain design?

3) Drivechains Exacerbate The Dangers Of MEV

MEV is one thing that’s doable on Bitcoin already, as systems like Stacks are demonstrating, however presently the types of MEV doable on Bitcoin are both generated by completely impartial altcoins like Stacks (which traditionally have trended to an insignificant share of miners’ earnings, like Namecoin), or very low within the stage of complexity (like frontrunning Inscriptions). Drivechains open the door to arbitrarily advanced types of MEV on sidechains, whereas additionally making certain that the token producing that MEV is pegged to the value of Bitcoin. I.e. it can’t merely fade away to an irrelevant fraction of miner earnings as folks cease shopping for an altcoin. This drastically worsens the dangers and potential injury of MEV on Bitcoin.

4) No, Swap Markets Aren’t An Reply

Paul Sztorc replied to a few of these concerns on Twitter, however these responses do probably not handle the foundation points. Swap markets would possibly sound like a solution, however the actuality is that these simply shove the liquidity necessities onto yet one more occasion, assuming they may present large quantities of liquidity for nearly nothing in return. That may work for small scale utility customers, or having liquidity out there to arbitrage uncertainty across the peg, I don’t suppose it is a foregone conclusion that sufficient liquidity to cowl the “resolution to the safety funds downside” with out slippage is a given, to say nothing of all the opposite customers who would wish to swap out and in. He then goes on to disregard the distinction between a mainchain reorg, which requires redoing work and vitality expenditure, versus a sidechain reorg which doesn’t. Lastly, he equates a random individual for no logical or revenue pushed cause giving cash away with somebody producing a revenue with an exercise they’re the only gatekeepers of.

Look, finally, I’m a Bitcoin maximalist. I would like what’s greatest for Bitcoin.

I believe drivechains are silly, harmful and a waste of time, however I wish to hear your ideas on the topic. Am I improper in regards to the factors above? Is there one more reason that I needs to be in opposition to drivechains that I’ve missed?

Please don’t write to me with some random hopium. I’m open to novel opinions. I would like the dialog to progress. Above is my greatest summation – we merely aren’t wherever near a significant consensus on drivechains.

My DMs are open. Opinion@bitcoinmagazine.com. Let’s hash it out.

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