“Once we have BSV network users using LiteClient, there’s nothing holding us back from scaling the blockchain indefinitely.” BSV Blockchain Association Director of Engineering Jad Wahab spoke in a brief video about the new LiteClient Toolbox, which will soon be available for developers to try out. In the future, this will ensure faster payments, better communications, and more useful Bitcoin software based on Satoshi’s original plan for simplified payments.
Wahab describes LiteClient as “a set of components that allow for SPV.” These components (or modules) include a wallet for UTXO and key management, plus others that handle communications between the different servers and libraries that allow senders and receivers to connect with each other.
SPV stands for “Simplified Payment Verification” and is part of the way Satoshi Nakamoto intended Bitcoin transactions to work. Until now, those developing and running Bitcoin services (including some merchants) have managed their own Bitcoin nodes with a complete record of the blockchain, and all have their own ways to check if a transaction is valid.
At the time of writing, the BSV blockchain is 3,800 gigabytes—far too much data for every merchant and service to require in order to perform simple payer/receiver transactions. That number will also grow exponentially in the coming years as more data-heavy projects come online.
Satoshi’s SPV plan, detailed in the 2009 white paper, offered the solution to Bitcoin scaling right from the start. If transaction block headers are valid, then it follows that all transactions within that block must be valid too. Therefore, there isn’t any need to check the entire transaction/UTXO record just to find the one relevant to you. There only needs to be a way to verify the headers.
When BSV developers restored Bitcoin’s original protocol with the Genesis upgrade in 2020, it solved the scaling issue “at the node end,” Wahab says. Users still faced a problem though, and as larger blocks started appearing on the BSV blockchain, some services struggled with the load.
Over the years, some service providers developed their own individual block-header verification solutions. However, this was neither an ideal nor efficient way for the ecosystem to use SPV on the whole. It placed too much responsibility on creators and users of those systems. and they weren’t interoperable with other bespoke solutions. There needed to be a uniform and standard way to share block header information for everyone on the network.
With LiteClient, everyone has the power to verify if block headers are valid, by communicating with trusted sources that return a Merkle proof. The users themselves don’t need to perform any extra action, rather components of the LiteClient Toolbox will be built into the software they use—wallets, merchant applications, and anything else that needs to verify data.
“It’s very modular, we designed it that way,” Wahab says, meaning developers can pick and choose the LiteClient components they need to include.
There’s the DPP (Direct Payment Protocol), the Block Headers client, a Paymail server (Wahab describes this as similar to a DNS resolver that regular internet client software utilizes), Peer Channels (formerly known as SPV Channels) that handles messages between clients even if one is offline, and DPP Proxy (to manage IP addresses for now, but which won’t be needed once IPv6 is ubiquitous across the internet).
Education is a key part of the LiteClient development process, he added. His team needed to make sure everyone was on the same page and speaking the same language. That involved some collation of already-available open source SPV tools and creating standardized documentation on how to use them. They created a dummy wallet to make sure everything worked properly, and the next phase will turn that into a production-ready wallet (based on ElectrumSV). Eventually, all wallets and merchant apps will use LiteClient’s SPV standards and will be able to communicate effectively with each other.
More information for developers is available at the BitcoinSV.io website, including links to the open source repositories and guides on how to use LiteClient’s modules.
Watch: BSV Blockchain Association’s Director of Engineering Jad Wahab discusses the LiteClient Toolbox on CoinGeek Weekly Livestream
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