Wei Zhang on CoinGeek Backstage

nChain’s Wei Zhang: You can’t predict everything, that’s why we have nLocktime

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

YouTube video

We live in an unpredictable world, and Bitcoin must adapt to this uncertainty. This is why Satoshi Nakamoto included nLocktime in the original Bitcoin protocol, nChain’s Wei Zhang tells CoinGeek Backstage.

Zhang is the research director at blockchain enterprise company nChain, leading the cryptography and prototyping teams.

“We bring research to life and try to achieve security with practical cryptography,” he told CoinGeek Backstage reporter Becky Liggero.

Zhang was at The Bitcoin Masterclasses in London, where Dr. Craig Wright focused on the topic of nLocktime.

“Basically, you can specify what time you want the transaction to be valid,” Zhang noted.

nLocktime allows Bitcoin contracts to be flexible in expecting changes in future conditions. Its applications are many and diverse, including in finance, “where you can pay the interest of a bond using nLocktime,” to accessing credit facilities where you can lock your collateral yet have the flexibility to negotiate with the lender as conditions change.

“The reality is anything can happen, and nLocktime provides users flexibility.”

Satoshi built nLocktime into the original Bitcoin protocol, but in time, it was replaced by CheckLockTimeVerify (CLTV) by the BTCers. With CLTV, transactions are processed on-chain at the time of creation, funds are locked up immediately, and all entries are final. Changes in underlying conditions can’t be weaved into a CLTV-based network, making it unsuitable for real-world adoption.

“The real world is complex, and you can’t rid it of this complexity. What we can do is build solutions that address this complexity with solutions like nLocktime.”

While he gets to tap Dr. Wright’s expertise more often than most people, Zhang told CoinGeek Backstage that he learns something new everyday from him.

In The Bitcoin Masterclasses #4 in London, Dr. Wright provided several use cases for nLocktime, including in air travel, where airlines can sell conditional tickets and participate in inter-airline cooperation.

Watch The Bitcoin Masterclass #4: nLocktime and Delayed Transactions

YouTube video

New to blockchain? Check out CoinGeek’s Blockchain for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about blockchain technology.