Craig Wright in lecture hall speaking

‘Resilient distribution,’ multicasting and IPv6: The Bitcoin Masterclasses Series 2 with Dr. Craig Wright

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Think “resilient distribution” instead of “censorship resistance.” With the increasing use of IPv6 to handle the world’s internet traffic, Bitcoin will benefit through the use of multicast addresses for transaction processors (miners) and others to receive transaction information. That’s the first topic from Bitcoin inventor Dr. Craig S. Wright’s second “The Bitcoin Masterclasses” series held in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The Bitcoin Masterclasses series 2 is a deeper dive into some of Bitcoin’s technical aspects, current and future. IPv6 is the newest and rapidly spreading version of the internet protocol that handles network traffic, and it brings big advantages to Bitcoin’s scalability and speed.

Though Bitcoin was designed to work in an IPv6 world, so far, it’s had to live with IPv4—the legacy version of the Internet Protocol that has been surprisingly resilient in the world of network administration. IPv6, however, is far better and handles internet traffic more efficiently. Network/address demand and other realities are finally catching up, and IPv6 is finally gaining traction.

One important improvement in IPv6 is “multicasting”—the ability for one address to send data packets to multiple others. Recipients can choose which multicast addresses they “subscribe” to, receiving any packets from that address near-instantly.

For Bitcoin, this means transaction information can be sent directly from senders to processors/miners without needing the Bitcoin protocol software to broadcast it to all of them. The internet itself would handle the data load.

As Dr. Wright notes, IPv4 does have a kind of multicasting functionality, but it works only within private networks and not on the wider internet. IPv6 brings multicasting to every IP address, and IPv6 allows a near-infinite number of unique IP addresses.

So what does “resilient distribution” actually mean for Bitcoin? It means that any node on the network can subscribe to an IPv6 multicast address and receive transaction data. There is no way to prevent a node from joining or leaving the network this way (Dr. Wright references the recent controversy in BTC, where the possibility of “blacklisting” miners who processed Ordinals data was discussed).

On the topic of BTC, Dr. Wright also says the way Bitcoin currently broadcasts transactions to every node actually creates a lot of extra data traffic—so much for BTC Core’s claim that small transaction blocks are necessary to keep bandwidth use at a minimum.

IPv6 multicasting may change the way transaction processors build their businesses. With transaction data broadcast near-instantly, there will be new competition to reduce latency, similar to how algorithmic traders prefer placing their operations as physically close to the data source as possible.

This second series of The Bitcoin Masterclasses features more audience input and interaction, as well as workshop time and group discussions. If you don’t understand some of the concepts Dr. Wright is describing or would like to hear some expansion on the ideas and what they mean for Bitcoin, keep watching the video past the coffee breaks to see the rest of the sessions.

The remaining sessions in the series will also examine other aspects of IPv6 and how its other features could be used for more inventive Bitcoin transactions. Register to watch Day 2 livestream here.

Watch: Highlights from The Bitcoin Masterclasses 1 on Identity & Privacy

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