Fast finality is too important

Image by alan9187 from Pixabay

Slow Confirmation

A Bitcoin Insider article recently rebutted the claims made by the CEO of BitcoinBCH, Hayden Otto. Otto stated in a YouTube video that double spending is possible on bitcoin and that Bitcoin network allows users to easily chargeback their transactions hours or even days later.

In the video, he demonstrated how this supposed Bitcoin double-spend can easily be done using an Electrum wallet with RBF. It’s actually rather simple and anyone can try it using the steps outlined in this tutorial.

RBF (replace by fee) is a function that allows a user to replace a non-final transaction with another one which has a higher fee. This Bitcoin functionality raised criticism because it enables an unconfirmed transaction to be reversed, thereby creating a possibility of a double spend.

Firstly, Otto sent Bitcoins from wallet A to wallet B, both of which belong to him. He used the lowest possible transaction fee (1sat/byte).

After sending the first low-fee RBF transaction from wallet A to wallet B, Otto performed another Bitcoin payment from wallet B to a TravelByBit merchant. This second transaction was also done using the lowest possible transaction fee (1sat/byte) but this time, RBF was disabled. The merchant’s wallet showed a big green checkmark on the screen, and this made the merchant believe that she received the payment.

The merchant parted with the goods when the transaction was still unconfirmed. Thereafter, Otto increased the transaction fee on the first transaction(from wallet A to wallet B), this overrode the first transaction and brought the funds back to wallet B. The merchant would no longer have access to her bitcoins (because they have been rolled back to wallet B) but she already gave out the goods.

The first transaction Otto made from wallet A to wallet B essentially fails because he pushed a second transaction “faster” by spending more on transaction fees. Since the first transaction to from wallet A to wallet B failed, the second transaction from wallet B to the TravelByBit merchant also failed.

Otto successfully demonstrated how this TravelByBit merchant could be exploited by double-spending which is possible on the RBF enabled Electrum Bitcoin wallet.

The truth is both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash and many other blockchains are not suitable for retail point-of-sale transactions.
Caleb Yeoh (founder of TravelByBit)

Caleb Yeoh(founder of TravelByBit) admitted that accepting on-chain Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash payments is not practical and requires a compromise in security or convenience.

Users compromise on security when they accept payment before it is confirmed. This is risky because unconfirmed transactions are not safe and can be reversed. To compromise on convenience means that the users will have to wait for confirmation to occur before accepting payment for goods. Bitcoin confirmation typically occurs in 10 minutes but if there is a lot of load on the network, it could take hours or days. If users require extra security, they have to wait not only for confirmation but also for finality.

Apparently no one will want to wait in line for at least 10 minutes for a transaction to be confirmed before being able to get hold of their product and no one definitely wants to wait for hours for finality to be realised. Accepting unconfirmed transactions is the only way to accept on-chain Bitcoin payments in retail stores. This cannot work. There are layer two solutions like lightning network that provides faster solutions for payments but this solution is off-chain. Off-chain payments may not be as secure or as convenient as on-chain payments.

The Facts

  • Bitcoin transactions cannot be easily reversed.
  • Unconfirmed transactions are not secure. An RBF exploiter can easily override them and defraud people by double-spending.
  • Both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash and many other blockchains are not suitable for retail point-of-sale transactions because they have slow confirmation and slow finality.

Slow Finality

Bitcoin and Bitcoin cash are not the only blockchains which have caused people to be concerned about the veracity of blockchain irreversibility. There was a time that an attacker successfully exploited a gambling DApp due to the slow 3 minutes finality on EOS.

Although we have established that unconfirmed transactions are insecure. The truth remains that even a confirmed transaction can be reversed, it takes some time after confirmation before a blockchain can reach a state of finality, immutability or irreversibility. It is only after a blockchain transaction has reached this state of finality that we can say that it is absolutely secure and resolved. It is now reached its last irreversible block.

EOS slow 3 minutes finality is already a big improvement compared to other blockchains Blockchains like Ethereum and Bitcoin which have a finality of ten minutes and one hour respectively.

BOSCore’s Solution

BOS 3 Seconds LIB provides a solution that the entire cryptocurrency community needs which is instant and on-chain finality.

With BOS 3 Second LIB (Last Irreversible Block), blockchain transactions reach the state of finality/immutability/irreversibility in 3 seconds. This is the first time in the history of blockchain that immutability is happening instantly. It closes all opportunities which attackers can exploit a blockchain due to slow finality and brings safety and convenience to on-chain transactions.

BOSCore blockchain provides convenience in retail point of sale transactions without compromising security. It has far less complex and does not require a second layer solution to achieve the same performance as centralized payment systems. It also removes the limitations in building consumer applications on a blockchain.

BOS 3 Seconds LIB makes BOS suitable for on-chain retail point-of-sale transactions and all blockchains (including Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash) can enjoy this benefit by using BOS IBC. (Click to tweet)

BOSCore is building many features and services such as BOS Oracles, BOS WPS, etc, and one of the focus is to help build and grow wider blockchain adoption. The BOS 3 Seconds LIB solution is not only for the BOS network but other cryptocurrencies can also benefit from it by plugging into the BOS network using BOS IBC (inter-blockchain communication). By using BOS IBC, both Bitcoin Cash or Bitcoin users will enjoy a super-fast confirmation time of 0.5 seconds. Some transactions are very large or minute or for whatever reason that they require too additional security, they can enjoy BOS 3 Seconds LIB

With BOS IBC, BOSCore can serve as a second layer solution for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and other blockchains. In the near future, major cryptocurrencies would be transferred to the BOS network where they will be able to freely communicate with one another and leverage on each other’s strengths to provide value to billions of users.


Learn more about BOSCore

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Toju Kaka

Toju Kaka

#Author of Understanding EOS: #Blockchain Consultant #Cryptocurrency Trader. Ex @OKx BD Manager for Nigeria