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From: Peter Todd <pete@petertodd•org>
To: Antoine Riard <antoine.riard@gmail•com>
Cc: Bitcoin Development Mailing List <>
Subject: Re: [bitcoindev] Re: A Free-Relay Attack Exploiting RBF Rule #6
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2024 13:04:16 +0000	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <ZgQZUOCc/> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

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On Fri, Mar 22, 2024 at 04:18:18PM -0700, Antoine Riard wrote:
> Hi Peter,
> > The marginal cost to an attacker who was planning on broadcasting B 
> anyway is 
> > fairly small, as provided that sufficiently small fee-rates are chosen 
> for A_n, 
> > the probability of A_n being mined is low. The attack does of course 
> require 
> > capital, as the attacker needs to have UTXO's of sufficient size for A_n.
> I think an attacker does not necessarily need to have a UTXO's of 
> sufficient size for A_n.
> One could reuse feerate ascending old LN states, where the balance on 
> latest states is
> in favor of your counterparty. So it might be a lower assumption on 
> attacker ressources,
> you only needs to have been _allocate_ a shared-UTXO in the past.

Can you explain in more detail how exactly you'd pull that off? Are you aware
of LN implementations that actually create feerate ascending LN states?

> > The larger the mempool size limit, the more 
> > effective the attack tends to be. Similarly, the attack is more effective 
> with 
> > a larger size difference between A and B. Finally, the attack is more 
> effective 
> > with a smaller minimum incremental relay fee, as more individual versions 
> of 
> > the transaction can be broadcast for a given fee-delta range.
> I think the observation on larger the mempool size, more effective the 
> attack tends
> to come as a novel insight to me. Naively, in a world where the future 
> blockspace
> demand is uncertain, miners have an incentive to scale up their mempool 
> size limit.
> As such, holding a cache of non-mined low-feerates transactions. The type 
> of bandwidth,
> denial-of-service described sounds effectively to affect more full-nodes 
> with large 
> mempools. Fair point, it's expected they have more bandwidth ressources 
> available too.

Imagine if the mempool size was 1TB, an amount larger than the entire BTC
blocksize to date. I think that example helps make it obvious that with such an
enormous mempool, there *must* be free relay attacks, because it's simply
impossible for all broadcast transactions to even get mined.

> Commenting on this, do we have a free-relay attack variant where an 
> attacker with reasonable
> visibility on the transaction-relay network could exploit propagation 
> asymmetries due to
> *_INVENTORY_BROADCAST_INTERVAL and re-inject A_n traffic in a targeted 
> fashion ?
> I don't think it's worst than the parallelization you're describing, it's 
> just another approach.

Well, whether or not that is an attack depends on how exactly the transcation
could be rebroadcast.

> > Requiring replacements to increase the fee-rate by a certain ratio would 
> also 
> > mitigate the attack. However doing so would break a lot of wallet 
> software that 
> > bumps fees by values equal or close to the minimum relay fee.
> I think there is still the open questions of the economic relevance of 
> replace-by-fee if
> the local mempool is completely empty. Here a miner is optimizing to 
> maximize absolute
> fee as a transaction replaced by a higher-feerate, lower fee is less 
> interesting if you have
> less than 1 MB virtual bytes / 4 MB WU.

Obviously. That's why I proposed one-shot replace-by-fee-rate. Not pure

> > Ironically, the existence of this attack is an argument in favor of 
> > replace-by-fee-rate. While RBFR introduces a degree of free-relay, the 
> fact 
> > that Bitcoin Core's existing rules *also* allow for free-relay in this 
> form 
> > makes the difference inconsequential.
> Back on the point where an attacker ability to provoke bandwidth DoS in 
> considerations
> of the UTXO-amount available, a minimal absolute fee as a proof of owning 
> some UTXO
> amount could be still maintained (or maybe after a _bounded_ number of 
> replacement under
> a given block period).
> We studied proof-of-UTXO ownership as a p2p DoS mitigation approach in the 
> past with Gleb:

All the existing replacement mechanisms _are_ basically a proof-of-UTXO
ownership, because they're transactions spending UTXOs. The only question is
the details of how that proof works.

-- 'peter'[:-1]

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  reply	other threads:[~2024-03-27 13:06 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 15+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2024-03-18 13:21 [bitcoindev] " Peter Todd
2024-03-19 12:37 ` Nagaev Boris
2024-03-19 13:46   ` Peter Todd
2024-03-23  0:29     ` Nagaev Boris
2024-03-22 23:18 ` [bitcoindev] " Antoine Riard
2024-03-27 13:04   ` Peter Todd [this message]
2024-03-27 19:17     ` Antoine Riard
2024-03-28 14:27       ` Peter Todd
2024-03-28 15:20         ` Peter Todd
2024-03-28 19:13         ` Antoine Riard
2024-03-28 19:47           ` Peter Todd
2024-03-29 20:48             ` Antoine Riard
2024-03-26 18:36 ` [bitcoindev] " David A. Harding
2024-03-27  6:27   ` Antoine Riard
2024-03-27 12:54     ` Peter Todd

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