How Bitcoin nodes benefit from light-speed tx propagation

How Bitcoin nodes benefit from light-speed tx propagation

Jun 21, 2022

In our series of blogs giving you a preview of our introductory course to Bitcoin Infrastructure, Bitcoin Curriculum Specialists, Brendan Lee and Evan Freeman have given you insight into the difference between a node and a miner, the double-spending problem, Bitcoin’s first seen rule, misunderstandings about Bitcoin’s decentralisation and incentive-driven behaviours built into Bitcoin.

The introduction to Bitcoin Infrastructure course is focused on providing students with a solid understanding of the role that nodes and node operators play in the construction of the network. In particular, it will focus on the incentives that drive enterprise operators to spend large sums of money to build and operate their infrastructure.

Today, Evan explains how Bitcoin nodes (or miners) benefit from light-speed tx propagation

How miners and nodes benefit from light-speed transaction propagation

One of the core innovations of the Bitcoin design is the way it incentivises the rapid propagation of transactions among nodes as a solution to identifying double spends.

It is a huge priority for any node that receives a transaction to make sure that every other node knows about that transaction to ensure that it is the first time the inputs it uses have been spent on the network.

If a node was unaware that another transaction had already spent the coin there is a chance that other nodes on the network would reject any block they tried to propagate on the basis of it containing a double spent (and therefore invalid) transaction.

By propagating valid transactions as quickly as possible, nodes ensure they have the best chance of seeing the same version of a transaction first as the greatest majority of other nodes.

Because of the ultra dense interconnectivity of the small world network, a double spend introduced to the network any more than a second after the original spend has almost zero chance of being validated by honest nodes.

Ensuring rapid receipt and propagation of new blocks

Part of the incentive of developing the high bandwidth, high density connectivity at the centre of the Bitcoin network, is to enable miners to validate proposed new blocks from other miners in the shortest possible time frame.

This is of vital importance that they validate it as quickly as possible, as energy that is spent trying to build upon the previous block in the chain is at a very high risk of being invalidated if a block is found.

A node wants to be able to receive a block that has been found as quickly as possible in order to conduct its own validation, which if successful will lead to them using it as the next block to build upon.

Similarly, if the node finds its own valid solution, it needs a means with which to push the block announcement and corresponding transaction list out to every other node it is connected to. The goal is to ensure that the other nodes in the network become aware of their block as quickly as possible, ensuring that it has the best chance of being built upon and becoming part of the longest chain of proof of work.

This is one of the strongest drivers of the formation of the small world network at the core of the network.

An introduction to Bitcoin infrastructure

If the topic of Bitcoin mining and infrastructure is within your professional purview, you’re sure to benefit from the BSV Academy’s introduction to Bitcoin Infrastructure course.
To sign up for this free course, head over here.
Evan Freeman

Bitcoin Curriculum Specialist