BSV Academy logo with background of four people in a business meeting ending with a handshake

What resources and tools does Bitcoin SV offer businesses?

BSV Academy’s new introductory course on Bitcoin Enterprise is aimed at C-Level executives seeking to build next-generation platforms using Bitcoin as a technology substrate, with a focus on making the topics more digestible and understandable to people new to the BSV ecosystem.

All modules are available from the start, and users are free to jump between topics and videos as they wish. You can find out more about enrolling in the Bitcoin Enterprise course here.

To give you an idea of what to expect from this free course, below is a preview covering the different resources and tools the Bitcoin SV network offers.

The Technical Standards Committee for Bitcoin SV

Part of the work undertaken by the Bitcoin Association includes the formation and management of a Technical Standards Committee (https://tsc.bitcoinassociation.net) focused on delivering a robust and feature-packed set of standards, which will simplify the process of interconnecting services and products operating on the Bitcoin network.

The committee promotes technical excellence and furthers Bitcoin SV’s utility by enhancing interoperability through standardisation, facilitating industry participation in the development of global standards, and ensuring technical standards are maintained and freely available.


Working groups are formed to evaluate and progress each separate standard, with current developments covering a wide array of service needs and requirements in parallel.

The committee itself does not decide when to develop a new standard but allows the process to be industry-driven. Individuals or companies who wish to develop or accelerate proposals are encouraged to come forward and participate. Visit this website to submit a proposal to the TSC: https://tsc.bitcoinassociation.net/standards.

TSC principles

The TSC operates under a set of four principles defined to ensure the committee operates to a very high standard, and always looks to make the best decision for the ecosystem at large. These principles are defined as follows:

  1. Industry-driven: Experts and companies, in response to a perceived need in their industry, take the lead in deciding which standards should be developed, not the TSC.
     
  2. Created by experts: Industry experts are involved at all stages of the standard development process, from deciding whether a new standard is needed, to defining all the technical content and reviewing and monitoring industry adoption once published.
     
  3. Collaborative and objective: An open process to ensure that all parties interested are offered the opportunity to be actively involved in the standard development. The recommended solution is a result of a consensus-based approach that fully considers comments gathered from stakeholders during both the internal and public review phases.
     
  4. Accountable and open: TSC standard development follows transparent procedures. The implementation of standards is monitored and recorded internally with a summary of technical decisions and comments received made publicly available.

Bitcoin SV standard development process

Technical standards are created by working groups formed by experts in the necessary subject matter. A strong focus is placed on meeting the needs of the organisations and sectors that they represent and of the wider ecosystem.

These industry experts drive the standardisation process and are involved at all stages of standard development, the initial decision on whether a new standard is needed, the subsequent definition of technical content, the final review process and post-publication monitoring of industry adoption.

The TSC oversees the process, acting as facilitators and offering the platforms, rules, governance, methodologies, and access to specialists such as technical writers to objectively address the standards development lifecycle. Each standard's working group is assigned a TSC sponsor to guide its development lifecycle.

The sponsors independently oversee the working group using their methods while ensuring policies and processes are maintained and guaranteeing high-quality outputs that reinforce the relevance of industry and technology standards.

The standard development process is split into three stages:

Stage 1: Submission

The submission phase of the standardisation process describes the activities undertaken from initially identifying a business need through to the formation of a working group that will drive the standard forwards to completion

Stage 2: Drafting and Review

The drafting and review phase of the standardisation process describes the activities undertaken from the successful formation of a working group through to the completion of a final, reviewed draft.

Stage 3: Standardisation

During the standardisation phase, the standard is published on the TSC website. A period of time is allowed during which the TSC and the working group monitor adoption and implementations.

This period is determined by the scale and scope of the standard. Once elapsed, the TSC makes a final decision (through a majority vote) on whether to promote the publication recommended, make further modifications or withdraw the standard.

Status of current and in-progress standards

With new standards being added, and standards that are being worked on moving through the different stages of development, the status of various standards being worked on changes monthly.

To see a list of the currently published and in-progress standards, please visit this website: https://tsc.bitcoinassociation.net/standards.

TSC Roadmap

The TSC roadmap summarises the current standardisation landscape for the Bitcoin SV ecosystem. In line with its mission to promote technical excellence and improve the utility of BitcoinSV, the TSC aims to enhance interoperability through standardisation.

It is intended to help people navigate emerging standards and includes several proposed areas for future development based on feedback received from stakeholders. It also lists some prior art, in addition to proposals for consideration.

To learn more about the TSC roadmap, please visit this website: https://tsc.bitcoinassociation.net/roadmap.

The Working Blockchain

As stated before, the protocol is unbounded, and blocks can accommodate vast quantities of data and transactions. As the network grows, it will become increasingly impractical for users to need to manage the full blockchain to interpret their situation.

Thankfully, in sections 7 and 8 of the Bitcoin white paper, entitled 'Reclaiming Disk Space' and 'Simplified Payment Verification' respectively, there are defined solutions that allow every entity connected to the network to manage only the data that they need to manage, rather than all of the data at once.


Pruning to create a Working Blockchain

Thanks to Bitcoin's use of Merkle trees, the full contents of a block (unbounded in size) are hashed down to a single 32-byte value which is included as part of the block header. To validate a block, nodes must check that the block's Merkle root is correct. The only way to do this is to take every single transaction in the block and hash them to create the full Merkle tree structure.

Once the block is validated, the node can then freely prune unneeded content without damaging the integrity of the remaining parts. As such, a miner's Working Blockchain is generated by taking the full content of each block and cutting it back to only that which they determine is needed to most effectively validate future actions.


Building a Working Blockchain from a list of block headers

For users interfacing with the network, Simplified Payment Verification, or SPV, provides a means by which a user can start from a list of block headers and add individual transactions with their corresponding Merkle path, effectively reconstructing a partial Merkle tree.

Storing transactions in this way gives users the ability to prove to anyone that the records presented have been accepted by the network without having to manage even a tiny fraction of the network's total throughput. Users simply hold what they need and no more. When they no longer need the information, it can be pruned in the same manner used by miners to reclaim disk space.


A world view backed by proof-of-work

Thanks to working blockchains, entities across the networks can hold and manage only the transaction data they need with the full proof that it was validated by the network and without the burdensome task of holding and managing the millions of other transactions that are unrelated to their business.

Working blockchains are an important concept to understand when building applications and platforms that use Bitcoin, as they give the platform operator and its users a path back to the proof of work generated during the timestamping process.

The Metanet and the new Internet of Value

In 2019, Dr Craig Wright published a white paper detailing a system for creating an on-chain internet of value, allowing content and content management frameworks to be embedded directly into Bitcoin transactions and indexed to allow simple navigation and service.

The Metanet is a protocol that describes a means of embedding this data in transactions in ways that allow it to be both easily retrieved and verified to establish provenance. This gives data on the Metanet the immutability, security and scalability of Bitcoin.

In this, the content of the Metanet becomes a subset of the overall data captured on the Bitcoin ledger, connecting users to content producers via the same system that manages payments, identity and more. By embedding data and content using the Metanet protocol, we create a solution that allows users to probably own their on-chain content.

What we are going to actually create is a secure alternative to the Internet, built on the blockchain.  The Internet becomes a sidechain to the Bitcoin blockchain.  The Metanet is a value network—the entire global system of online activity and data connected commercially.

Dr. Craig Wright, CoinGeek Week (2018)

 
 

The key to the Metanet is the Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) which is used to secure millions of Bitcoin transactions every day.

Using elliptic curve signatures as part of a second layer protocol allows us to generate detailed information systems on the public ledger and then serve them up to users/viewers/customers via Metanet gateways.

Thanks to the fact the information isn't stored via a central server or domain-based system, it can remain accessible even when individual metanet gateways are taken offline.

The model gives the data being served the same immutable properties as the Bitcoin transactions it is wrapped in, with the security of Elliptic Curve Digital Signatures which allows any user viewing the data to quickly and easily validate the source of the material.

The Metanet Protocol

Metanet Protocol

The Metanet protocol defines various ways that we can build linked informational databases on the public ledger for use in the Metanet. These databases closely resemble the hierarchical systems used in today’s internet services, but rather than these being hosted on servers that can be attacked and taken off-line, they are written to the public ledger and become immutable records available to anyone with access to the internet.

The protocol uses ECSDA signatures to form edges from child nodes back to their parents. An individual parent node can have an unbounded number of children, but the current version of the Metanet protocol limits each child to one parent, or zero parents in the case of the root node of a Metanet graph.

Parent Child Element

By using this simple and extensible element, we can create complex structures comprising of large numbers of connected nodes forming a database of information which can be simply and quickly scanned, validated and visualised by Metanet users.

The Metanet brings the idea of microtransactions to the fore, giving platform operators and application builders the power to manage individualised services for millions of users with microtransactions. This could include serving content, calculating computer-based outcomes or any of a multitude of other activities.

A technical summary of the protocol is available here: https://bitcoinsv.academy/storage/photos/4318/The-Metanet-Technical-Summary-v1.0.pdf

Ryan Brothwell
Ryan Brothwell

Deputy Editor, Bitcoin Association