What are the reasons in favor of activating the BIP-119 in Bitcoin?

What are the reasons in favor of activating the BIP-119 in Bitcoin?

The debate over the BIP-119 has had very strong critics against this Bitcoin upgrade proposal, but also advocates who have publicly offered their support.

During this week in Criptonews we were analyzing the arguments of the BIP-119 debate in two articles: one on the political aspects and the other on the technical arguments.

In this article we will make a review of the reasons that Jeremy Rubin, author of the BEEP-119, has given to consider this proposal as a positive change for Bitcoin. Some of his opinions have been expressed outside the debate and others within that context.

The idea is to collect these opinions and have a generalized notion of why this developer believes that the BIP-119 or OP_CTV is a desirable change and functionality to include in Bitcoin.

Why might we need the covenants from the BIP-119?

As we have mentioned in other articles on the BIP-119, this proposal would create a kind of pact or covenant that it would condition the way in which bitcoins could be spent in the future.

Bitmex, which did an interview with Jeremy Rubin at the dawn of this debate, explains the covenants of the BIP-119 in this way:

OP_CTV (Check Template Verify) allows the user to create a Bitcoin address associated with a compromise hash around some components of a potential future transaction […]

This commitment hash is normally revealed in the transaction witness field when the coins are redeemed, rather than with the user’s digital signature, so revealing the commitment hash authorizes the spending of the coins.

Therefore, if bitcoins are sent to this address, the funds can only be spent under certain conditions, conditions that have been compromised by the hash. This is usually called ‘covenant’.

Bitmex Research.

In a Compass Mining interview with Jeremy Rubin, broadcast in January 2022, Rubin assured that some users might not see the immediate benefits of the BIP-119 if it were to be activated, but functions such as sidechains or sidechains could take advantage of it as they develop around Bitcoin.

“I think my job is to design the best possible protocol and not wait if the user of that technology thinks if it is good or bad,” he said.

Jeremy Rubin introduces OP_CTV as a type of smart contract for Bitcoin. Source: Utxos.org / Jeremy Rubin.

He also explained what the goal of the BIP-119 is from a comparative point of Bitcoin with Ethereum, since OP_CTV would allow to execute what in a very basic way is the concept of a smart contract.

For this, he gave the example of the ecosystem of NFTs or non-fungible tokens, where there are markets that allow these tokens to be exchanged in a decentralized and censorship-resistant way.

What I like to tell people is that the goal of BIP-119 is to give users even 25% of what Ethereum is doing, just some of the interesting and useful things, so I think we should try to do some of these things […].

OP_CTV aims to give Bitcoin composability, where you can write an optional module or contract that you can apply for example to an NFT, or to open a Lightning channel with another user […], as Lightning channels can be seen as non-fungible assets, if you will.

What I aspire to deliver with OP_CTV is not necessarily the Ethereum functions, but a way to define and structure a contract in which you can compose and do different things in an obvious and direct way.

Jeremy Rubin, developer of the BIP-119.

In that interview, and in a very timely manner to the debate about whether Bitcoin needs to change, Rubin said that beyond NFTs, activating the BIP-119 was not about NFTs or sidechains, but about how to improve what Bitcoin can do right now.

“Is Bitcoin a finished product? Fuck you. Tell me if Bitcoin is private, tell me if in 10 years a user may not end up in a gulag [campo de trabajo forzado] because their transactions are unpopular. If we are not solving that problem, how can we solve it? To think that Bitcoin is ready when it has no privacy is very foolish,” he said.

Personal attacks and coordination failures

In the interview that BitMEX did Jeremy Rubin Bitmex, published on April 22, 2022, closer to the context of this debate, the developer explained some of his certainties about the process for making changes in Bitcoin.

In that sense, he opined that in his perception the Speedy Trial or snap judgment, a process of signaling support by miners, it seemed to be the fastest and most requested method by the market at the moment to start the activation of the BIP-119.

Rubin stated that he sees no problem in starting the signaling process before trying to insert the code of the BIP-119 or OP_CTV on the Bitcoin Core client, without activating it. In fact, he said that with Taproot, the activation parameters were defined before inserting the code of this proposal into Bitcoin Core.

The developer said that on this occasion, he has not proposed the insertion of the code of the BIP-119 or OP_CTV in Bitcoin Core. you have not received any guidelines from the developers of this software.

«Maintainer [de Bitcoin Core] they have not given me guidelines on what the criteria for accepting it would be, so without having clarity in that sense, my reading is that the consensus changes are proposed by Bitcoin Core,” he stated.

In the same way, he reported having received personal attacks and accusations of being a little experienced developer, which he denied:

“Someone told me the other day that someone else hadn’t checked the CTV code because he didn’t like me personally. I’m not ‘new’ to Bitcoin, I’ve studied it since 2011, and I started doing development in 2015,” he said.

My question is, am I new as to what? Who are the developers who actively think about things like this? […] What is the responsibility of the old guard, if they retire or are inactive, to pass the baton? […]

I think that if we don’t deal with these questions, and improve our ability to do engineering, the Bitcoin network will become a fossil. While we are working on making Bitcoin more robust, the simple truth is that it is very far from perfect, and when the people who built it retire and the next generation does not have the same skills, then Bitcoin will become something we do not verify, only something we trust…

Jeremy Rubin, Bitcoin developer.

Who does support the BIP-119 or OP_CTV as functionality for Bitcoin?

While many of those who support the BIP-119 do not necessarily support its immediate activation in Bitcoin, at least they do recognize and support the functionalities that OP_CTV brings.

Among the companies that approve the BIP-119, according to a survey conducted by Jeremy Rubin, are LN Markets, Lightning Labs and Muun Wallet among others.

In terms of personalities of the ecosystem bitcoiner, are Daniel McNally, chief technology officer (CTO) of BitGo, Ben Carman, developer, Fluffy Pony, lead maintainer of Monero, Charlie Lee, maintainer of Litecoin, Olaoluwa Osuntokun, chief technology officer of Ligthning Labs, Jameson Lopp, one of the developers of Bitcoin more experienced, among others.

For the time being, the BIP-119 will continue to be reviewed and its activation will have to wait for an undetermined time, so Jeremy Rubin will have to be patient until he sees his creation integrated into Bitcoin.