Advertisement

A Journey into Bitcoin Metadata

  • Massimo BartolettiEmail author
  • Bryn Bellomy
  • Livio Pompianu
Article
  • 7 Downloads

Abstract

Besides recording transfers of currency, the Bitcoin blockchain is being used to save metadata — i.e. arbitrary pieces of data which do not affect transfers of bitcoins. This can be done by using different techniques, and for different purposes. For instance, a growing number of protocols embed metadata in the blockchain to certify and transfer the ownership of a variety of assets beyond cryptocurrency. A point of debate in the Bitcoin community is whether metadata negatively impact on the effectiveness of Bitcoin with respect to its primary function. This paper is a systematic analysis of the usage of Bitcoin metadata over the years. We discuss all the known techniques to embed metadata in the Bitcoin blockchain; we then extract metadata, and analyse them from different angles.

Keywords

Bitcoin Blockchain Measurements 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank Nicola Atzei for the insightful discussion on a preliminary version of this paper. This work is partially supported by Aut. Reg. of Sardinia projects Sardcoin and Smart collaborative engineering, and by COST Action IC1406 cHiPSET.

References

  1. 1.
    Bicoin scalability. https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Scalability. Last Accessed 2018/01/01
  2. 2.
    Bitcoin network survives surprise stress test. http://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-network-survives-stress-test/. Last Accessed 2018/01/01
  3. 3.
    Bitcoin wiki page. https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/OP_RETURN. Last Accessed 2018/01/01
  4. 4.
    Bitcoin pull request 5075. https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/pull/5075. Last Accessed 2018/01/01
  5. 5.
    Bitcoin pull request 5286. https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/pull/5286. Last Accessed 2018/01/01
  6. 6.
    Bitcoin release 0.10.0. https://bitcoin.org/en/release/v0.10.0. Last Accessed 2018/01/01
  7. 7.
    Bitcoin release 0.12.0. https://bitcoin.org/en/release/v0.12.0. Last Accessed 2018/01/01
  8. 8.
    Bitcoin release 0.9.0. https://bitcoin.org/en/release/v0.9.0. Last Accessed 2018/01/01
  9. 9.
  10. 10.
    Bitcoin wiki script. https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Script. Last Accessed 2018/01/01
  11. 11.
    Bitcoin wiki transaction. https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Transaction. Last Accessed 2018/01/01
  12. 12.
    Colu website. https://www.colu.com/. Last Accessed 2018/ 01/01
  13. 13.
    Counterparty open letter and plea to the Bitcoin core development team. http://counterparty.io/news/an-open-letter-and-plea-to-the-bitcoin-core-development-team/ . Last Accessed 2018/01/01
  14. 14.
    Counterparty website. http://counterparty.io/. Last Accessed 2018/01/01
  15. 15.
    Developers battle over bitcoin block chain. http://www.coindesk.com/developers-battle-bitcoin-block-chain/. Last Accessed 2018/01/01
  16. 16.
    Factom website. https://www.factom.com/. Last Accessed 2018/01/01
  17. 17.
    Kaiko data store. https://www.kaiko.com/. Last Accessed 2018/01/01
  18. 18.
    Omni website. http://www.omnilayer.org/. Last Accessed 2018/01/01
  19. 19.
    Open assets website. https://github.com/OpenAssets/. Last Accessed 2018/01/01
  20. 20.
    opreturn.org. http://opreturn.org/. Last Accessed 2018/ 01/01
  21. 21.
    Proof of existence website. https://proofofexistence.com/. Last Accessed 2018/01/01
  22. 22.
    Scalability debate ever end. https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/will-bitcoin-scalability-debate-ever-end/ Last Accessed 2018/01/01
  23. 23.
    Scaling debate in Reddit. http://www.coindesk.com/viabtc-ceo-sparks-bitcoin-scaling-debate-reddit-ama/. Last Accessed 2018/01/01
  24. 24.
    Smartbit statistics. https://www.smartbit.com.au/op-returns. Last Accessed 2018/01/01
  25. 25.
    Stampery blockchain timestamping architecture. https://s3.amazonaws.com/stampery-cdn/docs/Stampery-BTA-v6-whitepaper.pdf. Last Accessed 2018/01/01
  26. 26.
    Data insertion in Bitcoin’s blockchain (2017). http://digitalcommons.augustana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=cscfaculty. Last Accessed 2018/01/01
  27. 27.
    Andresen, G.: Block v2, height in coinbase. BIP 034. https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/blob/master/bip-0034.mediawiki. Last Accessed 2018/01/01
  28. 28.
    Antonopoulos, A.M.: Mastering Bitcoin: Unlocking Digital Cryptocurrencies. O’Reilly Media, Inc (2014)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Atzei, N., Bartoletti, M., Cimoli, T., Lande, S., Zunino, R.: SoK: Unraveling Bitcoin smart contracts. In: Principles of Security and Trust (POST), LNCS, vol. 10804, pp. 217–242. Springer (2018).  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-89722-6_9
  30. 30.
    Atzei, N., Bartoletti, M., Lande, S., Zunino, R.: A formal model of Bitcoin transactions. In: Financial Cryptography and Data Security (2018)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Badertscher, C., Maurer, U., Tschudi, D., Zikas, V.: Bitcoin as a transaction ledger: A composable treatment. In: CRYPTO, LNCS, vol. 10401, pp. 324–356. Springer (2017).  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-63688-7_11
  32. 32.
    Baqer, K., Huang, D.Y., McCoy, D., Weaver, N.: Stressing out: Bitcoin “stress testing”. In: Financial Cryptography Workshops, LNCS, vol. 9604, pp. 3–18. Springer (2016).  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-53357-4_1
  33. 33.
    Bartoletti, M., Bracciali, A., Lande, S., Pompianu, L.: A general framework for blockchain analytics. In: Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on Scalable and Resilient Infrastructures for Distributed Ledgers (SERIAL@Middleware), pp. 7:1–7:6. ACM (2017).  https://doi.org/10.1145/3152824.3152831, https://github.com/bitbart/blockapi
  34. 34.
    Bartoletti, M., Pompianu, L.: An analysis of Bitcoin OP_RETURN metadata. In: Financial Cryptography Workshops, LNCS, vol. 10323, pp. 218–230. Springer (2017)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Bartoletti, M., Pompianu, L., Bellomy, B.: Bitcoin metadata (2018).  https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/MOLW81
  36. 36.
    Bartoletti, M., Zunino, R.: BitML: A calculus for Bitcoin smart contracts. In: ACM CCS (2018)Google Scholar
  37. 37.
  38. 38.
    Bellomy, B.: Local blockchain parser. https://github.com/spooktheducks/local-blockchain-parser
  39. 39.
    Bistarelli, S., Mercanti, I., Santini, F.: An analysis of non-standard Bitcoin transactions. In: Crypto Valley Conference on Blockchain Technology (2018)Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Bonneau, J., Miller, A., Clark, J., Narayanan, A., Kroll, J.A., Felten, E.W.: SoK: Research perspectives and challenges for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. In: IEEE Symp. on Security and Privacy, pp. 104–121.  https://doi.org/10.1109/SP.2015.14 (2015)
  41. 41.
  42. 42.
    Garay, J.A., Kiayias, A., Leonardos, N.: The Bitcoin backbone protocol: Analysis and applications. In: EUROCRYPT, LNCS, vol. 9057, pp. 281–310. Springer (2015)Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Gerhardt, I., Hanke, T.: Homomorphic payment addresses and the pay-to-contract protocol. arXiv:1212.3257 (2012)
  44. 44.
    Kosba, A.E., Miller, A., Shi, E., Wen, Z., Papamanthou, C.: Hawk: The blockchain model of cryptography and privacy-preserving smart contracts. In: IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, pp. 839–858.  https://doi.org/10.1109/SP.2016.55  https://doi.org/10.1109/SP.2016.55 (2016)
  45. 45.
    Lischke, M., Fabian, B.: Analyzing the Bitcoin network: The first four years. Futur. Internet 8 (1), 7 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Matzutt, R., Hiller, J., Henze, M., Ziegeldorf, J.H., Mul̈lmann, D., Hohlfeld, O., Wehrle, K.: A quantitative analysis of the impact of arbitrary blockchain content on Bitcoin. In: Financial Cryptography and Data Security (2018)Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Möser, M., Böhme, R.: Trends, tips, tolls: A longitudinal study of Bitcoin transaction fees. In: Financial Cryptography and Data Security, LNCS, vol. 8976, pp. 19–33. Springer.  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-48051-9 (2015)
  48. 48.
    Nakamoto, S.: Bitcoin: A peer-to-peer electronic cash system, https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf (2008)
  49. 49.
    Reid, F., Harrigan, M.: An analysis of anonymity in the Bitcoin system. In: Security and Privacy in Social Networks, pp. 197–223. Springer (2013)Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Ron, D., Shamir, A.: Quantitative analysis of the full Bitcoin transaction graph. In: Financial Cryptography and Data Security, LNCS, vol. 7859, pp. 6–24. Springer.  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-39884-1 (2013)
  51. 51.
    Stevens, M., Bursztein, E., Karpman, P., Albertini, A., Markov, Y.: The first collision for full SHA-1. In: CRYPTO, LNCS, vol. 10401, pp. 570–596. Springer (2017).  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-63688-7_19
  52. 52.
    Todd, P.: Delayed TXO commitments. https://petertodd.org/2016/delayed-txo-commitments. Last Accessed 2018/ 01/01
  53. 53.
    Tomescu, A., Devadas, S.: Catena: Efficient non-equivocation via Bitcoin. In: IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, pp. 393–409.  https://doi.org/10.1109/SP.2017.19 (2017)

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Matematica e InformaticaUniversità degli Studi di CagliariCagliariItaly
  2. 2.ConsenSysBrooklynUSA

Personalised recommendations