Dec 31, 2021
Hosts Aaron van Wirdum and Sjors Provoost are back
from their travel break for a brand new episode of Bitcoin,
Explained! In this episode, they explain how Bitcoin’s peer-to-peer
network is made more efficient and fast with Compact
Compact blocks are — as the name suggests — compact versions of
Bitcoin blocks, that have been used by Bitcoin Core nodes since
version 0.13. Compact Blocks contain the minimal amount of data
required for Bitcoin nodes to reconstruct entire blocks. Most
notably, Compact Blocks exclude most transaction data, to instead
include short transaction identifiers. Bitcoin nodes can use these
short identifiers to figure out which transactions from their
mempools should be included in the blocks.
Aaron and Sjors explain how and why Compact Blocks benefit the
Bitcoin network, and specifically how they help counter mining
centralization. The hosts also cover some edge cases that can
result from the use of Compact Blocks — like the possibility that
different valid transactions can have an identical identifier — and
how Bitcoin nodes handle such occurrences.
Finally, Sjors briefly touches on some of the ongoing
improvements that have been added to the Compact Blocks protocol
since it was first introduced.