To Meme, Or Not To Meme: The CAT

Is it actually stunning, provided that cats have primarily dominated the web for the final twenty years, that cat memes have lastly taken over the Bitcoin area as nicely in the previous few weeks? Cats are essentially the most viral meme on the web, so it is not surprising in in the slightest degree that the Taproot Wizards have leaned into it, strengthened by the trolling Luke over his “dietary decisions.”

The query must be requested although, are meme campaigns actually how we need to go about deciding and discussing consensus adjustments to a protocol as precious as Bitcoin? I’ve seen quite a few music movies, campaigns to exit on this planet and “educate” folks on OP_CAT, and the entire “Quest” system that Taproot Wizards has launched happening…however the actuality is the overwhelming majority of this content material that I’ve seen has been extremely superficial.

Rijndael, “Artificer” at Taproot Wizards and one of many few folks, if not the one particular person, truly tinkering and enjoying with OP_CAT to construct out use case examples, has made a demo of a OP_CAT primarily based covenant script.

This script enforces a certain amount of Bitcoin be despatched to a selected handle, and by consensus there is no such thing as a different approach to spend these cash besides with a transaction that meets these precise circumstances. Take a look at the dimensions of this script:

OP_TOALTSTACK OP_CAT OP_CAT OP_CAT OP_CAT de890a8209d796493ee7bac9a58b62fbced10ccb7311e24f26c461c079ead08c OP_SWAP OP_CAT OP_CAT OP_CAT OP_CAT OP_CAT OP_CAT OP_CAT OP_CAT OP_CAT 54617053696768617368 OP_SHA256 OP_DUP OP_ROT OP_CAT OP_CAT OP_SHA256 424950303334302f6368616c6c656e6765 OP_SHA256 OP_DUP OP_ROT 79be667ef9dcbbac55a06295ce870b07029bfcdb2dce28d959f2815b16f81798 OP_DUP OP_DUP OP_TOALTSTACK 2 OP_ROLL OP_CAT OP_CAT OP_CAT OP_CAT OP_SHA256 OP_FROMALTSTACK OP_SWAP OP_CAT OP_FROMALTSTACK OP_DUP 1 OP_CAT OP_ROT OP_EQUALVERIFY 2 OP_CAT 79be667ef9dcbbac55a06295ce870b07029bfcdb2dce28d959f2815b16f81798 OP_CHECKSIG

That is what it takes to emulate CHECKTEMPLATEVERIFY. The equal script utilizing CTV would merely be:


I ask, what’s the worth of one thing like OP_CAT in emulating the case of fundamental template covenants (issues requiring a spending transaction to meet sure circumstances outlined forward of time to be legitimate) like this? We all know precisely the best way to deal with schemes imposing a template on transactions spending an output locked to a template covenant, and have a number of proposals for them. CTV, TXHASH, OP_TX, and even APO can emulate these schemes by stuffing a signature within the locking output of a transaction at the price of an additional 64 bytes.

What precise use is OP_CAT in “experimenting” to fulfill the wants of a category of use circumstances which are mature sufficient in design that there are a minimum of 4 covenant proposals that may deal with these use circumstances with a tiny fraction of the information value? “Oh, we need to experiment with CAT as a result of it’s versatile!” You need to use 30 OP calls to do one thing that may be accomplished in a single? That may be a cause to really enact a consensus change to Bitcoin? The logic of that’s past absurd.

Downplaying Dangers

In a vacuum OP_CAT is bought as “merely concatenating two strings”, and most of the memes try framing it as “how can that be harmful?” It is a wildly disingenuous narrative surrounding the proposal, and it fully ignores the way it interacts with different current and future points of script.

Particularly CSFS + CAT opens a large quantity of potentialities by way of what will be accomplished with Bitcoin script, not all of it essentially optimistic. CSFS permits you to confirm a signature on an arbitrary piece of knowledge in the midst of executing a script, and CAT permits you to “glue” completely different items of knowledge collectively on the stack. These two issues create a large design area for what it’s attainable to do with Bitcoin.

One concrete instance could be the potential to implement quantities, or relationships between completely different quantities, of particular inputs and outputs in a transaction. CAT permits you to construct up a transaction hash from particular person items on the stack, and CSFS permits you to confirm a signature towards a public key within the locking script towards arbitrary items of that transaction as it’s constructed up. This might in the end allow the creation of open-ended UTXOs anybody can spend, so long as the spending transaction meets sure standards, reminiscent of a certain amount of cash be despatched to a selected handle. Mix this with the fact of OP_RETURN primarily based property, and this begins moving into the territory of Decentralized Exchanges (DEX).

A number of the worst incentive distortion issues which have come to fruition on different blockchains in the end stem from the creation of DEXes on these chains. Having direct non-interactive trade performance on the blockchain is likely one of the worst types of MEV, particularly when the potential exists for miners to lock-in their revenue throughout a number of trades within the span of a single block, moderately than having to really carry the chance of a place throughout a number of blocks earlier than closing it out and realizing revenue.

A part of the motion behind Taproot Wizards is “bringing the innovation again.” I.e. that classes realized in shitcoin land are coming dwelling to Bitcoin, now whereas I firmly reject the notion that something helpful has been developed on different cash within the final decade apart from the fundamental idea of zero data proofs, this mantra getting louder ignores a large element of that dynamic even if you happen to disagree with my view there: there are classes to be realized relating to what NOT to do in addition to what TO do.

DEXes are one of many issues NOT to do. Nothing has brought about as a lot chaos, volatility in payment dynamics (which we have to easy out over time for sustainability of second layers), and simply throughout incentive chaos relating to the bottom consensus layers of those protocols and their diploma of centralization. The concept that we must always rush to convey these kind of issues to Bitcoin, or exacerbate them by introducing a approach to trustlessly embed the bitcoin asset into them in additional dynamic and versatile methods, is frankly insane. This to me speaks of enormous swaths of people that haven’t realized something from watching what occurred on different blockchains within the final half decade or so.

Perpetually Shackled By The Cat

Wanting on the dynamic above between CSFS + CAT, it’s price mentioning that Reardencode’s current LNHANCE proposal (CTV + CSFS + Inner Key) affords a path to offer us eltoo for Lightning in a manner that’s truly more blockspace efficient than utilizing APO. If this argumentation, and construct out of proof of ideas, winds up profitable over Lightning builders who need LN symmetry as a way to simplify Lightning channel administration and implementation upkeep, we very nicely may wind up getting CSFS within the course of. If OP_CAT had been energetic previous to this, then there is no such thing as a approach to keep away from the forms of detrimental unwanted side effects of the 2 proposals being mixed.

This is able to maintain true for each gentle fork proposal going ahead if OP_CAT had been ever activated. It could be inconceivable to flee no matter unwanted side effects or use circumstances had been enabled by combining OP_CAT with no matter new proposals are available in future. By itself OP_CAT is clunky, inefficient, and moderately pointless. However together with different OPs it begins to get stupidly versatile and highly effective. This is able to be a dynamic we’d by no means be capable to escape, and options that may wind up being critically essential sooner or later for Bitcoin’s scalability may inescapably include large downsides and dangers merely due to the existence of OP_CAT.

Is that this a actuality we need to enter merely due to a meme marketing campaign? As a result of folks need to tinker with wildly inefficient technique of doing issues as an alternative of wanting via rather more environment friendly and objective constructed proposals? I might say no.

Meme campaigns will be enjoyable, I do know this. They foster a way of group and involvement, it is an inherent and inescapable a part of the web and the quite a few cultures that exist on it. However this isn’t how we needs to be deciding the event technique of Bitcoin. They are often enjoyable, and so they may even be viciously savage at stabbing on to the center of issues folks dance round or equivocate on. However they’re atrocious at capturing nuance and complexity in lots of regards.

Attempting to steer the consensus of a community like Bitcoin purely primarily based on the worth of a meme, moderately than reasoned consideration of proposals and their implications, is a catastrophe ready to occur. The conservatism and warning of Bitcoin improvement is what has saved it on the forefront of this area as shitcoins have come and gone, imploding within the penalties of their fly by evening carefree improvement perspective. As a lot as Bitcoin sorely wants to interrupt out of its present rut of stagnation and lack of ahead progress, devolving to uncritical memes and music movies is just not how to try this. It dangers destroying what made Bitcoin precious within the first place, its stable and conservative basis. 

Leave a Comment