This week’s newsletter describes a proposal for Bitcoin Core to allow replacing transaction witnesses in its mempool and summarizes continued discussion about updating the LN gossip protocol. Also included are our regular sections with selected questions and answers from the Bitcoin Stack Exchange, announcements of new releases and release candidates, and descriptions of notable changes to popular Bitcoin infrastructure projects.


  • Transaction witness replacement: Larry Ruane asked the Bitcoin-Dev mailing list for information and opinions about allowing a transaction to be replaced by the same transaction with the same txid but a smaller witness (and, thus, a different wtxid). Ruane sought information about any applications that currently create transactions with witnesses that can change in size (e.g. from using a taproot scriptpath spend to a keypath spend) without there being a corresponding change in the other transaction details (e.g. output addresses or amounts).

    If there are current or proposed applications that would benefit from being able to replace witnesses, Ruane also seeks feedback on how much the witness should need to shrink in order to allow replacement. The more shrinkage required, the fewer replacements are possible—limiting the amount of node bandwidth that could be wasted in the worst case by an attacker. But requiring more shrinkage would also prevent applications from accessing small or moderate savings through witness replacement.

  • Continued discussion about updated LN gossip protocol: as reported in Newsletter #188, LN protocol developers are discussing how to revise the LN gossip protocol used to advertise information about available payment channels. In particular, this week saw two active threads:

    • Major update: in response to Rusty Russell’s major update proposal from last month, Olaoluwa Osuntokun repeatedly expressed concern with an aspect of the proposal that would introduce plausible deniability in the link between onchain funds and a specific LN channel. That capability would also make it easier for non-LN users to advertise the existence of channels that might not actually exist, which could degrade the ability of a spender to find a working path across the network to the node receiving the funds.

    • Minor update: Osuntokun posted a separate proposal for a much smaller update to the gossip protocol aimed mainly at allowing taproot-based channels. The proposal uses MuSig2 to allow a single signature to prove authorization related to all four public keys involved (two node identifier keys, two channel-spending keys) and would likely require that the channel setup transaction be spendable using MuSig2.

      He also suggested that it might be useful to add an SPV partial merkle branch proof to the channel announcement message. This would prove that the channel setup transaction was included in a block, eliminating lightweight clients from having to download the entire block containing the transaction in order to verify its existence.

Selected Q&A from Bitcoin Stack Exchange

Bitcoin Stack Exchange is one of the first places Optech contributors look for answers to their questions—or when we have a few spare moments to help curious or confused users. In this monthly feature, we highlight some of the top-voted questions and answers posted since our last update.

Releases and release candidates

New releases and release candidates for popular Bitcoin infrastructure projects. Please consider upgrading to new releases or helping to test release candidates.

  • BDK 0.17.0 is a release of this library for building Bitcoin wallets. Improvements in this version should make it easier to derive addresses even when the wallet is offline.

  • Bitcoin Core 23.0 RC2 is a release candidate for the next major version of this predominant full node software. The draft release notes list multiple improvements that advanced users and system administrators are encouraged to test before the final release.

  • LND 0.14.3-beta.rc1 is a release candidate with several bug fixes for this popular LN node software.

Notable code and documentation changes

Notable changes this week in Bitcoin Core, C-Lightning, Eclair, LDK, LND, libsecp256k1, Hardware Wallet Interface (HWI), Rust Bitcoin, BTCPay Server, BDK, Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs), and Lightning BOLTs.

  • C-Lightning #5078 allows the node to effectively use multiple channels to the same peer, including routing payments over a different channel (but same peer) than specified in a routing message when the alternative channel would be a better choice.

  • C-Lightning #5103 adds a new setchannel command that configures a specific channel’s routing fees, minimum payment amount, and maximum payment amount. This supersedes the setchannelfee command, which is now deprecated.

  • C-Lightning #5058 removes support for the original fixed-length onion data format, which is also proposed for removal from the LN specification in BOLTs #962. The upgraded variable-length format was added to the specification almost three years ago and network scanning results mentioned in the BOLTs #962 PR indicate that it is supported by all but 5 out of over 17,000 publicly advertised nodes.

  • LND #5476 updates the GetTransactions and SubscribeTransactions RPC results with additional information about the outputs being created, including the amount and script being paid and whether or not the address (script) belongs to the internal wallet.

  • LND #6232 adds a configuration setting that can require all HTLCs be processed by a plugin registered on the HTLC interceptor hook. This ensures that no HTLCs are accepted or rejected before an HTLC interceptor has time to register itself. The HTLC interceptor allows calling an external program to examine an HTLC (payment) and determine whether it should be accepted or rejected.