Bitcoin at the stake: developers propose methods to burn satoshis

The Bitcoin developers mailing list was the discussion table of a topic that, although it is not new, is often latent: how to burn bitcoins (BTC)? To which is added a more specific question: how to verify that someone burned BTC?

Burning bitcoins, or any type of cryptocurrency, is the name given to the action of getting rid of a number of tokens foreverconsciously and intentionally.

One of the members of the aforementioned list, known as Veleslav, raised concerns about the development of an efficient burn test. According to him, the current method works, but it is very limited due to the space available in the Bitcoin blockssince the burning is carried out in the main network.

Bitcoin’s scalability problem prompted Veleslav to think about second layer solutions. So, it would be a kind of Lightning network, but to burn satoshis (the smallest unit in which a bitcoin is divided).

In its mailVeleslav describes a procedure that looked good, until he found that the person sending the satoshis would have the possibility to pay several times with the same amount of balance, what is known as double spending. It would be like paying with the same ticket in several stores.

Possible solutions and developer tests to burn bitcoin safely

This week’s newsletter from Bitcoin Optech highlighted the counterproposal presented by developer Ruben Somsen on this issue. Somsen advised Veleslav to use a simpler Merkel tree than the one he used in his example and recommended the use of a space chain or space string. The developer describes it as “a sidechain whose native token is BTC burned.”

A possible proof of a use case for burning bitcoins was also proposed. Is It consists of 100 users attaching proof to their emails that the equivalent of USD 1 in bitcoins was burned. The example is inspired by the Hashcash system proposed by Adam Back, Bitcoin developer and founder of Blockstream, in 1997. The goal of Hashcash was to prevent denial of service attacks and the mountains of spam that can be received.

As far as token burning is concerned, Ethereum is one of the networks that has a system for it. In this case, 70% of commissions paid to miners are burned. CriptoNoticias reported that 10 months after the adoption of this protocol, more than 20,000 ETH were burned. However, unlike Ethereum, Bitcoin production will stop before 21,000,000 BTC is mined. For this reason, each bitcoin burned reduces the final supply of BTC and makes it more scarce.

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