ForkMonitor: Unexpected Inflation Detection and Warning System

Abstract: ForkMonitor has now implemented unexpected inflation detection and warning systems for Bitcoin. The block reward is currently 12.5 bitcoin, which means that no more than 12.5 new bitcoin should be created each block. Some of the ForkMonitor nodes now calculate the total coin supply each block, using the gettxoutsetinfo RPC call. If the total coin supply increases by more than 12.5 bitcoin, warnings systems are initiated. This service potentially provides additional assurances to network participants about the supply of Bitcoin at any given time.



ForkMonitor has recently added a new feature, unexpected inflation detection. This feature has been added for Bitcoin and Testnet Bitcoin. The system periodically checks the total coin supply by summing up all the UTXO values. If the value is unexpectedly large, warnings are activated. Bitcoin nodes are already supposed to check the coin supply, however this occurs by only checking that no unauthorised coins are created in each individual transaction and there is no macro total supply check. Therefore the ForkMonitor service could provide an additional layer of security and assurance for Bitcoin users, as well as an early warning system which could encourage people to run these checks on their own nodes if an issue is detected.

If the inflation is in line with expectations, a green tick is displayed on the website. However, if unexpected inflation occurs, a red cross is displayed alongside other warnings.

Illustration of unexpected inflation detected by Bitcoin Core 0.18.1


Please subscribe to the feeds, to be altered in the event of unexpected Bitcoin inflation.

Coin Supply Checking Mechanisms

The systems plan to check the inflation using the following methods:

  • Coin supply change from the previous block –  After each Bitcoin block is produced, the system checks the total coin supply and stores the figure in a database. As each new block is produced, the summation is repeated and the total coin supply is subtracted from the previous figure. If the change is higher than the allowed block reward (12.5 bitcoins today, 6.25 bitcoins from around May 2020, etc.), then the warnings are initiated.
  • Consistency across multiple node versions In addition, the system will also check that the total bitcoin supply is consistent at each block height for all the nodes participating in the inflation check (which is illustrated on the ForkMonitor website).

Gettxoutsetinfo Issues

One of the main challenges we faced when implementing this inflation check feature was that it took considerable time for Bitcoin Core to run the gettxoutsetinfo call, typically around 2 minutes. This created several implementation challenges for ForkMonitor, such as what to display in this two minute period or what happens when a block is found while the calculation is occurring. For example, the maximum rate at which the inflation check can move forwards is one block every two minutes; if many blocks are found in a row, with smaller than two minute intervals between them, our check can be ineffective for a while.

Gettxoutsetinfo RPC call – Bitcoin’s supply of approximately 18 million is illustrated

 (Source: Output from Bitcoin Core 0.18.0 “Gettxoutsetinfo” call)

Others are aware of these issues, as Bitcoin developer Fabian Jahr recently put it:

[The gettxoutsetinfo call] does not have a sufficient user experience, you call it and it actually takes several minutes to respond and there is no feedback

 (Source: Fabian Jahr (Youtube))

In 2017 Bitcoin developer Pieter Wuille posted to the Bitcoin development mailing list, a potential improvement, which he says could make this Remote Procedure Call (RPC) call faster.

Replacement for Bitcoin Core’s gettxoutsetinfo RPC’s hash computation. This currently requires minutes of I/O and CPU, as it serializes and hashes the entire UTXO set. A rolling set hash would make this instant, making the whole RPC much more usable for sanity checking

 (Source: Pieter Wuille’s 2017 Rolling UTXO set hash email)

Based on the above idea, Fabian recently indicated he may work on implementing this potential fix, in an attempt to improve this RPC call. If this improvement is implemented, it would certainly be helpful for ForkMonitor.

Bitcoin’s 2018 Inflation Bug (CVE-2018-17144)

ForkMonitor was very much inspired by the events of September 2018, when it emerged that Bitcoin Core had a bug which would enable miners to create coins out of nowhere in addition to the normal block reward. This bug affected versions of Bitcoin Core spanning from 0.14.0 to 0.16.2, before the fixes were released. (0.14.X nodes merely crashed while later nodes would have accepted the blocks with the unexpected inflation).

A successful exploitation of this bug could have had catastrophic consequences for the network, for example Bitcoin’s supply could have inflated above 21 million or a large rollback may have occurred, undermining the security many users and businesses depend on.

ForkMonitor was launched to mitigate these risks. If such a bug existed today, our systems should be able to detect it in three ways:

  • ForkMonitor runs multiple versions of Bitcoin Core, spanning many years of development. If a newly-introduced bug results in unexpected inflation or an unauthorized spend, the older nodes should detect this and mark the block as invalid, triggering the warning systems.
  • The website also runs independent implementations of Bitcoin, such as bcoin, btcd and Libbitcoin. If Bitcoin Core has a bug which allows unexpected inflation or an unauthorized spend, as long as the same bug wasn’t independently implemented, these other clients should mark the block as invalid, triggering the warning systems.
  • As of October 2019, ForkMonitor also directly checks the total coin supply of each block. In the event of unexpected inflation, even in the unlikely scenario that all our nodes mark the block as valid, the warning systems will still be triggered. The inflation checking system is also helpful even if nodes do mark the block as invalid, as it can help users determine why this was the case in a timely manner.

Independent Implementations

As we explained in our October 2018 piece, Competing with Bitcoin Core, there are advantages and disadvantages of competing implementations and in particular independent implementations. One key advantage of independent implementations that we mentioned is that there could be a bug in Bitcoin Core or the reference implementation which is not present in the independent implementations.

For the above reason, we are keen to add one of the three independent implementations (bcoin, btcd and Libbitcoin) into the total coin supply inflation checking system as soon as possible. The method of calculating total coin supply used by these implementations may be independent from that used by Bitcoin Core, which should provide extra reassurance that the number is correct.


This new service may not solve all potential problems with regards to detecting unexpected inflation. For example there could be a bug in the gettxoutsetinfo check. In addition to this, the various mechanisms to check for unexpected inflation and block validity may not be truly independent from each other. Even the independent Bitcoin implementations may have inadvertently copied a bug or erroneous concept from Bitcoin Core. However, we believe this macro inflation checking service is potentially a useful addition to network security.

As a reminder, the ForkMonitor website is open source, therefore please feel free to contribute, fork the project or reproduce the website.




2018 年 7 月的文章重温了 2011 年 MtGox 公司当时对投资者大搞阴谋诡计和破产的命运,这是第二篇回顾丑闻频发的比特币历史的文章,时间将我们带回到 2012 年 7 月比特币基金会成立之时。该基金会有七个创始会员,如果排除非正常列为创始成员的 Satoshi 外,则有六个成员。


  • Gavin Andresen,比特币开发者
  • Peter Vessenes,CoinLab CEO
  • Charlie Shrem,BitInstant CEO
  • Roger Ver,MemoryDealers CEO
  • Patrick Murck,Engage Legal负责人
  • Mark Karpeles, CEO
  • Satoshi Nakamoto,白皮书《比特币:点对点电子现金系统》作者

(来源: GitHub



(来源: GitHub

基金会的使命 – 2013 年 6 月



  • 支付比特币开发者 Gavin Andresen 的工资
  • 安排比特币会议
  • 向监管机构推广比特币

2012 年和 2013 年,该基金会越来越受欢迎,吸引了来自比特币社区的成员,包括知名的开发者、企业和社区成员。


(来源: 比特币基金会

截至 2013 年 9 月的公司会员

(来源: 比特币基金会

该基金会由会员费资助——初始会员费用表如下。但随着比特币价格的升值,按比特币计的价格确实在 2013 年开始下降。


(来源: GitHub)


2013 年 4 月会员供款的大致底限(假设按初始费率)

  • 2 位白金行业会员 * 10,000 比特币 = 20,000 比特币
  • 7 位白银行业会员 * 500 比特币 = 3,500 比特币 
  • 175 位终身会员 * 25 比特币 = 4,375 比特币
  • 总收入来源 = 27,873 比特币   

(来源: BitMEX 研究)

正如我们稍后将在本报告看到的那样,该基金会在 2012 年底仅拥有约 8,000 个比特币,规模依然强大,但余额却让人大跌眼镜。由于会员订购的时间尚不清楚,我们上面的估算还有可能高估。



  1. 创始人 
  2. 个人  
  3. 公司 

董事会最初由五名成员组成,一名由创始人提名,两名由个人提名,两名由公司成员提名。每名被任命者的任期应该为 3 年。在基金会成立之初,全部五名董事会成员均由创始人指定,且所有董事会成员均为创始人,但 Jon Matonis 除外。

比特币基金会董事会成员(2012 年至 2019 年)

(来源: 比特币基金会网站,BitMEX 研究)



第一次董事会选举在 2013 年举行,Meyer Malka 赢得了行业席位,Elizabeth Ploshay则在个人会员投票中胜出。  

董事会选举 – 行业席位(2013年) – 胜出者:Meyer Malka

(来源: 比特币基金会

董事会选举 – 个人席位(2013年) – 胜出者:Elizabeth Ploshay

(来源: 比特币基金会)

2014 年初,两位创始行业席位的持有人辞职。Charlie Shrem 于2014年1月28日辞职,他两天前因洗钱和与无证汇转资金相关的违法行为在肯尼迪国际机场被捕。Charlie 最终于2014年12月被定罪并被判处两年监禁。Shrem 犯下的重罪主要涉及他继续为一名在 BitInstant Bitcoin 购买服务的用户提供客户支持,尽管据称他知道客户想要比特币是为了在 Silk Road 电子商务平台上购买毒品(或者客户打算向其他毒品购买人提供比特币,于是持有者又少了一层)。另一个行业席位的持有者 Mark Karpeles 于 2014 年 2 月 24 日辞职,原因是 Mark 担任 CEO 的 MtGox Bitcoin 交易所破产和清算。

接着 Brock Pierce 和 Bobby Lee 被选为两位替任的行业指定董事会成员。

董事会选举 – 行业席位( 2014 年) – 胜出者:Bobby Lee 和 Brock Pierce

(来源: 比特币基金会)

任命 Brock Pierce 为董事被证明是有争议的,一些人声称基金会应该在让 Pierce 上任之前完成更多的审查。对这位在《野鸭变凤凰》和迪士尼的《第一公子》中扮演角色的前儿童演员的指控,与他在 20 世纪 90 年代后期涉嫌参与对儿童的性虐待有关。Pierce 虽然当时只是个青少年,但却是互联网视频创业公司 Digital Entertainment Network (DEN) 的执行官和联合创始人,该公司曾被指控主办数个可能发生性虐待的派对。这些指控导致联合创始人兼 CEO Marc Collins-Rector 以及 Pierce 先生从 DEN 辞职,据说逃往了西班牙。Collins-Rector 先生最终对与虐待儿童有关的罪行表示认罪,据路透社报道,法庭记录显示,Pierce 先生支付了 21,000 美元来解决相关的民事诉讼,而其他索赔则被撤销,文章还指出 Pierce 否认了这些指控。

到 2014 年底,重压之下的基金会对其治理进行了下列改进:

  • 董事会成员任期从 3 年减至 2 年  
  • 取消创始人董事会席位 
  • 去掉了创始人类别


下表是对基金会大部分成员会费被耗尽这段时期( 2012 年到 2014 年)财务状况的基本分析。数据根据的是该组织的 IRS990 表格。在董事会的薪酬方面,披露似乎相当给力。大多数董事会成员除了担任高管之外,没有获得任何报酬。向 Gavin 支付薪酬是该组织的主要目标之一,对 Gavin 的薪酬的披露看起来合理清晰而且恰当。

  2012 年 2013 年 2014 年
Gavin Andresen 15,000 美元 209,648 美元 147,917 美元
Patrick Murck  57,592 美元 115,001 美元
Lindsay Holland  160,652 美元 
Jodie Brady   141,667 美元
Jon Matonis (承包商)  31,250 美元 137,500 美元
其他薪酬支出 14,013 美元 118,047 美元 582,782 美元
总薪酬支出 29,013 美元 577,189 美元 1,124,867 美元
会议支出  418,413 美元 825,525 美元
其他支出 32,608 美元 472,302 美元 1,335,210 美元
总支出 61,621 美元 1,467,904 美元 3,285,602 美元
会员费  358,007 美元 335,723 美元
会议收入  377,883 美元 584,308 美元
其他  64,803 美元 35,728 美元
总收入 159,359 美元 800,693 美元 955,759 美元
盈余 /(亏空) 97,738 美元( 667,211 美元)( 2,329,843 美元)
比特币(年终按美元计价) 107,549 美元 4,512,316 美元 703,843 美元
比特币销售所得  749,157 美元 569,728 美元
实现的比特币收益 /(亏损)  77,148 美元( 40,316 美元)
未实现的比特币收益 /(亏损)  5,195,589 美元( 1,966,768 美元)

(来源: IRS 990 Forms, BitMEX 研究)


  1. 2014 年的支出大幅增加,令该组织的储备几乎消耗殆尽。 
  2. 在基金会的比特币余额方面缺乏透明度 

至于第一个批评,担心似乎确实有些道理。2014 年薪酬支出增长 81%,2014 年会议出现重大净亏损,而且其他支出显著增加。至于其他 130 万美元的支出,我们在下面提供了细目,读者可以判断超支的程度。与 2017 年和 2018 年首次代币发行(ICO)时过多的泡沫相比 ,支出是适度的,下面的总支出可能只相当于最大手笔的 ICO 某一次营销活动的零头而已。但部分基金会成员显然希望他们的资金使用能更加谨慎。主要问题似乎是,这一预期并没有事先明确提出来。不管你怎么看,实际上到 2015 年初,该基金会几乎耗尽了财务储备,从这个程度上讲,其财务管理不善。

2014 年其他支出明细

其他专业服务  307,767 美元
法律费用  200,003 美元
差旅 584,308 美元
信息技术 158,021 美元
专业的活动费用 115,401 美元
公共关系 93,241 美元
汇兑损失 73,362 美元
会计 50,556 美元
办公室费用 39,071 美元
补助金(外国) 37,314 美元
坏账 18,500 美元
对关联方的支付 18,002 美元
场地租金 17,949 美元
补助金 14,000 美元
广告 9,218 美元
保险 3,639 美元
其他20,000 美元
其他总支出 1,335,210 美元

(来源: 比特币基金会 IRS 990 form)

该基金会在比特币结余方面缺乏透明度也令人关切。每年年底 IRS990 表格都披露持有的比特币的美元价值、实现的比特币收益和未实现的比特币收益。根据这一资料,我们计算如下:

BitMEX 研究的比特币计算 2012 年 2013 年 2014 年
年终比特币价格 13 美元 754 美元 320 美元
比特币结余变动 ( 2,232 )( 4,604 )
隐含的出售价格  336 美元 124 美元
实现的比特币收益 /(亏损)  71,945 美元( 2,901,314 美元)
未实现的比特币收益 /(亏损)  4,433,979 美元( 599,354 美元)
年度最低比特币价格 4 美元 13 美元 268 美元
隐含的比特币销售所得  29,011 美元 1,233,739 美元
实现的比特币收益 /(亏损) ( 201 美元)( 2,237,303 美元)

(来源: IRS 990 Forms, BitMEX 研究)

通过 IRS990 表格中披露的信息引导,我们发现了以下明显有关比特币的出入:

  • 鉴于比特币捐赠量,基金会在 2012 年末比特币结余较低(参见本报告前面的数字 28,000 个比特币)似乎是合理的。
  • 基金会披露的 2013 年未实现的比特币收益为 520 万美元,但根据年度价格变动和计算的年终结余,我们算出未实现的收益仅有 440 万美元。 
  • 基金会披露 2014 年未实现的比特币亏损为 200 万美元,但根据年度价格变动和计算的年终结余,我们计算出未实现的亏损仅为 60 万美元。  
  • 基金会在 2014 年披露的比特币销售所得为 569,728 美元,但即使假设全部比特币都以当年最低的交易价格售出,考虑到比特币结余大幅减少了 4,600 个,销售所得本应为 120 万美元。


一些成员明确希望提高透明度,并希望向董事会询问资金情况,但他们从未获得过这样的机会。引述比特币评论员 Andreas Antonpoulous(当时是基金会委员会主席)下面的话,反映了当时社区中很多人的看法。


(来源: Andreas Antonopoulos – 2014 年 3 月 – Let’s Talk Bitcoin Episode 95)

卷入 MtGox 丑闻

更为糟糕的是,还有一些关于该基金会牵涉 MtGox 破产的说法: 

  • MtGoX 的 CEO Mark Karpeles 是该基金会的创始人和创始董事会成员,而该公司本身是该基金会的高级会员。 
  • 创始会员 Roger Ver 曾在 MtGox 倒闭前不久向该交易所的客户公开保证该交易所的偿付能力。
  • 2013 年,由于合作失败,基金会的创始主席 Peter Vessenes(他很可能有权获得 MtGox 的部分股权)卷入了与 MtGox 之间的各种法律纠纷。2013 年 Peter 的公司 Coinlab 起诉 MtGox 要求获得 7500 万美元赔偿。截至 2019 年 8 月,Peter 目前对 MtGox 的索赔总共高达 160 亿美元( 1.6 万亿日元), 这一庞大的数额足以有效阻止 MtGox 向客户作出分派,至今仍是债权人受挫的一大缘由。

Andreas 将基金会的情况与 MtGox 做了如下比较: 

它的问题可以直接归结于领导上的彻底失败,这是一种完全封闭、狭隘、傲慢、包庇、缺乏沟通的领导风格。其中有 Karpeles 本人,当然董事会的其他几位也难辞其咎,领导方式如出一辙。这家基金会就是 Gox of Foundations。我很意外它没有在 Gox 丑闻之后爆雷,毕竟当时的环境下出现了大量的重大矛盾。

但是过多强调 MtGox 与基金会之间的联系也许不公平,毕竟生态系统很小,而且 MtGox 是占主导地位的交易所,所以某种程度上有一定的联系是不可避免的。 

阿姆斯特丹会议( 2014 年 5 月)  

2014年5月,比特币基金会组织了迄今为止该领域内规模最大的一次会议。这是(至少是我们参加的)第一次大会,当时已经有了后来 2017 年到 2018 年的风范:有增无减的热情、对基础技术不切实际的预期、昂贵的餐食,和数不清的新企业的展台,但他们带来的计划都似乎没有什么商业意义。如上文数据所示,尽管票价高达 800 美元,但大会似乎产生了约 250 000 美元的净亏损。


(来源: Eventbrite

记者 Ryan Selkis(现任 Messari 创始人兼首席执行官)在这次活动上是重要的终身会员之一,他试图让基金会承担责任。在年会上,他向基金会董事会成员提出了几个具有挑战性的问题,包括要求提高透明度。直到那时为止,大部分的争论和抱怨都是在网络论坛上进行的,这种真实世界的互动标志着一个重大的新变化。在应对他的挑战时,一名董事会成员是这样说的: 


(资料来源:比特币基金会 2014 年年会


区块链选举( 2015 年 2 月)  


基金会决定在区块链上进行 2015 年个人董事会席位的选举。时任选举委员会主席的 Brain Goss 表示: 



  • 第一轮投票使用的是 Helios 投票系统。但是没有候选人获得超过 50% 的选票,所以按章程规定,需要第二轮投票。接着,该基金会做出了一个怪异的决定,在两轮投票之间将投票平台换到 Swarm ,这个决定遭到了普遍反对。尽管最终在 Swarm 上启动了最后一轮投票程序,但在投票期间,该基金会在投票期决定换回到 Helios ,取消了 Swarm 的投票
  • 决定在第一轮投票后将候选人人数减少到 4 人,这似乎是非常武断的。 
  • 登记投票的程序被普遍认为繁琐而复杂,部分候选人有抱怨。

(来源: Email received as part of the Swarm voting process)

董事会选举——个人席位第一轮(2015 年)

(来源: Helios voting system records)

董事会选举——个人席位最终轮(2015)——胜出者:Oliver Janssens 和 Jim Harper

(来源: 比特币基金会)

在投票争议之后,Patrick Murk 对《比特币》杂志表示:


免去董事和董事会选举结束( 2015 年 12 月)

2015年12月,新当选的两名董事会成员 Oliver 和 Jim 被其他董事会成员免职,理由是他们对基金会未来的最佳发展方式存在分歧。Oliver 和 Jim 近期在个人成员的竞争性选举中获得成功,积累了相当大的民主授权。与此同时,Elizabeth 和 Meyer 的两年任期已经届满,而 Brock 和 Bobby 是由行业而非个人选出的。因此,从个人成员的角度来看,Oliver 和 Jim 是仅有的两名负有重大使命的董事会成员,但他们却被免职。随后基金会违反章程,决定不再进行任何董事会选举。正如执行董事 Bruce Fenton 所说:



我们认为这种逻辑很难自圆其说,因为很多问题是由于董事会对个人成员明显缺乏责任感所导致的。Elizabeth Ploshey 是唯一一位由在董事会有效工作过一段时间的个人成员所选出的董事会成员。如果该基金会真的想重整旗鼓,本可以让 Oliver 和 Jim 复职,并允许进一步的选举来替换其他本应当离开的董事会成员。但是恰恰相反,基金会甚至决定与成员拉开距离,避免这种问责可能带来的挑战,结果也就失去了它剩余的全部的合法性。

在那之后,从 2015 年到 2019 年,从先前选举中落败的候选人中任命了4名新董事会成员,但这次任命是由董事会而非成员做出的。


该基金会至今仍然存在,现在是 Brock 担任主席,而 Bobby 担任副主席,尽管他们的任期早已届满,新的选举却遥遥无期。该基金会没有重要的财务资源(但基本上无关紧要)。之前从事的活动现在由其他机构在进行,例如Coin Centre负责对监管机构进行游说,而比特币开发则由 Chaincode Labs 、 Blockstream 、麻省理工学院 (MIT) 的 DCI 等机构和其他行业参与者资助。在许多方面,这篇文章的结论是不言而喻的:比特币根本不需要基金会,没有基金会它会更强大,任何类似这样无所不包的基金会都注定会失败。

人们对基金会缺乏透明度的愤怒,暴露了比特币(现在是加密货币)社区成员之间在预期和文化方面的一些关键分歧。某些比特币持有者,尤其是那些自该基金会成立之初就参与其中的人,通常都深谙计谋、生性多疑,他们期望极高的透明、问责和财务审慎程度。而基金会似乎误判了这些期望,失去了社区的支持,以失败而告终。但相对而言,与从 2014 年左右开始并在 2018 年初达到代币发行鼎盛时期的程度相比,比特币基金会的财务问责和透明度几乎又无可指摘。加密货币社区的部分成员(并非所有的新成员)有着截然不同的预期,他们更关注于他们认为的改变游戏规则的技术、热衷于改变世界和变得超级富有,而不是治理。即使是在这种新的环境下,基金会的品牌也受到了无法挽回的损害,再也没有找到自己的用武之地。


BitMEX (

The Bitcoin Foundation

Abstract: In this piece we look back at the history of Bitcoin, focusing in on “The Bitcoin Foundation”, once one of the most prominent organisations in the ecosystem. We look at Foundation’s origins and then examine its failings with respect to its governance, transparency and finances, which ultimately led to a total loss of legitimacy within the Bitcoin community. We conclude that an all-encompassing Foundation was never likely to have been a good idea given the high governance and transparency standards of some in the community, and that a constant stream of scandals damaged the Foundation’s brand to such an extent that its duties had to be carried out by other organisations.

(Screenshot of the Bitcoin Foundation’s website and logo in 2013)

The Foundation’s Origins

Following on from our July 2018 piece, which took us back to shenanigans and incompetence at MtGox in 2011, this second look at Bitcoin’s scandal-rich history takes us back to July 2012, when The Bitcoin Foundation was founded. The Foundation had seven founding members, or six if you exclude Satoshi, who was oddly included as a founding member.

Bitcoin Foundation Founding Members

  • Gavin Andresen, Bitcoin Developer
  • Peter Vessenes, CEO of CoinLab
  • Charles Shrem, CEO of BitInstant
  • Roger Ver, CEO of MemoryDealers
  • Patrick Murck, Principal at Engage Legal
  • Mark Karpeles, CEO of
  • Satoshi Nakamoto, author of the white paper “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”

(Source: GitHub) 

The objective of the Foundation was never completely clear, with the original bylaws stating the following:

The Corporation shall promote and protect both the decentralized, distributed and private nature of the Bitcoin distributed-digital currency and transaction system as well as individual choice, participation and financial privacy when using such systems. The Corporation shall further require that any distributed-digital currency falling within the ambit of the Corporation’s purpose be decentralized, distributed and private and that it support individual choice, participation and financial privacy.

(Source: GitHub) 

The Foundation’s Mission – June 2013

(Source: The Bitcoin Foundation)

In practise the role of the Foundation appeared to be as follows:

  • To pay the salary of Bitcoin developer Gavin Andresen
  • To arrange Bitcoin conferences
  • To promote Bitcoin to regulators

During 2012 and 2013 the Foundation gained in popularity, attracting members from across the Bitcoin community, including prominent developers, businesses and community members.

Public list of individual lifetime members

(Source: Bitcoin Foundation

Corporate members as at September 2013

(Source: Bitcoin Foundation

The Foundation was funded by membership fees – the initial membership fee schedule is provided below. However, the Bitcoin-denominated prices did start to decline in 2013 as the Bitcoin price appreciated.

Initial Membership Fee Schedule

(Source: GitHub)

It was believed by many that due to the membership subscription fees, the Foundation had considerable financial resources to spend on its mission.

Approximate lower bound of member contributions in April 2013 (Assuming initial fee rates)

  • 2 Platinum Industry Members * 10,000 BTC = 20,000 BTC
  • 7 Silver Industry Members * 500BTC = 3,500 BTC
  • 175 Lifetime Members * 25BTC = 4,375 BTC
  • Total Resources = 27,873 BTC

(Source: BitMEX Research)

As we see later on in this report, the Foundation only had around 8,000 BTC at the end of 2012, still a nice warchest, but a lower balance than many had expected. It is possible our estimate above could be an overestimate, as the timing of member subscriptions is unclear.

The Foundation Board

The governance structure of the Foundation was quite complex and arcane. There were three classes of members: 

  1. Founders
  2. Individuals
  3. Corporates 

The board initially consisted of five members, one nominated by the founders, two nominated by individuals and two nominated by corporate members. The term of each appointee was expected to be 3 years. At the start of the Foundation, all five board members were appointed by the founders and all board members were founders, with the exception of Jon Matonis.

Bitcoin Foundation Board Members (2012 to 2019)

(Source: Bitcoin Foundation Website, BitMEX Research)

Critics can point to the fact that the governance structure gave too much power to the initial founders and that new members of the organisation should have been able to join as equals to the founders.

Board Elections

The first board elections took place in 2013, with Meyer Malka winning the Industry seat and Elizabeth Ploshay winning the vote amongst individual members.

Board Election – Industry Seat (2013) – Winners: Meyer Malka

(Source: Bitcoin Foundation)

Board Election – Individual Seat (2013) – Winner: Elizabeth Ploshay

(Source: Bitcoin Foundation)

At the start of 2014, the holders of the two founding industry seats resigned. Charles Shrem resigned on 28 January 2014, two days after his arrest at JFK airport for money laundering and unlicensed money transmitter related offences. Charlie was eventually convicted and sentenced to two years in prison in December 2014. The main substance of Mr Shrem’s felony appears to be that he continued to provide customer support to a user of his BitInstant Bitcoin purchasing service, despite him allegedly knowing the customer wanted Bitcoin for the purposes of purchasing illegal drugs on the Silk Road e-commerce platform (Or that the customer wanted to supply the Bitcoin to somebody else, who wanted to purchase illegal drugs, one extra layer removed). Mark Karpeles, the holder of the other industry seat, resigned on 24 February 2014, following the failure and insolvency of the MtGox Bitcoin exchange, where Mark was CEO.

Brock Pierce and Bobby Lee were then elected as the two replacement industry appointed board members.

Board Election – Industry Seats (2014) – Winners: Bobby Lee & Brock Pierce

(Source: Bitcoin Foundation)

The appointment of Brock Pierce to the board proved controversial, with some claiming the Foundation should have done more vetting before allowing Mr Pierce to stand. The allegation against the former child actor, who featured in the “Mighty Ducks” and Disney’s “First Kid” was related to his alleged involvement in the sexual exploitation of children in the late 1990s. Although only a teenager at the time, Mr Pierce was an executive and co-founder at the internet video startup, Digital Entertainment Network (DEN), which was accused of hosting several parties where sexual abuse may have taken place. The allegations resulted in co-founder and CEO Marc Collins-Rector, along with Mr Pierce, resigning from DEN and supposedly fleeing to Spain.  Mr Collins-Rector eventually plead guilty to child abuse related offences and according to Reuters, court record show that Mr Pierce paid US$21,000 to settle a related civil suit, while other claims were dropped, the article also states that Mr Pierce denies the allegations.

Towards the end of 2014, in the face of considerable pressure, the Foundation made the following improvements to its governance:

  • Board member terms were reduced to 2 from 3 years
  • The founder board seat was eliminated
  • The founder member class was removed

The Foundation’s Finances

The below table provides a basic analysis of the Foundation’s finances, in the period where most of the member dues were depleted (2012 to 2014). The data is based on the organisation’s IRS990 forms. With respect to the pay of the board, the disclosure seems reasonably strong. Most board members received no remuneration other than those acting as executives. Paying Gavin was one of the main aims of the organisation and Gavin’s pay appears to be disclosed in a reasonably clear and appropriate manner.

  2012 2013 2014
Directors pay      
Gavin Andresen $15,000 $209,648 $147,917
Patrick Murck   $57,592 $115,001
Lindsay Holland   $160,652  
Jodie Brady     $141,667
Jon Matonis (Contractor)   $31,250 $137,500
Other pay costs $14,013 $118,047 $582,782
Total pay costs $29,013 $577,189 $1,124,867
Conference costs   $418,413 $825,525
Other costs $32,608 $472,302 $1,335,210
Total costs $61,621 $1,467,904 $3,285,602
Foundation Revenue      
Membership fees   $358,007 $335,723
Conference revenue   $377,883 $584,308
Other   $64,803 $35,728
Total revenue $159,359 $800,693 $955,759
Surplus/(Deficit) $97,738 ($667,211) ($2,329,843)
Disclosed Bitcoin figures      
Bitcoin (US$ value at year end) $107,549 $4,512,316 $703,843
BTC sales proceeds   $749,157 $569,728
Realised Bitcoin gains/(losses)   $77,148 ($40,316)
Unrealised Bitcoin gains/(losses)   $5,195,589 ($1,966,768)

(Source: IRS 990 Forms, BitMEX Research)

The main criticisms related to the Foundation’s finances at the time appear twofold:

  1. There was a sharp increase in spend in 2014, depleting the organisation’s reserves to near zero
  2. There was a lack of transparency with regards to the Foundation’s Bitcoin balance

As for the first criticism, concerns did seem somewhat justified. In 2014 pay costs increased by 81%, the 2014 conference made a significant net loss and other costs increased significantly. As for the $1.3m in other costs, we have provided a breakdown below, therefore readers can judge the extent of the excesses. Compared to the excesses of the ICO bubble in 2017/18, where the total sum of the costs below perhaps represent a fraction of just one marketing party for the most egregious ICOs, the spend is moderate. However, some Foundation members clearly expected their funds to be spent more prudently. The main issue appears to be that expectations were not clearly set out in advance. Whatever your view, the fact is that by the start of 2015, the Foundation had almost run out of financial reserves and to that extent, its finances were mismanaged.

2014 breakdown of other spend

Other professional services $307,767
Legal fees $200,003
Travel $159,166
Information technology $158,021
Professional event expenses $115,401
Public relations $93,241
Exchange loss $73,362
Accounting $50,556
Office costs $39,071
Grants (Foreign) $37,314
Bad debts $18,500
Payments to affiliates $18,002
Occupancy $17,949
Grants $14,000
Advertising $9,218
Insurance $3,639
Other $20,000
Total other spend $1,335,210

(Source: Bitcoin Foundation IRS 990 form)

The lack of transparency with respect to the Foundation’s Bitcoin balance is another area of concern. At the end of each year the IRS990 form disclosed the USD value of the Bitcoin holding, the realised Bitcoin gains and the unrealised Bitcoin gains. Based on this information we calculated the following:

BitMEX Research BTC calculations 2012 2013 2014
Bitcoin price at year end $13 $754 $320
Implied BTC balance at year end 8,216 5,985 1,381
Change in BTC balance   (2,232) (4,604)
Implied sales price   $336 $124
Realised Bitcoin gains/(losses)   $719,945 ($2,901,314)
Unrealised BTC gains/(losses)   $4,433,979 ($599,354)
Lowest Bitcoin price figures      
Lowest Bitcoin price in the year $4 $13 $268
Implied BTC sales proceeds   $29,011 $1,233,739
Realised Bitcoin gains/(losses)   ($201) ($2,237,303)

(Source: IRS 990 Forms, BitMEX Research)

The disclosures in the IRS990 forms lead us to the following apparent Bitcoin related discrepancies:

  • The Foundations closing bitcoin balance in 2012 seems reasonably low given the volume of Bitcoin donations (See the c.28,000 BTC figure earlier in this report)
  • The Foundation disclosed an unrealised Bitcoin gain in 2013 of $5.2m, however based on the annual price movement and the calculated year end balance, we calculated an unrealised gain of only $4.4m
  • The Foundation disclosed an unrealised Bitcoin loss in 2014 of $2.0m, however based on the annual price movement and the calculated year end balance, we calculated an unrealised loss of only $0.6m
  • The Foundation disclosed Bitcoin sales proceeds of $569,728 in 2014, while even assuming all Bitcoin were sold at the lowest traded price in the year, given the large reduction in the Bitcoin balance of 4,600 coins, sales proceeds should have been $1.2m

Although there were accusations of embezzlement, we do not consider these disclosures to indicate any such crime. The Foundation was probably receiving Bitcoin and spending Bitcoin throughout the period, therefore clear financial record of Bitcoin sales are not likely to be available. At the same time, rules related to the reporting of realised and unrealised gains with respect to financial assets are not strict for this type of organisation and the Foundation does have a degree of discretion with respect to the calculation methodology. Therefore, the filings themselves do not indicate wrongdoing in our view. However, what we can say is that filings do not clearly explain what happened to the Bitcoin balance and an explanation from the board could be helpful.

Some members clearly expected greater transparency and wanted to question the board about the funds, but they were never given such an opportunity. The following quote from Bitcoin commentator Andreas Antonpoulous (who at the time was a Foundation committee chairman), reflected the views of many in the community at the time.

You say they are funded. Where are those funds? Who controls those funds? When were the last audited? Are they actually solvent? Or have all of those funds disappeared into a big black hole? Just remember who was in the leadership until recently, who is in the leadership today and what their track record of ethics has been and I would suggest that I would not be surprised at all if the Foundation implodes in a giant embezzlement problem sometime down the line or funds get stolen, within quotes or without quotes, or something like that. It’s bound to happen because these things don’t happen due to technical failures of bad actors, they happen due to failures of leadership The Foundation is the very definition of a failure of leadership.

(Source: Andreas Antonopoulos – March 2014 – Let’s Talk Bitcoin Episode 95)

Entanglement in the MtGox Scandal

To make matters worse, there were also accounations of the Foundation’s entanglement in the MtGox insolvency:

  • The MtGoX CEO, Mark Karpeles, was a founder and founding board member of the Foundation, while the company itself was a platinum member of the Foundation
  • Founding member, Roger Ver, famously assured MtGox customers of the solvency of the platform shortly before the exchange failed
  • The Foundation’s founding chairman, Peter Vessenes (who may have believed he was entitled to some MtGox equity), has been involved in various legal disputes with MtGox dating back to 2013 as a result of a failed business partnership. Peter’s company Coinlab sued MtGox for US$75m in 2013. As of August 2019, Peter now claims a remarkable total of US$16bn (Y1.6 trillion) from MtGox, an amount large enough to effectively block distributions to MtGox clients, and a large source of frustration to creditors to this day.

Andreas compared the Foundation’s situation to MtGox as follows:

Its problems go directly back to a complete failure of leadership. A completely closed, insular, arrogant, sheltered, uncommunicative leadership. Part of which was Karpeles himself, but there are another couple of relics left on that board, who pursue the exact same approach with their leadership. The Foundation is the Gox of Foundations. I am surprised it didn’t blow up in the wake of the Gox scandal, because there were a lot of significant conflicts within that environment.

However, perhaps it is unfair to make much of the association between MtGox and the Foundation, afterall, the ecosystem was small and MtGox was the dominant exchange, therefore a degree of association was inevitable to some extent.

The Amsterdam Conference (May 2014)

In May 2014 the Bitcoin Foundation arranged what was, up until this point, the largest conference in the space. It was the first conference (at least one which we attended), with characteristics familiar to many in the 2017/18 era. Unabated enthusiasm, unrealistic expectations about the underlying technology, expensive catering and countless booths representing new businesses with plans that appeared to make little commercial sense. As the figures above indicate, despite the expensive ticket prices of up to $800, the conference appears to have generated a net loss of around US$250,000.

The conference was split into two sections, a commercial section in the main exhibition hall, and the Bitcoin Foundation annual meeting (or technical track), which was down the hallway in a hotel conference room, entry to which was free for Foundation members. The technical discussions were followed by the Foundation members’ meeting

(Source: Eventbrite

Journalist Ryan Selkis (now founder & CEO of Messari), was one of the key lifetime members at the event trying to hold the Foundation to account. At the annual meeting he asked several challenging questions to the Foundation board members, asking for greater transparency. Up until this point much of the debate and complaints had taken place on online web forums and this real world interaction marked a significant and novel change. In response to his challenges, one board member said the following:

We can spend a lot of our time trying to be transparent as much as we can and higher resources can be transparent or we can spend a lot of time in the board level making sure that we [have the] resources to make bitcoin bigger. It’s possible but right now, honestly, we’re in an environment where bitcoin is not well perceived. You asked for priorities at least from my side as a board member, it’s more about [making bitcoin bigger]

(Source: Bitcoin Foundation 2014 Annual Meeting)

It was clear from this response that, for whatever reason, some board members had chosen not to tackle the transparency and governance concerns, leaving some members feeling frustrated and more convinced of wrongdoing on the part of the board. 

The Blockchain Election (February 2015)

Given the issues that the Foundation had faced and the concerns in the community about transparency, governance and the purpose of the Foundation, this was a relatively important set of elections. There was a large number of candidates and a reasonably good quality debate among the candidates, for example a dedicated Let’s Talk Bitcoin podcast on the election. 

The Foundation decided to conduct the 2015 individual board seat elections on the blockchain. As the chair of the election committee, Brain Goss said: 

I believe in the concept of using the block chain for storage of compact proofs/hashes (as the market dictates), and I’m a big believer in transparent voting that any one can verify

(Source: Bitcoin Foundation Forum)

However, the blockchain voting process did not run smoothly and the following issues arose:

  • The first round of voting took place using the Helios voting system. However, no candidate achieved more than 50% of the vote, as required by the by-laws, therefore a second round was required. The Foundation then made the odd decision to switch the voting platform to Swarm between the voting rounds, a decision met with widespread opposition. Despite initially starting the final round voting process on Swarm, during voting the Foundation then decided to switch back to Helios, invalidating the Swarm votes
  • The decision to reduce the number of candidates to four after the first round of voting appeared arbitrary 
  • Registering to vote was widely regarded as a cumbersome and complex process and some candidates complained

(Source: Email received as part of the Swarm voting process)

Board Election – Individual Seats First Round (2015)

(Source: Helios voting system records)

Board Election – Individual Seats Final Round (2015) – Winners: Oliver Janssens & Jim Harper

(Source: Bitcoin Foundation)

After the voting controversy, Patrick Murk told Bitcoin Magazine:

This clearly struck a nerve with folks that think blockchain technology should only be used for transferring Bitcoin and not other [applications] like voting. [It] sparked a debate on how people use the blockchain

(Source: Bitcoin Magazine)

Removal of Directors & The End Of Board Elections (December 2015)

In December 2015, the two newly elected board members, Oliver and Jim, were removed by the other board members, due to a disagreement over the best way forward for the Foundation. Oliver and Jim had recently succeeded in competitive elections from individual members, giving them a considerable democratic mandate. At the same time the two year election terms of Elizabeth and Meyer had already expired, while Brock and Bobby had been elected by the industry and not individuals. Therefore, from the point of view of the individual members, Oliver and Jim were the only two board members with a significant mandate and they had been removed. In a violation of the by-laws, the Foundation then decided not to conduct any further board elections. As the executive director Bruce Fenton put it:

I used to believe that public, open elections were a great thing.  I’m not as convinced now…. We unfortunately don’t have the time or resources for more process. 

(Source: Bitcoin Foundation forum)

In our view, this logic seemed difficult to justify, given many of the problems were caused by the boards apparent lack of accountability to individual members, with Elizabeth Ploshey being the only board member elected by individual members who served on the board for any meaningful amount of time. If the Foundation did want to revive itself, it could have reinstated Oliver and Jim and allowed further elections to replace the other board members who could have left. Instead, the Foundation decided to distance itself even further from members, avoiding the challenges this accountability would have imposed, and consequently the Foundation appeared to lose any remaining legitimacy it had left.

After this point, between 2015 and 2019, four new board members were appointed from the pool of candidates that were defeated in the previous elections, except this time appointments were made by the board rather than members.


The Foundation still exists today, with Brock as Chairman and Bobby as Vice chairman, although their elected terms have long since expired and no more elections are in sight. The Foundation has no significant financial resources and is largely irrelevant. The activities the Foundation used to conduct are now carried out by others, for example Coin Centre does some regulator lobbying, and Bitcoin development is funded by other organisations such as Chaincode Labs, Blockstream, MIT’s DCI and other industry players. In many ways the conclusion to this piece writes itself. Bitcoin never needed a Foundation, it is stronger without one, and any all-encompassing Foundation like this was always doomed to fail.

The outrage at the lack of transparency at the Foundation exposes some of the key divergences in expectations and culture between members of the Bitcoin (now cryptocurrency) community. Some Bitcoiners, especially those involved since the early days of the Foundation, were often highly conspiratorial, paranoid and expected radically high levels of transparency, accountability and financial prudence. The Foundation seems to have misjudged these expectations, lost the backing of the community and ultimately failed. However, compared to the excesses of the coin offering era, which picked up from around 2014 onwards, peaking at the start of 2018, the financial accountability and transparency of the Bitcoin Foundation was almost impeccable, relatively speaking. Some members of the cryptocurrency community (not all newer ones), had radically different expectations, focusing more on what they perceived as game-changing technology, changing the world and getting super rich, rather than governance. Even in this new climate, irreparable damage to the Foundation’s brand had been done and it never again found its place.

UPDATE – 23 September 2019

After the publication of this piece, several prominent Bitcoin developers, whose names were displayed on the Foundation’s website, indicated to us (in some cases with proof) that they were given membership status for free (rather than by paying 25BTC). This may indicate that:

  1. Support for the foundation may not have been as widespread as we initially thought
  2. The Foundation’s bitcoin balance in 2012 may never have been as large as we initially thought

闪电网络(第 4 部分) – 全面采取瞭望塔功能

摘要:BitMEX 研究已将其闪电节点升级至包含瞭望塔功能。瞭望塔功能是可连接至另一友好节点的机制,即使您处于离线状态,其也可为您监控您的闪电通道,防止不诚实的交易对手窃取您的资金。我们的试验成功证明了瞭望塔是有效的,至少在我们的例子中是这样。振奋人心的是,在理论上已经存在多年的“瞭望塔”概念,现在已经在实践中发挥了作用。

(来源:Alcatraz, flickr



  1. 闪电网络(第 1 部分) – 动机
  2. 闪电网络(第 2 部分) – 路由费经济
  3. 闪电网络(第 3 部分) – 正义在何处?

2019 年 6 月 29 日,发布了 LND 0.7.0(闪电实施),其中包括了瞭望塔功能。瞭望塔是第三方闪电节点,可以检测到不诚实的一方是否试图窃取资金,然后广播正义交易的消息,将资金发回诚实的一方(即使诚实性节点处于离线状态)。










> wtclient.private-tower-uris=tower-public-key@ip-address:9911 





> lncli tower info



一个节点可同时作为瞭望塔服务器和客户。如果运行两个节点,则每个节点都可以是另一个节点的瞭望塔服务器。BitMEX 研究目前有三个正在运行的闪电节点,这些节点在一个环形配置中互相监控。


2019 年 7 月 30 日,BitMEX 研究成功测试了瞭望塔系统。就像我们上一篇正义交易一样,我们试着能骗过自己,但这次我们用的是瞭望塔。振奋人心的是,瞭望塔功能正常运转,将会让那些不诚实的人受到严惩。


  • 非诚实性节点 – BitMEXThief
  • 使用瞭望塔服务的节点 – BitMEXTowerClient(瞭望塔服务的用户)
  • 瞭望塔自身节点 – BitMEXResearch


(来源:BitMEX 研究)



所有 BitMEX 研究的闪电节点现都处于瞭望塔的保护之下。虽然瞭望塔在安全性方面有了很大的改进,但在我们看来,比不诚实通道中断更大的问题是,闪电节点的内存可能会意外丢失或毁坏—在这种情况下,节点可能会丢失最新的通道状态。虽然我们在这个领域已经有了改进,但瞭望塔无法借助静态通道备份 (SCBs) 解决这个问题。使用 SCBs 的情况下,只要备份后没有创建新的通道,所有资金都是安全的。



BitMEX (

Lightning Network (Part 4) – All Adopt The Watchtower

Abstract: BitMEX Research has upgraded its lightning nodes to include watchtower functionality. The watchtower functionality is a mechanism for connecting to another friendly node, which monitors your lightning channels for you and prevents a dishonest counterparty from stealing your funds, even when you are offline. We successfully conducted an experiment, proving the watchtower concept actually works, at least in our case. It is encouraging that the watchtower concept, which has been around for years in theory, now actually works in practise.

(Source: Alcatraz, flickr)


This piece on watchtowers follows on from our three previous pieces on the lightning network:

  1. Lightning Network (Part 1) – Motivation
  2. Lightning Network (Part 2) – Routing Fee Economics
  3. Lightning Network (Part 3) – Where Is The Justice?

On 29 June 2019, LND 0.7.0 (Go implementation of lightning) was released and this included the watchtower functionality. A watchtower is a third party lightning node, that can detect if a dishonest party attempts to steal funds and then broadcast a justice transaction, sending the funds back to the honest party, even when the honest node is offline.

There two modes of watchtower functionality


Client/Tower User



The client connects to a watchtower server. Whenever the lighting channel states change, data is sent over to the watchtower server with the latest channel state. In the event of a channel breach, the watchtower can broadcast a justice transaction, sending the funds to the honest node’s onchain wallet.

The watchtower server does not need to have any lighting channels or make any payments. The server connects to a lightning client and monitors the client’s lightning channels for them, on their behalf.

Operational details

To connect the node to a watchtower server, one needs to add the following line to the lightning configuration file:

> wtclient.private-tower-uris=tower-public-key@ip-address:9911

Where the public key and IP address is provided by the watchtower server.

To activate a watchtower server, one needs to add the following line to the lightning configuration file:


After this, one can run the command:

> lncli tower info

The watchtower server should then display the watchtower public key (different from the lightning node public key). This key is needed by the watchtower client. Due to potential denial of service threats, it is currently not advisable to publish the watchtower public key.

One can check if the watchtower is working by viewing the logs.

It is possible for a node to be both a watchtower server and client at the same time. If you run two nodes, each node can be the watchtower server of the other. BitMEX Research currently has three operating lightning nodes and the nodes all watch over each other in a loop configuration.

Successful test of the watchtower

On 30th July 2019, BitMEX Research successfully tested the watchtower system. Much like our previous piece on justice transactions, we tried to cheat ourselves, but this time used a watchtower. In an encouraging sign, the watchtower functionality correctly worked and the would-be thief was punished.

In order to do this test, we needed to run three nodes:

  • The dishonest node – BitMEXThief
  • The node using the watchtower service – BitMEXTowerClient (the user of the watchtower service)
  • The watchtower itself – BitMEXResearch

Manually constructing a watchtower justice transaction

(Source: BitMEX Research)

The eventual justice transaction, broadcast by our watchtower can be seen here.


All BitMEX Research lightning nodes are now protected by watchtowers. While a watchtower is a large improvement in security, in our view, a greater problem than dishonest channel breaches, is the risk of a lightning node’s memory becoming accidentally lost or destroyed – under such circumstances the node could lose the latest channel states. A watchtower does not fix that problem, although there have been improvements in this area, with Static Channel Backups (SCBs). Using SCBs, as long as no new channels were created post backup, all the funds should be safe.

A successful test of the watchtower does provide us with a greater degree of assurance about the robustness of the lightning network. It is encouraging that ideas such as watchtowers, which have been theoretically discussed for years, finally exist. However, when it comes to improving the robustness and reliability of the lightning network, there is still a long way to go.

闪电网络 (第三部分) — 正义在何处?

摘要:在对闪电网络的第三次研究中,我们研究了闪电通道关闭方案以及惩罚诈骗者并阻止他们窃取资金的激励措施。此惩罚机制叫做 “正义交易”。我们对如何任意构建 “正义” 方案进行了解释,并在比特币网络上提供有关此类交易普遍性的数据。自 2017 年底推出闪电网络以来,我们已经确定了 241 笔正义交易,涉及 2.22 个比特币的价值。



2018 年 1 月 我们对闪电网络背后的动机进行讨论以及 2019 年 3 月 对闪电网络路由费用进行经济学分析之后,闪电网络的第三部分着眼于通道关闭和为了防止非诚实性闪电节点通过广播早期的通道状态来窃取资金所提出的激励措施。

应该注意的是,根据设计,当窃贼试图通过闪电网络窃取资金时,如果被抓住,他们不仅会失去正在窃取的资金,而且会失去相关通道中的所有资金。期望这种 “惩罚” 将起到威慑作用,因此有时被称为 “正义” 手段。


一般来说,打开闪电通道比关闭它们更简单,因为只有一种方式打开闪电通道,就是双方之间的互动沟通。另一方面,在评估通道关闭时,需要考虑四种不同的方案,如下面的决策树中所述 (参见图 1)。

图 1 – 闪电网络通道关闭类型 – 决策树

(资料来源:BitMEX Research)

图 2 – 解释的四种关闭闪电通道的方案

关闭类型 描述






输入是使用 “正常” 的 2 / 2 多重签名脚本来进行兑换,并发送到两个输出,每个输出属于各相关方,余额以最新的通道状态为准。







首先,资金是使用 2 / 2 多重签名见证人来进行兑现,并发送到两个输出。没有启动关闭的节点根据通道关闭方所声称的责任来分配资金,而另一组资金会被发送到输出,该输出可以通过使用 OP_IF 或 OP_ELSE 脚本来兑现。

在第二项交易中,发送到 OP_IF 脚本的资金由发起通道关闭的一方使用比特币脚本的 OP_ELSE 分支进行认领。









在第一项交易中,资金是使用 2 / 2 多重签名见证人中来进行兑现,并发送到两个输出。没有启动关闭的节点根据通道关闭方所声称的责任来分配资金,而另一组资金被发送到输出,该输出可以通过使用 OP_IF 或 OP_ELSE 脚本来兑现。

在第二项交易中,未启动关闭的诚实性节点使用 OP_IF 分支认领发送到 OP_IF 脚本的所有资金。





1. 使用别名 “BitMEXThief” 来建立一个新的闪电网络节点 (
LND) 并使用 BitMEXResearch 闪电节点打开一个价值 50 美元(400,000 聪)的通道 
2. 关闭 BitMEXThief 节点并备份 .lnd 目录
3. 重新启动 BitMEXThief 节点,向 BitMEXResearch 支付 25 美元 (200,000 聪) 的闪电交易。通道现已平衡,两个方向均为 25 美元
4. 再次关闭 BitMEXThief 节点
5. 关闭 BitMEXResearch 闪电节点(防止其向窃贼节点广播最新的通道状态)
6. 将 BitMEXThief 节点恢复到通道重新平衡之前的状态,即步骤 2 中的状态
7. 在恢复的 BitMEXThief 节点上,尝试使用其早期状态来关闭通道,并认领全部金额 50 美元 (
400,000 聪) 到 BitMEXThief 节点的链上钱包。
8. 重新启动 BitMEXResearch 节点。然后,该节点会自动检测到企图盗窃的行为,并广播“正义
交易”,将 50 美元(减去费用)的全部金额发送至其链上钱包。窃贼将受到惩罚,失去通道内的所有资金。请注意,窃贼试图盗取 25 美元,但最终失去了其拥有的全部 50 美元。



在进行了我们自己的正义交易之后,我们研究了此交易的特征(使用 OP_IF 分支兑换输入),并在比特币区块链上搜索其他正义交易。我们确认了 241 笔似乎都是正义通道关闭的交易,其中最早可追溯到 2017 年 12 月。来自闪电网络实验室的 Alex Bosworth 先生创建了一个识别正义交易的工具,它可能比我们的基本搜索方法更强大。

图 3 – 正义交易数量 – 月度

(资料来源:BitMEX Research)


图 4 – 正义交易中的赎回价值 – 月度(比特币)

(资料来源:BitMEX Research)


我们确定的正义交易的交易投入总计为 2.22 个比特币,在 2019 年 2 月达到月度总投入的高峰,约为 0.67 个比特币,如上图 4 所示。这并不意味着盗窃者没有成功窃取 2.22 个比特币的投入额,因为非诚实性节点惩罚窃贼的金额可能大于他们试图窃取的价值(我们不知道最新的通道状态)。这 2.22 个比特币代表诚实性非通道关闭节点索赔的总资金,其中一部分是最初非诚实性节点拥有的资金,另一部分是他们试图窃取的价值。

也有可能在这 241 笔正义交易中的大多数交易都并不具有非诚实性,例如,一项交易可能是测试系统的用户,其中同一个用户拥有相关的两个闪电节点。例如,BitMEX Research 参与了 241 笔正义交易中的 5 笔,因为 BitMEX 拥有所有节点和资金,所以是没有受害者的。

在 241 笔正义交易里的价值仅才略高于 2 个比特币,这相对于闪电网络的规模而言,其价值是相当小的。闪电网络统计网站 表明目前有 940 个比特币被锁定在 32,951 个通道中。因此,过去 18 个月的正义交易总数仅为目前闪电通道数量的 0.7%。





BitMEX (

Lightning Network (Part 3) – Where Is The Justice?

Abstract: In our third look at the lightning network, we examine lightning channel closure scenarios and the incentives to punish dishonest parties and prevent them from stealing funds. This punishment mechanism is called a “Justice Transaction”. We explain how to arbitrarily construct a “Justice” scenario and present data on the prevalence of this type of transaction on the Bitcoin network. We have potentially identified 241 Justice transactions, representing 2.22 Bitcoin in value, since the lightning network launched at the end of 2017.

(Lightning strikes the city of Singapore)


Following on from our January 2018 discussion of the motivation behind the lightning network and our March 2019 analysis of lightning network routing fee economics, this third piece on the lightning network looks at channel closures and the incentives designed to prevent dishonest lightning nodes from stealing funds, by broadcasting an earlier channel state.

It should be noted that, by design, when a thief attempts to steal funds on the lightning network, if caught, they do not only lose the money they tried to steal, they lose all the funds in the relevant channel. This “punishment” is expected to act as a deterrent and is sometimes called “justice”.

The four lightning channel closure scenarios

Opening lightning channels is, generally speaking, more simple than closing them, there is only one way to open a lightning channel, cooperatively with interactive communication between the parties. On the other hand, when evaluating channel closures, one needs to consider four different scenarios, as outlined in the decision tree below (See figure 1).

Figure 1 – Lightning network channel closure types – decision tree

(Source: BitMEX Research)

Figure 2 – The four lightning channel closure scenarios explained

Closure type Description Onchain technical details and example transactions
This is the most common scenario.

A cooperative closure occurs when an honest node initiates the channel closure, while the node on the other side of the channel is online and communicating.

Funds are distributed to each party’s onchain wallet based on the latest channel state.

A cooperative closure requires only one onchain transaction.

Inputs are redeemed using a “normal” 2 of 2 multi-signature script and sent to two outputs, each belonging to the parties involved, with the balance based on the latest channel state. 

This transaction is hard to identify as lightning and therefore it is the most private of the three channel closure types.

Example closure:

A non-cooperative non-breach closure occurs when an honest node initiates the closure, without directly communicating with the node on the other side of the channel.

Funds are distributed to each party’s onchain wallet based on the latest channel state.

These two different economic scenarios, are represented by one technical onchain scenario.

This scenario requires two onchain transactions. 

Firstly the funds are redeemed using a 2 of 2 multi-signature witness and sent to two outputs. The node which did not initiate the closure is allocated funds based on what the channel closing party says is attributable to them, while another pot of funds is sent to an output which can be redeemed by using either an OP_IF or an OP_ELSE script. 

In a second transaction, the funds sent to the OP_IF script, are claimed by the party that initiated the channel closure, using the OP_ELSE branch of Bitcoin script.

Example closure:

A non-cooperative breach non-justice closure occurs when a dishonest node initiates the channel closure, by broadcasting an earlier channel state, attempting to steal funds from the node on the other side of the channel.

The non closing node does not check the network within the locktime period, normally 24 hours and does not broadcast a justice transaction. Therefore the theft is successful.

Funds are distributed to each party’s wallet based on an earlier channel state, such that the non closing party losses funds and the dishonest channel closing party successfully steals funds.

A non-cooperative breach justice closure occurs when a dishonest node initiates the channel closure, without directly communicating with the node on the other side of the channel.

The non closing node does check the network within the locktime period, and creates a justice transaction, such that the attempted theft fails.

The would-be thief is punished and all the funds go to the honest non closing party.

In the justice scenario, two onchain transactions are also required. 

In the first transaction, the funds are redeemed using a 2 of 2 multi-signature witness and sent to two outputs. The node which did not initiate the closure is allocated funds based on what the channel closing party says is attributable to them, while another pot of funds is sent to an output which can be redeemed by using either an OP_IF or an OP_ELSE script.

In a second transaction, the honest node, that did not initiate the closure claims all the funds sent to the OP_IF script, using the OP_IF branch.

This is the most revealing of the three channel closure types and provides the lowest level of privacy.

Example closure:

How to construct a Justice transaction?

In the below arbitrary scenario, we manually created a justice transaction, using the following steps:

1. Spin up a new lightning network node (LND), with the alias “BitMEXThief” and open a channel, worth US$50 (400,000 Satoshis) with the BitMEXResearch lightning node
2. Switch off the BitMEXThief node and back up the .lnd directory
3. Restart the BitMEXThief node and make a lightning payment of US$25 (200,000 satoshis) to BitMEXResearch. The channel is now balanced, US$25 in both directions
4. Switch off the BitMEXThief node again
5. Switch off the BitMEXResearch lightning node (to prevent it broadcasting the latest channel state to the thief node)
6. Restore the BitMEXThief node back to its state prior to the channel re-balancing, the state in step 2
7. On the restored BitMEXThief node, attempt to close the channel from its earlier state and claim the full US$50 (400,000 satoshis) to the BitMEXThief node’s onchain wallet
8. Restart the BitMEXResearch node. The node then automatically detects the attempted theft and broadcasts the “justice transaction”, sending the full US$50 (less fees) to its onchain wallet. The would be thief was punished, by losing all the funds inside the channel. Note that the thief attempted to steal US$25, but ended up losing the full US$50.

The above experiment occurred successfully, providing some assurance that Lightning does actually work and if you try to steal, you will be punished.

Network Justice transaction data

After conducting our own justice transaction, we looked at the characteristics of this transaction (Inputs redeemed using the OP_IF branch) and searched for other justice transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain. We identified 241 transactions, which appear to be justice channel closures, dating back as far as December 2017. Mr. Alex Bosworth, from Lightning Labs, has created a tool to identify justice transactions, which may be more robust than our more basic search methodology.

Figure 3 – Number of justice transactions – monthly

(Source: BitMEX Research)

(Note: There is a possibility the data includes false positives)

Figure 4 – Value redeemed in justice transactions – monthly (BTC)

(Source: BitMEX Research)

(Note: There is a possibility the data includes false positives)

The justice transactions we identified had transaction inputs totaling 2.22 BTC, with the monthly total peaking at around 0.67BTC in February 2019, as figure 4 above illustrates. This does not necessarily mean thieves tried and failed to steal 2.22 BTC, as the dis-honest nodes may have punished thieves by a amount larger than the value they tried to steal (we do not know the latest channel state). The 2.22 BTC represents the total funds claimed by honest non channel closing nodes, part of this value is funds originally owned by the dis-honest nodes and part of the value will be the value they tried to steal.

It is also possible that many of the 241 justice transactions do not indicate genuine dishonestly, for instance it could be users testing the system, where the same user owns both lightning nodes in question. For example BitMEX Research is responsible for 5 of the 241 justice transactions, when there was no victim, as BitMEX owned all the nodes and funds.

241 justice transactions, with a value of just over 2 BTC is reasonably small relative to the size of the lightning network. The lightning network statistics website, indicates that there are currently 940 BTC locked up in 32,951 channels. The total number of justice transactions in the last 18 months is therefore only 0.7% of the current number of lightning channels.


In order for the lightning network to succeed as a robust, reliable and scalable payment system, the justice mechanism needs to be effective in deterring and preventing theft. As for the optimal justice rate, this is hard to determine, if it is too high and it shows that successful thefts may be too prevalent and the threat of justice may not be sufficient. If it is too low, it may mean nobody is attempting theft, thereby increasing the risk that users do not monitor their channels. This may lead to increases in the risk of large systemic channel thefts in the future.

For now, at least according to the data we have analysed, there appears to be a reasonable degree of justice on the burgeoning lightning network.

HDR Global Trading Limited 向比特币开发者提供 60,000 美元的赠款

继 2019 年 5 月 28 日我们宣布捐赠给麻省理工学院数字货币计划之后,我们很高兴宣布向比特币核心贡献者 Michael Ford (即 fanquake) 提供 60,000 美元的赠款。Michael 自 2012 年以来一直是比特币的贡献者,最近被加入到比特币核心软件项目的维护者名单中。

HDR Global Trading Limited (拥有并运营 BitMEX 加密货币交易平台) 以支持比特币开发和工程为荣,旨在提高比特币的稳健性,可扩展性和隐私性。这项拨款是非独占的,需要 Michael 将其用在比特币核心开发工作上。我们很高兴成为 Michael 作为比特币核心维护者期间的第一个财政支持者。

HDR Global Trading Limited 的首席技术官兼联合创始人 Sam Reed 就这项拨款发表了以下评论:

HDR Global Trading Limited 与加密货币领域的所有其他公司一样,在很大程度上依赖于致力为比特币使命和理念的编码人员(主要是志愿者)的工作。这项工作既困难又苛刻,而且经常吃力不讨好。我们认为,企业有责任回馈他们受益的项目 – 他们的商业模式源于此。如果没有尽心尽力的 OSS 开发人员为我们的操作系统、网络服务器、操作工具和比特币本身提供数百万免费工时,那么 BitMEX 交易平台就无法构建。我们不会忘记这份礼物。因此,HDR认为,在无附加条件的基础上提供的这项拨款,只是为所有人的利益而持续致力于支持比特币和其他 OSS 项目的一小部分。


BitMEX (

HDR Global Trading Limited Provides US$60,000 Grant to Bitcoin Developer

Following on from our 28 May 2019 announcement of a donation to the MIT Digital Currency initiative, we are delighted to announce a US$60,000 grant to Bitcoin Core contributor, Michael Ford (AKA fanquake). Michael has been a Bitcoin contributor since 2012 and has recently been added to the list of maintainers for the Bitcoin Core software project.

HDR Global Trading Limited (which owns and operates the BitMEX cryptocurrency trading platform) is proud to support Bitcoin development and engineering, aimed at improving Bitcoin’s robustness, scalability and privacy. The grant is non exclusive and requires Michael to work on Bitcoin Core. We are pleased to be Michael’s first financial supporter during his time as a Bitcoin Core maintainer.

Sam Reed, CTO and co-founder of HDR Global Trading Limited, made the following remark about the grant:

HDR Global Trading Limited, like all other companies in the cryptocurrency space, relies heavily on the (mostly-volunteer) work of coders dedicated to the mission and ideals of Bitcoin. This work is difficult, demanding, and often thankless. We believe it is the duty of corporations to give back to the projects from which they benefit – and from which their very business model stems. Without the millions of free man-hours from dedicated OSS developers powering everything from our operating systems, to our web servers, to our ops tools and Bitcoin itself, the BitMEX trading platform could not have been built. We don’t forget this gift. Therefore, HDR considers this grant, provided on a no-strings-attached basis, to be only a small part of an ongoing commitment to bolstering Bitcoin and other OSS projects for the benefit of all.


Facebook 推出名为 Libra 的固定收益 ETF,与 ETF 巨头贝莱德 (Blackrock) 展开竞争

摘要:社交网络巨头 Facebook 以大胆的举动,通过其 “Libra 币”,或者我们称之为 “Libra ETF” 向传统金融和 ETF 行业发起挑战。我们注意到,与传统 ETF 相比,Libra 有许多悬而未决的问题,可能缺乏透明度。Libra 的另一个主要缺点是,与传统 ETF 不同,投资收益没有分配给单位持有人。我们得出的结论是,尽管与传统 ETF 产品相比,Libra 具有明显的劣势,但 Facebook 在 Whatsapp 和 Instagram 等平台上广泛的消费者覆盖可以为 Libra 带来关键的商业优势。

(Facebook 与贝莱德 – ETF 之战)


Libra 的结构类似于广受欢迎的交易所交易基金(ETF)模式,其中单位持有人有权获得一篮子金融资产的财务回报。这些单位可以在交易所交易,经过挑选的授权参与者可以利用标的资产创建和赎回单位。

正如我们在 2019 年 2 月的一篇文章中指出的,ETF 行业在过去十年左右的时间里取得了可观的增长,尤其是在固定收益领域(见下图 1)。2019 年 6 月,ETF 行业迎来了一个爆炸性时刻,社交媒体与互联网巨头 Facebook 加入了该行业,这意味着贝莱德 (Blackrock) 和先锋 (Vanguard) 等老牌基金公司将面临挑战。Facebook 宣布计划推出一款名为 “Libra ETF” 的新 ETF,同时专注于固定收益和政府债券,这是对贝莱德旗下 “iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF” (AGG) 的直接挑战。

图 1  – 针对美国投资者的顶级债券 ETF 的规模 – 10 亿美元

(资料来源:BitMEX Research,Bloomberg)

(注:图表代表以下债券 ETF 的市值总和: iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF, Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF, iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF, Vanguard Short-Term Corporate Bond ETF, Vanguard Short-Term Bond ETF, Vanguard Intermediate-Term Corporate Bond ETF, iShares J.P. Morgan USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF, Vanguard Total International Bond ETF, iShares MBS Bond ETF, iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF, PIMCO Enhanced Short Maturity Strategy Fund, Vanguard Intermediate-Term Bond ETF, iShares Short-Term Corporate Bond ETF, SPDR Barclays High Yield Bond ETF, iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF)

对比新的 ETF 结构和传统空间

下方图 2 中,我们将创新的新型 Libra ETF 和传统的 ETF ——贝莱德旗下的 iShares Core US Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG) 进行了分析和比较。我们的分析表明,尽管 Libra 产品是新产品,但许多相关信息,如持股透明度和资产净值公布的频率,尚未得到公布。

分析还强调,Libra 在投资组合管理方面可能会遇到不必要的复杂性。该基金似乎由 Libra 协会管理,该协会由全球多个行业的多家实体组成。这些实体负责发行 ETF,公司名单将进一步扩大。与此同时,投资授权并不明确。相比之下,贝莱德的固定收益 ETF 产品有明确的投资授权,以跟踪独立于 ETF 发行人管理的彭博巴克莱美国综合债券指数。

也许 Libra 产品最显着的缺点是单位持有人似乎没有资格获得投资收益。这与贝莱德的产品形成了鲜明的对比。贝莱德的产品专注于几乎相同的资产类别,投资收益率约为 2.6%。Libra 的保护者可能会指出,这些费用需要从某个地方支付,但Libra 的费用尚未披露。然而,ETF 行业已经具有很强的竞争力,贝莱德收取的费用仅为 0.05%。该费用远远低于产品的预期投资收益率,约为 2.6%,因此 Libra ETF 可能不具备价格竞争力,这对潜在的投资者来说是一个主要的潜在劣势。

图 2 – Libra ETF 与 iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG) 的详细对比

  Libra ETF

iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG)

发布日期 2019 年 6 月 2003 年 9 月
发布者Libra 协会/ Facebook 贝莱德
管理资产 未知

635 亿美元




标的指数 未知/不适用 彭博巴克莱美国综合债券指数


  • 万事达卡
  • 贝宝
  • PayU (Naspers的金融科技部门)
  • Stripe
  • 维萨卡
  • Booking Holdings
  • 易趣
  • Facebook/Calibra
  • Farfetch
  • 来福车
  • MercadoPago
  • 声田
  • 优步
  • Iliad
  • 沃达丰集团
  • Anchorage
  • Bison Trails
  • 比特币公司
  • Xapo
  • 安德森·霍洛维茨风险投资公司
  • 突破计划 (Breakthrough Initiatives)
  • Ribbit Capital
  • 兴盛资本
  • 联合广场风投
  • 创意破坏实验室
  • Kiva
  • 国际美慈组织
  • 世界妇女银行

James Mauro 和 Scott Radel,对指数进行跟踪的授权明显受到限制








单位持有人无权获得投资收益 ,投资收益将:


归于 ETF 单位持有人




将鼓励 Libra 在全球多个受监管的电子交易所上市




100,000 个单位







持有股份及资产净值 (NAV) 资料



(资料来源: iSharesLibra

我们还从技术角度分析了这两种备选方案。如下图 3 所示,关键区别在于 Libra 代币的控制可能部分由数字签名进行管理。只要未实施地址白名单,这可能会带来一些优势:

  • 使用假名
  • 有限的审查抵制
  • 与加密货币交易相对容易集成

然而,正如我们在 2018 年 2 月的 Tether 报告中提到的那样,历史表明这些特征可能最终导致平台面临实施 KYC 或被当局关闭的选择当中。Facebook 已经在其主要平台上审查了一些有政治争议的人物,因此,公共私人密钥密码术管理 Libra ETF单位的程度可能会受到很大限制,或逐渐被淘汰。

图 3  – 技术和加密方面的考虑


Libra ETF

iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG)


不适用 (ETF 不需要共识系统)


不相关(将 ETF 交易记录分组为通过散列链接在一起的区块链,对 ETF 来说无关紧要)



Libra 区块链是匿名的,允许用户持有一个或多个与其真实身份无关的地址

(来源: iSharesLibra


尽管 Libra 的主要劣势在于其单位持有人无权获得投资收益,但许多行业分析师仍然正在仔细研究 Libra 对传统 ETF 行业和现有电子支付系统的影响。

尽管我们对 ETF 的比较是在半开玩笑,但它确实突出了 Libra 的产品结构与现有金融产品具有相似的属性。所以我们认为这个比较是恰当的,如果 Libra 想要具有竞争力,它应该仿效传统 ETF 的一些管理和收费的特点。

不过,Libra 也可以通过整合 Facebook、Whatsapp 和 Instagram 等平台来吸引客户。如果 Libra 确实保留允许私钥控制钱币的属性,那发展下去也将会是挺有趣的,同时钱币可能会从诸如 Tether 之类的代币中获得份额。然而,在我们看来,从长远的角度来看,Libra 要么会禁用这一功能,要么会在技术上造成困难,因此只有极少数用户拥有这些“非托管”的钱包。如果出现这种情况,那么 Libra 便只是一只收费很高的 ETF。


BitMEX (

Facebook Takes on ETF Giant Blackrock, with a Fixed Income ETF called Libra

Abstract: In a bold move, social networking giant Facebook, has challenged the traditional finance and ETF industry, with its “Libra coin”, or as we call it the “Libra ETF”. We note that there are many unanswered questions about Libra, which may lack transparency, when compared to traditional ETFs. Another key disadvantage of Libra is that unlike with legacy ETFs, investment income is not distributed to unit holders. We conclude that although Libra has significant disadvantages when compared to traditional ETF products, Facebook’s wide consumer reach with platforms such as Whatsapp and Instagram could give Libra a key commercial advantage.

(Facebook vs Blackrock – The battle for the ETFs)


The structure of Libra is analogous to the popular Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) model, where unit holders are entitled to the financial returns of a basket of financial assets. The units are tradable on exchanges and a select group of authorised participants are able to create and redeem units using the underlying assets.

As we pointed out in our February 2019 piece, the ETF industry has enjoyed considerable growth in the last decade or so, in particular in the area of fixed income (See figure 1 below). In June 2019, in a bombshell moment for the ETF industry and challenge for the established players such as Blackrock and Vanguard, social media and internet conglomerate Facebook, entered the game. In a direct challenge to Blackrocks’s “iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF” (AGG), Facebook announced plans to launch a new ETF, the “Libra ETF”, also focused on fixed income and government bonds.

Figure 1 – Size of the Top Bond ETFs Targeting US Investors – US$ Billion

(Source: BitMEX Research, Bloomberg)

(Note: The chart represents the sum of the market capitalisations of the following bond ETFs: iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF, Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF, iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF, Vanguard Short-Term Corporate Bond ETF, Vanguard Short-Term Bond ETF, Vanguard Intermediate-Term Corporate Bond ETF, iShares J.P. Morgan USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF, Vanguard Total International Bond ETF, iShares MBS Bond ETF, iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF, PIMCO Enhanced Short Maturity Strategy Fund, Vanguard Intermediate-Term Bond ETF, iShares Short-Term Corporate Bond ETF, SPDR Barclays High Yield Bond ETF, iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF)

Comparing the new ETF structure with the traditional space

In figure 2 below, we have analysed and compared the new innovative Libra ETF to a traditional ETF, Blackrock’s iShares Core US Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG). Our analysis shows that, although the Libra product is new, much of the relevant information, such as transparency of the holdings and frequency of the  publication of the NAV, has not yet been disclosed.

The analysis also highlights that Libra may suffer from unnecessary complexity with respect to portfolio management. The fund appears to be managed by the Libra Association, which consists of many entities in multiple industries across the globe. These same entities are responsible for issuing the ETF and the list of companies is set to expand further. At the same time, the investment mandate is unclear. In contrast Blackrock’s fixed income ETF product has a clear investment mandate, to track the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, which is managed independently of the ETF issuer.

Perhaps the most significant disadvantage of the Libra product, is that unit holders do not appear to be entitled to receive the investment income. This contrasts unfavourably with Blackrock’s product, which focuses on an almost identical asset class and has an investment yield of around 2.6%. Defenders of Libra could point out that the expenses need to be covered from somewhere and that the Libra’s expense fee is not yet disclosed. However, the ETF industry is already highly competitive, with Blackrock charging an expense fee of just 0.05%. This expense fee is far lower than the expected investment yield of the product, at around 2.6% and therefore the Libra ETF may not be price competitive, a key potential disadvantage for potential investors.

Figure 2 – Libra ETF vs iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG) – Detailed Comparison

  Libra ETF

iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG)

Launch date June 2019 September 2003
IssuerThe Libra Association/Facebook Blackrock
AuM Unknown

US$63.5 billion

Asset class

Fixed Income

Bank deposits and government securities in currencies from stable and reputable central banks

Fixed income – Investment grade government and corporate bonds
Underlying Index Unknown/Not applicable Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index

Portfolio managers

The Libra Association, based in Switzerland will manage the reserve. The investment mandate is not currently disclosed. The current members are as follows:
  • Mastercard
  • PayPal
  • PayU (Naspers’ fintech arm)
  • Stripe
  • Visa
  • Booking Holdings
  • eBay
  • Facebook/Calibra
  • Farfetch
  • Lyft
  • MercadoPago
  • Spotify
  • Uber
  • Iliad
  • Vodafone Group
  • Anchorage
  • Bison Trails
  • Coinbase
  • Xapo
  • Andreessen Horowitz
  • Breakthrough Initiatives
  • Ribbit Capital
  • Thrive Capital
  • Union Square Ventures
  • Creative Destruction Lab,
  • Kiva
  • Mercy Corps
  • Women’s World Banking

James Mauro and Scott Radell, with a clear constrained mandate to track the index




Investment yield



Use of investment income

Unit holders are not entitled to investment income Investment income will:

first go to support the operating expenses of the association — to fund investments in the growth and development of the ecosystem, grants to nonprofit and multilateral organizations, engineering research, etc. Once that is covered, part of the remaining returns will go to pay dividends to early investors in the Libra Investment Token for their initial contribution

Attributable to ETF unit holders

Available exchanges

Currently None

The Libra Association

will encourage the listing of Libra on multiple regulated electronic exchanges throughout the world


Creation/redemption basket size


100,000 units

Authorized Participants (entities able to create and redeem units)

Authorized resellers, not currently disclosed

Investment Banks

Fund auditor



Information about holdings and Net Asset value (NAV)


Full disclosure (Published daily)

(Sources: iShares, Libra)

We have also analysed the two alternatives from a technical perspective. As figure 3 below indicates, the key difference is that control of Libra tokens may in part be managed by digital signatures. As long as no whitelist of addresses is implemented, this may provide some advantages:

  • Pseudonymity
  • A limited amount of censorship resistance
  • Relatively easy integration with cryptocurrency exchanges

However, as we mentioned in our Tether report in February 2018, history has shown that these characteristics can cause platforms to ultimately face a choice between implementing KYC or face being shut down by the authorities. Facebook has already censored politically controversial figures on its main platform, therefore it may appear likely the extent to which Libra ETF units are managed by public private key cryptography is significantly constrained or eventually becomes phased out.

Figure 3 – Technical and cryptographic considerations


Libra ETF

iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG)

Consensus system

Not applicable (An ETF does not require a consensus system)


Not relevant (Grouping records of ETF transactions into a chain of blocks linked together by hashing, is inconsequential for ETFs)

Control of units based on digital signature


The Libra Blockchain is pseudonymous and allows users to hold one or more addresses that are not linked to their real-world identity


(Sources: iShares, Libra)


Despite the key disadvantage, namely that Libra unit holders are not entitled to the investment income, many industry analysts are carefully examining the impact Libra could have on the traditional ETF industry and existing electronic payment systems.

While our comparison to ETFs is a bit tongue and cheek, it does highlight that the structure of the product has similar attributes to existing financial products. We therefore think it is an appropriate comparison, and if Libra wants to be competitive, it should emulate some of the governance and fee characteristics of traditional ETFs.

However, Libra could attract clients due to integration with platforms such as Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram. If Libra does retain the property of allowing coins to be controlled by private keys, this is an interesting development and the coin is likely to gain share from tokens such as Tether. However, in our view, in the long run, it is likely Libra either disables this feature or makes it technically difficult, such that only a tiny minority of users have these “non-custodial” wallets. If that happens, Libra is nothing more than a high fee ETF.

比特币现金硬分叉—— 三个相互关联的事件

摘要:2019 年 5 月 15 日,比特币现金硬分叉似乎遭遇到三个相互关联的重大问题。 “攻击交易” 利用一个漏洞,导致矿工产生空块。 围绕空区块的不确定性可能引起了一些矿工的担忧,他们可能试图在最初的非硬分叉区块链上挖矿,继而引发了共识区块链分裂。开发人员和矿工似乎已经制定了一项计划,以复原意外发送到隔离见证(SegWit)地址的资金,上述漏洞可能破坏了这一计划。 这种失败可能导致了进行有意识和协调的两个区块链重组。 根据我们的计算,大约有3392 比特币现金(BCH)可能已经在一个精心策划的交易逆转中成功地被双重花费了。 不过,这次双重花费的唯一受害者可能是原来窃取这笔钱的 “小偷”。

比特币现金网络在 2019 年 5 月 15 日分裂的图解

(资料来源: BitMEX 研究)
(注: 分裂的图形说明)




(资料来源: BitMEX 研究)


Bitcoin ABC 是比特币现金的一个重要实现软件,但它有一个漏洞,进入内存池的交易的有效性条件可能没有共识有效性条件那么繁琐。 这与比特币(想必比特币现金也一样)预期运作的方式相反,共识有效性规则本应比内存池有效性更宽松。这实际上是一个非常重要的特性,因为它可以防止恶意花费者创建满足通过网络中继并进入商家内存池的条件,但是无法满足进入有效区块所需条件的交易。这会使 0 确认双重花费攻击相对容易阻止,而无需担心初始付款进入区块链。在这种情况下,攻击者可以有理由确定,恶意构造的交易永远不会进入区块链。

攻击者似乎已经在比特币现金 ABC(Bitcoin Cash ABC)中发现了这个漏洞,然后在硬分叉之后加以利用,从而引起混乱和迷惑。这个攻击可以随时执行。 攻击者只需要广播满足内存池有效性条件但未通过共识检查的交易。当矿工试图产生这些交易的区块时,他们失败了。作为故障保护,矿工似乎已经制造空块,而不是颗粒无收,至少在大多数情况下是这样。

比特币现金 — 每个区块的交易数量 — 橙色线是硬分叉

(资料来源: BitMEX研究)


在空块不确定性达到最高峰时,我们的预硬分叉 Bitcoin ABC 0.18.2 节点收到了一个新的区块,582,680。 当时,许多人都担心空块,一些矿工可能已经恢复到一个硬分叉前客户端,认为较长的区块链遇到了麻烦,并可能会恢复到硬分叉之前。不过,这仅仅是我们的猜测,而空块漏洞可能与链分裂无关,这可能只是由一个太慢而无法升级的矿工造成的。


(资料来源: BitMEX 研究)

对于硬分叉的结构,链分裂确实向我们强调了一个问题。 我们测试了我们的硬分叉后客户端 ABC 0.19.0 是否会将分裂的非硬分叉侧视为有效。 为了使分裂 “干净”,分裂的每一侧都应该认为另一侧是无效的。

为了测试较短的硬分叉前区块链的有效性,从 Bitcoin ABC 0.19.0 节点的角度来看,我们不得不使自分裂以来的第一个硬分叉区块无效。 然后,我们观察该节点是否会跟随链分裂或仍然卡在硬分叉点。 出乎我们意料的是,如下面的屏幕截图所示,该节点跟随分裂的另一侧。 因此,分裂并不完全,这种不对称,可能为攻击者提供更多机会。

我们的 Bitcoin ABC 0.19.0 节点的命令行截图

(资料来源: BitMEX研究)


在硬分叉之后的几个区块,在分裂的硬分叉侧,有一个长度为 2 的区块链重组。 当时,我们认为这是由正常的区块传播问题引起的,并没有考虑太多。 例如, Bitcoin SV 在此之前几周经历了该长度的 6 个区块的重组, 根据我们的分析,当 Bitcoin SV 重组时,孤链中的所有交易最终都进入主要的获胜链(Coinbase 交易除外)。 不过,在这种比特币现金重组中,我们发现事实并非如此。

孤立区块,582,698,包含 137 笔交易(包括 Coinbase),其中只有 111 笔交易进入获胜链。 因此,就 25 笔交易而言,似乎发生了一次成功的 2 个区块双重花费。 如下表所示,这 25 笔交易的输出值总计超过 3,300 个BCH。


交易 ID

总输出 (BCH)


Coinbase (未计算)





















































(资料来源: BitMEX 研究)

如上表所示,这 25 笔双重花费交易的总输出值为 3,391.7 BCH,从经济角度来看,这是一笔重大数额。 因此,可以得出结论,重组是一个精心策划的事件,而不是偶然发生的。 如果这是偶然发生的事件,则分裂的每一侧的交易可能不会出现不匹配。 不过,假设协调和故意重组是我们的猜测。 


其中一个双重花费 UTXO(未花费过的交易输出)示例—— “0014”

(资料来源: BitMEX 研究)

上表说明了重组期间 5 个 BCH 输出发生的情况。 这 5 个 BCH 首先被发送到区块 582,698 中的地址 qzyj4lzdjjq0unuka59776tv4e6up23uhyk4tr2anm 。 该链是孤立链,而相同的输出最终被发送到不同的地址, qq4whmrz4xm6ey6sgsj4umvptrpfkmd2rvk36dw97y,在 7 个区块之后。

第二个双重花费 UTXO 示例—— “0020”

(资料来源: BitMEX研究)

上述输出的情况与 25 笔双重花费交易中的几乎所有资金有共同的特征。 大多数输出似乎已经在主链上的区块 582,705 附近进行双重花费,在孤立区块后大约 7 个区块。 

用于赎回交易输入的 SigScript 以 “0020” 或 “0014” 开头,在上面的示例中突出显示。 这些可能与 Segregated Witness(隔离见证)有关。 根据 Segregated Witness 中的规范,“0014” 被推送到 P2WPKH(支付给见证公钥哈希),和 “0020” 被推送到 P2WSH(支付给见证脚本哈希)。 因此,这些输入的赎回可能与比特币升级的隔离见证有关,其中只有一部分是在比特币现金上采用的。

实际上,基于我们的分析,孤立区块 582,698 中的 25 笔交易中的每个单个输入都用 “0014” 或 “0020” 开头的 Sigscript 来赎回。 因此,除了赎回这些 SegWit(隔离见证)输出的 “攻击者” 或 “小偷” 之外,有可能没有人丢失与此链重组相关的资金,而这些资金可能首先被偶然地发送到这些输出。 

作为比特币现金 2019 年 5 月硬分叉一部分,有一个变化,就是允许复原被意外发送到 SegWit 地址的比特币。 因此,这可能发生在这次事件中。


在上次升级中,意外发送到 Segwit P2SH 地址的比特币因 CLEANSTACK 规则而变为不可花费。 这次升级将对这些比特币进行豁免,并将它们恢复到之前可以花费的情况。 这意味着一旦 P2SH 赎回脚本预映射被透露(例如通过从相应的BTC地址花费比特币),任何矿工都可以拿走硬币。


这个 2 个区块重组可能与空块漏洞无关。 不过,分裂似乎就在在解决漏洞之后一个区块发生,因此它可能是相关的。 也许“诚实”的矿工们试图在分裂后直接协调这些输出的花费,又或许要将它们归还到原来的所有者那里,而空块漏洞搞砸了他们的时间,让攻击者得益并卷走资金。 

另一方面,该攻击非常复杂,因此攻击者可能非常老练,并需要进行广泛的规划。 因此,即使没有空块漏洞,这种攻击也可能是有效的。 


我们从有关比特币现金硬分叉升级的事件中吸取到许多教训。 硬分叉似乎为恶意行为者提供了攻击和制造不确定性的机会,因此对硬分叉的精心规划和协调非常重要。 另一方面,这个空块漏洞可能是其他两个事件的根本原因,其可能在任何时候发生,而无论是否正在试图硬分叉,尝试防止这样的漏洞才是重中之重。

这些事件的另一个重要教训是需要透明度。 在事件发生期间,很难知道开发人员的计划、漏洞的性质或矿工支持的链。 在公共渠道中就这些问题进行公开交流可能会更有帮助。 特别是,很多人都不能清晰知道开发人员和矿工的计划,以协调和复原发送给 SegWit 地址的资金。 如果这个计划事先在社区中,以及在明显的经过深思熟虑和协调的重组期间进行辩论和讨论,可能会有所帮助。 当然,假设有时间披露后者。 如果参与者在事后披露有关这些事件的详细信息,也可能会有所帮助。

我们认为,所有这一切中令人最担忧的是经过深思熟虑和协调的重组。 从论证的一方来看,资金被盗,因此将资金归还给其“合法所有者”的行为是合理的,即使这造成了一些短期中断。 不过,许多人或者某些人认为交易最终确认等现金是这些区块链系统的唯一独特特征。 如果能够逆转交易,和在本情况下的经济上重大交易,这将否定这个系统的整个前提条件。 这种行为可能消除适当保障资金的动机,开创先例或改变预期,更有可能产生进一步逆转。

对于比特币社区中所有不喜欢比特币现金的人来说,这可能成为嘲笑这种币的机会。 不过,虽然比特币现金的哈希值比比特币低得多,使得这种逆转更容易,但我们认为,成功对比特币现金进行经济上重大的精心策划交易逆转对比特币而言并不是好消息。 从某些方面来看,这些事件有助于树立一个危险的先例。 这表明这些事件可能会发生在比特币身上。 或者,这可以说明比特币现金在成为少数链的同时所面临的风险。


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