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The LiteClient programme is creating a set of tools to enable SPV usage of the Bitcoin SV blockchain.
At the time of writing, the biggest BSV block ever mined amounts to a whopping 3.8 GB in size with the network maintaining an average block size of 100 MB.
As Bitcoin SV blocks are getting bigger, we’re starting to see different pieces of software in the ecosystem starting to struggle with the size of blocks.
And so, if you’re running a Bitcoin SV node as part of your technology stack, and you’re not a miner, it’s time to start thinking about changing your architecture now.
Enter: LiteClient – a set of tools to enable SPV usage of the Bitcoin SV blockchain.
In the past, you’ve always been able to do things like loading an entire block into memory and processing it that way. It’s a bit easier to do that than to paginate or stream blocks in memory and process them in that way.
That’s been fine up until now. For the first 10 years of Bitcoin’s history a block was never larger than 1MB, and there’s not that many machines on earth that don’t have a few spare MBs sitting around.
But now that we’re getting into the GBs, applications need to start thinking about how they’re going to deal with these larger data structures.
Fortunately, Bitcoin’s white paper describes something called SPV (Simplified Payment Verification) which lets people deal with just the parts of the Bitcoin blockchain that are relevant to them. The LiteClient programme by nChain and Bitcoin Association is a project that’s creating a set of tools that the Bitcoin Infrastructure team is working on to enable SPV usage of the blockchain
This diagram above illustrates how you can prove the existence of a transaction in the blockchain without having to store the entire blockchain.
To learn more about how SPV can improve your Bitcoin payment service, head over here.
The Bitcoin SV Infrastructure team’s vision is to provide enterprise-grade scalable open BSV infrastructure for Nodes (miners) and Clients (wallets, apps), and this time round they’re launching a tool that does just that with SPV – the LiteClient tool.
LiteClient is the new SPV infrastructure that Bitcoin Association and nChain have just released. As its first feature, this SDK provides a way for businesses to plug into SPV’s benefits.
While businesses can implement the reference implementation as is, the LiteClient project provides the open source code for application developers to build on top of it to suit their purposes and use cases.
At launch, LiteClient focusses on the basic payment use case of implementing the P2P Payment protocol through the SPV methodology of connecting and using the Bitcoin Node network.
But over time, the LiteClient toolbox will include a set of components to support advanced possibilities like script templates, multiparty payments, payment channels and building an off-chain DAG of data and transactions which a business or an enterprise has written to the blockchain.
LiteClient does not have or need a full copy of the blockchain. And therein lies the greatest of its benefits for merchants, wallets and small to medium enterprises that can perform their tasks perfectly well with access to only the blockchain transactions pertaining to them.
Cut the costs of running a full node. Cut the costs of upgrading your technology stack as blocks scale. Simply use LiteClient and you’re set!
LiteClient is primarily designed for developers who are already using Bitcoin SV so they can level up their systems and make it more robust. At the same time, LiteClient makes it a lot easier for newcomers to build their own applications. If any company wants to implement BSV as a payment method, they can use this infrastructure.
The LiteClient team has created a reference implementation of a SPV Wallet and associated components to provide for a P2P Payment capability as the base use case. It also releases libraries written in golang which provides easy to use functions to build on top of reference implementation as well. This is an alternative to the very famous BSV library which is used by many developers for building functionalities on top of Bitcoin.
And yet, everything is based on open source that’s been available for a while. Because of a lack of documentation and awareness, very few people have been using it – which is what the LiteClient programme is about to correct.
You can run it on your smart fridge or toaster! The point is, you can run this on the tiniest of machines. SPV requires you to process 80 bytes every 10 minutes which grows by 4.2 megabytes per year, which is literally nothing.
The legacy way of doing payments is for a customer to send their transaction to the blockchain, and the merchant having to listen to all of the blockchain transactions, looking for the one that pertains to a sale.
SPV makes it possible to do direct payments, which will be pivotal as BSV scales. With SPV the merchant can get proof that a transaction has been accepted into a block, without having to run a full node themselves.
Before LiteClient, companies who wanted to use SPV had to create their own proprietary solutions. Often these were done in a hacky way, just to get something off the ground.
Now that blocks are growing to GB size and it’s not practical for everyone to run a full node, demand for SPV is growing. The LiteClient programme is building the toolset that makes it very easy for people to plug into Bitcoin’s inherent features, without having to build their own software.