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Cross-Input Signature Aggregation (CISA)

CISA is a potential Bitcoin softfork that reduces transaction weight. The purpose of this repository is to collect thoughts and resources on signature aggregation schemes themselves and how they could be integrated into Bitcoin.


Half Aggregation

Half aggregation allows non-interactively aggregating a set of signatures into a single aggregate signature whose size is half of the size of the original signatures.

See half-aggregation.mediawiki for a detailed description. There is also a recording of Implementing Half Aggregation in libsecp256k1-zkp with accompanying "slides".

Sigagg Case Study: LN Channel Announcements

Channel announcements messages are gossiped in the Lightning Network to allow nodes to discover routes for payments.

To prove that a channel between a node with public key node_1 and a node with public key node_2 does exist, the announcement contains four signatures. First, the announcement contains node_signature_1 and node_signature_2 which are are signatures over the channel announcement message by node_1 and node_2 respectively.

The channel announcement also proves that the two keys bitcoin_key_1 and bitcoin_key_2 contained in the funding output of the funding transaction are owned by node_1 and node_2 respectively. Therefore, it contains signature bitcoin_signature_1 by bitcoin_key_1 over node_1 and bitcoin_signature_2 by bitcoin_key_2 over node_2.

  1. Since node_signature_1 and node_signature_2 are signatures over the same message, one can use a scheme like MuSig2 to replace both signatures with a single multisignature node_signature that has the same size as an individual signature.
  2. In order to create a channel announcement message, both nodes need to cooperate. Therefore, they can interactively fully aggregate the three signatures into a single aggregate signature.
  3. Channel announcements are often sent in batches. Within a batch, the signatures of all channel announcements can be non-interactively half aggregated since this does not require the communication with the nodes. Each channel announcement signature is thus reduced to a half-aggregated signature which is half the size of the original signature.

As a result, starting from four signatures (256 bytes) which make up about 60% of a channel announcement today are aggregated into one half signature (32 bytes for a large batch).

Of course, variations of above recipe are possible. For example, if one wants to avoid full aggregation for simplicity's sake, the four signatures in an announcement can just be half aggregated to reduce them to the size of 2.5 signatures.

Integration Into The Bitcoin Protocol

Since the verification algorithm for half and fully aggregated signatures differs from BIP 340 Schnorr Signature verification, nodes can not simply start to produce and verify aggregated signatures. This would result in a chain split.

Taproot & Tapscript provide multiple upgrade paths:

  • Redefine OP_SUCCESS to OP_CHECKAGGSIG: As pointed out in this post to the bitcoin-dev mailing list, an OP_CHECKAGGSIG appearing within a script that includes OP_SUCCESS can result in a chain split. That's because OP_CHECKAGGSIG does not actually verify the signature, but puts the public key in some datastructure against which the aggregate signature is only verified in the end - after having encountered all OP_CHECKAGGSIG. While one node sees OP_SUCCESS OP_CHECKSIGADD, a node with another upgrade - supposedly a softfork - may see OP_DOPE OP_CHECKSIGADD. Since they disagree how to verify the aggregate signature, they will disagree on the verification result which results in a chainsplit. Hence, OP_CHECKAGGSIG can't be used in a scripting system with OP_SUCCESS. The same argument holds for the attempt to add aggregate signatures via Tapscript's key version.
  • Define new leaf version to replace tapscript: If the new scripting system has OP_SUCCESS then this does not solve the problem.
  • Define new SegWit version: It is possible to define a new SegWit version that is a copy of Taproot & Tapscript with the exception that all keyspend signatures are allowed to be aggregated. On the other hand, if the goal is that aggregation is only possible for keyspends, then defining a new SegWit version is necessary (since Taproot keyspends expects a BIP-340 signature and not some aggregated signature). However, keyspends can not be aggregated across SegWit versions: nodes that do not recognize the newest SegWit version are not able to pick up the public keys and messages that the aggregate signature is supposed to be verified with.

Assume that a new SegWit version is defined to deploy aggregate signatures by copying Taproot and Tapscript and allowing only keyspends to be aggregated. This would be limiting. For example, a spending policy (pk(A) and pk(B)) or (pk(A) and older(N)) would usually be instantiated in Taproot by aggregating keys A and B to create a keypath spend and appending a script path for (pk(A) and older(N)). It wouldn't be possible to aggregate the signature if the second spending path is used.

This bitcoin-dev post shows that this limitation is indeed unnecessary by introducing Generalized Taproot, a.k.a. g'root (see also this post for a summary). Essentially, instead of requiring that each leaf of the taproot merkle tree is a script, in g'root leafs can consist of both a public key and a script. In order to use such a spending path, a signature for the public key must be provided, as well as the inputs to satisfy the script. This means that the public key is moved out of the scripting system, leaving it unencumbered by OP_SUCCESS and other potentially dangerous Tapscript components. Hence, signatures for these public keys can be aggregated.

Consider the example policy (pk(A) and pk(B)) or (pk(A) and older(N)) from above. In g'root the root key keyagg((pk(A), pk(B))) commits via taproot tweaking to a spending condition consisting of public key pk(A) and script older(N). In order to spend with the latter path, the script must be satisfied and an aggregated signature for pk(A) must exist.

The Entroot proposal is a slightly improved version of g'root that integrates Graftroot. One of the main appeals is that Entroot is "remarkably elegant" because the validation rules of Entroot are rather simple for the capabilities it enables.

Cross-input Aggregation Savings


Half Aggregation And Mempool Caching

As mentioned on bitcoin-dev nodes accepting a transaction with a half aggregate signature (s, R_1, ..., R_n) to their mempool would not throw it away or aggregate it with other signatures. Instead, they keep the signature and when a block with block-wide aggregate signature (s', R'_1, ..., R'_n') arrives they can subtract s from s' and remove R_1, ..., R_n, from the block-wide aggregate signature before verifying it. As a result, the nodes skip what they have already verified.

Half Aggregation And Reorgs

Assume there is a transaction X with half aggregate signature S0 = (s0, R_1, ..., R_n). The transaction is contained in chain C1 and therefore there exists a block with a signature S1 that half aggregates all signatures in the block. Since s0 is aggregated into S1, it is not retrievable from the block.

Now there happens to be a reorganization from chain C1 to chain C2. There are the following two cases where half aggregation affects the reorganization.

  1. Transaction X is contained in both chain C1 and C2. Let S2 be the block-wide half aggregate signature of the block in C2 that conatains X. In general S1 != S2, so the whole half-aggregate signature S2 must be verified, including the contribution of X despite having it verified already. If s0 was kept, it could be subtracted from S2. This is in contrast to ordinary signatures, which do not have to be re-verified in a reorg.
  2. Transaction X is contained in C1 but not in C2. Because we can't recover s0, we can't broadcast transaction X, nor can we build a block that includes it. Hence, we can't meaningfully put X back into the mempool.

Both cases would indicate that it is beneficial to keep s0 even though the transaction is included in the best chain. Only when the transaction is buried so deep that reorgs can be ruled out, the value s0 can be discarded.

Another solution for case 2. is to have the participants of the transaction (such as sender and receiver) rebroadcast the transaction. But this may have privacy issues.

Half Aggregation And Adaptor Signatures

Half aggregation prevents using adaptor signatures (stackexchange). However, a new SegWit version as outlined in section Integration Into The Bitcoin Protocol would keep signatures inside Tapscript unaggregatable. Hence, protocols using adaptor signatures can be instantiated by having adaptor signatures only appear inside Tapscript.

This should not be any less efficient in g'root if the output can be spend directly with a script, i.e., without showing a merkle proof. However, since this is not a normal keypath spend and explicitly unaggregatable, such a spend will stick out from other transactions. It is an open question if this actually affects protocols built on adaptor signatures. In other words, can such protocols can be instantiated with a Tapscript spending path for the adaptor signature but without having to use actually use that path - at least in the cooperative case? See for more discussion on this subject.


Thoughts on cross-input (signature) aggregation for Bitcoin






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