Robin Linus, the creator behind BitVM — a computing construct atop the Bitcoin blockchain — released a new white paper on November 11, 2023, entitled “Bitstream.” The document explores a system aimed at reforming the economic structure of file storage, suggesting a usage-based model that rewards server contributions with bitcoin payments.
Bitstream Revealed: A White Paper’s Bitcoin-Based Bid to Overhaul Data Hosting
The Bitstream white paper, authored by blockchain programmer Robin Linus, unveils a method where servers receive direct payments in bitcoin (BTC) for each file download they facilitate. Addressing the imbalance in current hosting economics, Linus’ system aligns server profit with content demand.
Servers are compensated for providing a service to the network, namely the distribution of files, the white paper explains. The system “creates a directory of accountable servers from which clients can choose,” Linus’ paper details.
The Bitstream system capitalizes on Bitcoin’s payment channels, including technologies like the Lightning Network, Liquid, Chaumian ecash, Fedimint, or Cashu to afford swift microtransactions for file access.
“The server encrypts the file such that if there’s any mismatch during decryption the client can derive a compact fraud proof,” the paper notes. “A bond contract guarantees the client receives the exact file or they can punish the server.”
In Bitstream’s design, the use of a Merkle tree for file verification promotes both the uniqueness and security of hosted data. By breaking down files into hashed components, the system can quickly confirm the accuracy of the content being transferred.
Linus has adopted a straightforward encryption method, using the one-time pad cipher for its uncompromising security guaranteed by the bitwise XOR operations. “If the encrypted file does not decrypt correctly, the client can derive a succinct fraud proof,” the Bitstream white paper explains.
After Linus published the paper several people were enthusiastic while others were more critical. “Are you just planning to keep revolutionizing Bitcoin every 2 months or so?” one person asked the programmer.
“File hosting is already an at the margin commodity service, and hash based redundancy is achieved over Webtorrent where needed,” another more critical individual said. “A less perfomant inclusion of user edge storage and bandwidth doesn’t solve any particular problem.”
Linus has also been working on the BitVM concept after unveiling that specific white paper last month. We just broadcasted the first mainnet transaction having a Blake3 hash lock implemented in Bitcoin Script,” Linus posted on X on November 6. “One small opcode for BitVM, one giant script for Bitcoin,” the developer added.
The Bitstream framework offers a variation to conventional data hosting methods, yet its practical application remains to be seen. The white paper’s proposal believes it has proposed an “incentive system for decentralized file hosting without relying on trust or heavy-weight cryptography.”
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