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1  Bitcoin / Development & Technical Discussion / Make malleable transactions the norm, not the exception on: February 10, 2014, 12:43:15 PM
Am I the only one here who thinks the "malleable transaction" issue is being approached all wrong?

The problem isn't really that transactions are malleable, it's that people are being led to think they can identify a previously unconfirmed transaction, when it's included in the blockchain, by its unconfirmed hash. This is true in most cases, but it's not true in special circumstances, or if you're subject to an attack.

To discourage this misplaced reliance, why not request miners to always modify all transactions before including them in the blockchain? As long as a fair proportion of miners do this, it will be clear to everyone that transaction success should not be monitored by the transaction hash.

I understand that MtGox wants transactions to have some kind of hash they can unambiguously refer to even if they get modified before inclusion in the blockchain. But to achieve this, simply defer referencing the transaction hash until it's actually included in several blocks - wait a day if you need to - and then quote it to the customer. An unconfirmed transaction hash is not admissible as evidence of payment before inclusion in the blockchain, anyway.

MtGox can track transactions internally via the actual transaction script hash that they signed (as opposed to hash of the entire encoded transaction).

Given the complexity of Bitcoin transaction script, coming up with a non-malleable transaction hash to cover all transactions (not only the few standard types) is futile. If we only standardize canonical hashes for standard transactions, the chance remains that something will be overlooked, either by the agreed-to standard or by a particular implementation, and the problem will rear its ugly head again.
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