im_uname here raining on people’s parade again!
Dictating policy from one or many external oracles is a terrible idea. If we do that we can pretty much fold up any claims of being a permissionless currency and join the ranks of the EOS constitutional council or XRP. It’ll turn the whole thing into a joke. Seriously don’t do it, don’t even mention it. Internal policy of an independent cryptocurrency should never ever depend on reading from an external fiat.
Forcing the miners to float fees is less terrible, but still unequivocally bad. Once you got a jungle of desynchronized fee policies you can say goodbye to any claims to reasonable 0-conf reliability. Yes. I think having a reasonable 0-conf is orders of magnitude more important than crossing some arbitrary red line drawn around one US cent per typical transaction.
Free transactions are pointless. The problem isn’t that they encourage spam - we can arbitrarily limit their existence in any number of ways, coindays and hard size limit being two of them - but rather it cannot be deployed for any application that has any aspiration for reliability, at all.
If such a space strictly caters to unimportant applications that need no reliability, I’m not sure why we should care. If it aims to provide value to some useful application, these applications can and will fail-by-congestion at arbitrary times due to adverse conditions inside the “free space”, and that problem is unsolvable. Damage to BCH’s reputation as an unreliable chain will, in my opinion, be far worse than having each transaction pay two cents till the next upgrade. We’ll necessarily have to heavily discourage its use for anything useful, at which point I hope we’ll be self-aware enough to do some serious reflections.
There is one place where free txs are useful: In case you’re spammed by malicious miners with dust that can’t pay for its own movement, free space allows you to eventually consolidate them. But I doubt that’s a relevant problem these days.
Alright, enough pessimism. Looking at actually plausible solutions:
- Some form of algorithm that reads from aggregate fees of past n blocks. It’s easy to see how that’ll work in a congested chain - minimum inclusion fees are fairly useful as proxy to demand, due to users bidding against each other (otoh the UX, as we know, will be absolutely horrible). On a mostly non-congested chain like BCH I’m not sure how that can be done though - in “peacetime” we’ll have the overwhelming majority of tx be at the exact prevailing fee floor, so reading from that aggregate of fees doesn’t yield much useful information. We can’t have the floor constantly lower itself from prevailing fee, since that inevitably ends in a jungle of different policies as miners ditch the unreasonable adjustment algorithm. Again, 0-conf is far more important than crossing some arbitrary line denominated in a constantly devaluing fiat.
There’s probably some clever way to extract more useful information out of the past-transactions aggregate, but I don’t know what it is. If anyone has a new idea here I’m all ears.
- It’s a bit puzzling reading the heavy distrust towards miners here - we know they take initiatives on Ethereum to raise blocksizes, so having an adjustment mechanism that depends on miner/pool voting isn’t completely out of the question. In any case, better solutions on this front definitely exist, at least when compared to the very ugly process of lobbying node developers, which is happening right now.
Re:making minfee a consensus rule, that might not be a bad idea… but imo it’s limited in usefulness, since the only difference between that and strictly relay policy is that miners cannot arbitrary lower fees themselves to ruin coordination. Note that they may raise fees and there’s nothing anyone can do about that.