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How to Use Bitcoin Block Space More Efficiently

How to Use Bitcoin Block Space More Efficiently

Jan 17, 2024
Bitcoin Basics

How to Use Bitcoin Block Space More Efficiently


Matthew Kratter from Bitcoin University discusses the importance and methods of using Bitcoin block space efficiently. This guide is a follow-up to a previous discussion on how monetary systems scale and is aimed at those already somewhat familiar with Bitcoin. If you need a refresher, watch the linked video in the description (video linked at the bottom of this article).

Understanding Monetary Systems and Scaling

  • Monetary systems scale in layers, where most transactions occur on higher layers or different payment rails.
  • Transactions are batched and netted out, with the net result settled on the base layer.
  • The base layer provides strong final settlement guarantees but has higher transaction fees.

Historical Example: The Gold Standard

  • Countries would exchange goods and net out the balance at the end of a period, settling the difference in physical gold.
  • This efficient approach avoided the cost and time of shipping equivalent values of gold back and forth.

Using Bitcoin Efficiently: Layered Transactions

  • Similar to the gold standard, Bitcoin transactions can be batched and settled on the base layer.
  • On-chain (Layer 1) transactions can be expensive, pushing activity to higher layers, like the Lightning Network.

The Lightning Network

  • Opening a Lightning channel involves a single base layer transaction to lock up Bitcoin in a two-of-two multisig wallet.
  • Once the channel is set up, unlimited transactions can occur with minimal fees.
  • At the end, a corresponding two-of-two multisig transaction settles the net balance on the base layer.

Custodial Solutions: Internal Ledgers

  • Services like Cash App maintain internal ledgers to record transactions without impacting the blockchain.
  • Users can transact multiple times with no fees, and the service settles on-chain only when necessary.
  • Custodial solutions carry the risk of government interference or the service not having sufficient funds for withdrawals.

Reducing On-Chain Footprint

High transaction fees drive users to:

  • Use layer two solutions like Lightning or custodial services.
  • Wait for lower congestion periods to transact.
  • Batch transactions and use newer, more space-efficient address types to save on fees.
Understanding Bitcoin Addresses: A Comprehensive Guide
If you’re venturing into the world of Bitcoin, one fundamental aspect you need to comprehend is the bitcoin address. This guide will demystify Bitcoin addresses, their function, and their critical role in safeguarding your privacy and security in the realm of digital currency.

Batching Transactions

  • Exchanges can batch multiple withdrawals into a single transaction with multiple outputs to save on fees.
  • Using a transaction size calculator, it's shown that one transaction with ten outputs uses significantly less block space than ten separate transactions.

Using Efficient Address Types

  • Newer address types, like Taproot, use less block space than older types like Pay to Public Key Hash (P2PKH).
  • A transaction calculator can show the savings in virtual bytes (v bytes) when using different address types.
How to Manage Bitcoin UTXOs and Save on Transaction Fees
If you’re a Bitcoin holder and take custody of your funds, UTXOs is crucial to avoid hefty fees later on. This guide will help you understand and implement UTXO management to consolidate your Bitcoin holdings efficiently, balancing cost savings with privacy considerations.

Conclusion and Call to Action

Efficient use of Bitcoin block space benefits the entire ecosystem by reducing fees and congestion. This efficiency encourages the use of higher layers and various payment rails, both custodial and non-custodial.


Current Block Height

Current Mempool Size

Current Difficulty