The Bitcoin Masterclass (Slovenia) Day 1: Multicast and IPv6

In the first session, Dr Wright discussed IPv6 and how it will work alongside Bitcoin to create a truly distributed, permissionless peer-to-peer network with

Written by

Ryan Brothwell

Published On

07 Jun 2023

Dr Craig S. Wright, Chief Scientist at nChain, held the second edition of his Bitcoin Masterclass series at an exclusive venue in Slovenia in March. The Masterclass course forms part of a monthly series aimed at helping attendees understand the fundamentals of Bitcoin and the technology behind it.

The Bitcoin Masterclass series will give you a comprehensive overview of Bitcoin’s history, theory and design. Wright discussed the future of Bitcoin and the unbounded scalability of nChain’s blockchain solutions with potential use cases across several industries.

In the first session, Dr Wright discussed IPv6 and how it will work alongside Bitcoin to create a truly distributed, permissionless peer-to-peer network with no scaling limit. He opened the session by discussing the basics of IPv6, anycast, multicast and IP-to-IP.

The power of Multicast and IPv6

Dr Wright began by highlighting the significance of multicast in IPv6, referring to it as the “one too many” concept. Multicast enables the formation of groups where individuals can actively subscribe to receive information. By sending a single packet, a node can reach all group members through the Internet.

As IPv6 adoption gains momentum, it also paves the way for realising the full potential of the original Bitcoin protocol. With IPv6’s inherent scalability and direct peer-to-peer communication capabilities, Bitcoin can act as a seamless end-to-end model for data and payment communication. This evolution enables enhanced efficiency, security, and decentralisation, reinforcing the fundamental principles on which Bitcoin was built.

Highlighting the limitations of IPv4 and its impact on Bitcoin’s functioning, Dr Wright pointed to the current necessity for nodes to maintain a list of subscribing machines in gossip mode. With IPv6, this challenge can be overcome, eliminating the need for a machine list.

Any individual can join a multicast group without restrictions, as long as someone keeps track of subscribers. This responsibility can be delegated to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who have a vested interest in maintaining the list due to financial incentives.

Dr Wright also pointed to IPv6’s ability to accommodate data packets of up to 4GB. At the same time, the scalability of IPv6 ensures that hyper-efficient networks can be established on a global scale, leveraging the vast number of IP addresses available—enough to assign an IP address to every atom in the known universe.

When combined with anycast, which directs nodes to share information with the closest topographic node, IPv6 enables the creation of truly efficient networks, he said.

IPv6 and Bitcoin

Dr Wright notes that a genuinely end-to-end model for the Internet would see widespread IPv6 adoption and the replacement of legacy networking quirks like NAT-based central servers. When users and machines can interact directly with each other using IPv6 and the BSV blockchain, a whole new host of applications is made possible.

He noted that in an IPv6 system, nodes do not have the authority to choose with whom they share information. By broadcasting to a multicast address, all subscribers receive the information, ensuring that no entity can prevent others from joining the network – a truly fair system.

Wright also discussed the important role of nodes in Bitcoin and the importance of miners operating at maximum efficiency.


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