Transaction

A Transaction is how bitcoins are transferred on the blockchain. It comprises of a set of Transaction Inputs which will be spent to a set of Transaction Outputs. The mining nodes and full node software ensures that every transaction follows the blockchain's rules before admitting a transaction into a block.

Verification of a transaction ensures that: - The Transaction Inputs have not already been spent. - The total value contained in the Transaction Inputs is greater than (or equal) to the value specified within the Transaction Outputs. - The Transaction is syntactically and cryptographically valid, and that the previous Unspent Transaction Outputs' Locking Scripts are correctly unlocked via the Transaction Inputs' Unlocking Script.

Format

Field Length Format Description
version 4 bytes unsigned integer(LE) The version of the transaction format. Currently 0x02000000.
input count variable variable length integer The number of inputs in the transaction.
transaction inputs variable input count transaction inputs Each of the transaction's inputs serialized in order.
output count variable variable length integer The number of output in the transaction.
transaction outputs variable output count transaction outputs Each of the transaction's outputs serialized in order.
lock-time 4 bytes unsigned integer(LE) The block height or timestamp after which this transaction is allowed to be included in a block. If less than 500,000,000, this is interpreted as a block height. If more than 500,000,000, this is interpreted as a unix timestamp in seconds. Ignored if all of the transaction input sequence numbers are 0xFFFFFFFF.

Note that at 10 minutes per block, it will take over 9,500 years to reach block height 500,000,000. Also note that when Bitcoin was created the unix timestamp was well over 1,000,000,000.

Additionally, since BIP-113, when the lock-time is intepreted as a time, it is compared to the median-time-past of a block, not it's timestamp.

Median-Time-Past

The median-time-past, or MTP, of a block is defined as the median block timestamp of the 11 blocks preceding a block. This is used in calculations to avoid circumstances where consecutive blocks may not have strictly increasing timestamps.

Note, however, that this means that transactions utilizing time-based locking will not be included in a block immediately after their lock-time is reached. Instead, there will need to be 6 blocks after the lock-time in order for the MTP to indicate that the lock-time has been reached. This means that such transactions will experience an additional delay of an hour on average.

Transaction Input

Transaction inputs are the "debits" of Bitcoin Cash and not only designate the satoshis that will be transferred as a part of the transaction, but they also provide proof of ownership via the Unlocking Script. A Transaction Input references an unspent Transaction Output (oftern referred to as a "UTXO"), from a prior transaction. If a Transaction would like to spend multiple UTXOs, it must have multiple inputs, one for each UTXO. The Transaction Output that is being spent by a Transaction Input is often referred to as the "PrevOut", short for the "Previous Output".

Format

Field Length Format Description
previous output transaction hash 32 bytes transaction hash The hash of the transaction containing the output to be spent.
output index 4 bytes unsigned integer(LE) The zero-based index of the output to spent in the previous output's transaction.
unlocking script length variable variable length integer The size of the unlocking script in bytes.
unlocking script variable bytes(BE) The contents of the unlocking script.
sequence number 4 bytes unsigned integer(LE) As of BIP-68, the sequence number is interpreted as a relative lock-time for the input.

Relative Lock-Time Format

Since BIP-68, a transaction input's sequence number may be interpreted as a relative lock-time for the input. That is, it prevents the transaction from being mined until a certain amount of time has past (or number of blocks mined) since the transaction containing the output to be spent was mined. The 4 bytes of the sequence number are read from the input and interpreted as an unsigned integer. The lowest-order bit is denotes as the 0th bit and the highest order bit as the 31st. The following rules are used to interpret the value:

As with lock-time, when the relative lock-time is interpreted as a time, it is compared to the median-time-past of a block, not it's timestamp.

Transaction Output

Transaction outputs are the "credits" of Bitcoin Cash. Each transaction output denotes a number of satoshis and the requirements are spending them. These requirements take the form of a locking script and can equate to anything from the satoshis only being spendable by the owner of a specific private key, to anyone being able to spend them, to no one being able to spend them. While a transaction output has not been spent by another transaction (i.e. had its locking script "unlocked" by an input of a valid transaction) it is referred to as an unspent transaction output, or UTXO. A Transaction Output that is being spent by a Transaction Input is often referred to as the "PrevOut", short for the "Previous Output".

Format

Field Length Format Description
value 8 bytes unsigned integer(LE) The number of satoshis to be transferred.
locking script length variable variable length integer The size of the unlocking script in bytes.
locking script variable bytes(BE) The contents of the locking script.

Transaction Fee

Extra satoshis from the Transaction Inputs that are not accounted for in the Transaction Outputs may be collected by the miner as the transaction fee.