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Unlocking the Power of Collaboration with Partially Signed Bitcoin Transactions (PSBT)


Partially Signed Bitcoin Transactions (PSBT)

Introduction

Bitcoin, the revolutionary digital currency, has evolved significantly since its inception. While it started as a simple peer-to-peer transaction system, it has grown into a complex ecosystem with a myriad of features. One such advanced feature is the Partially Signed Bitcoin Transaction (PSBT), a standard that has revolutionized the way transactions are conducted, especially when multiple parties are involved. This article aims to demystify PSBTs, explaining their purpose, how they work, and why they are crucial for the Bitcoin network.


What Are PSBTs?

Partially Signed Bitcoin Transactions (PSBTs) are a Bitcoin standard that facilitates the portability of unsigned transactions. This means that multiple parties can easily sign the same transaction at different times. Introduced by Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) 174, PSBTs have become a cornerstone for complex transaction types like multi-signature setups and CoinJoins.


Why Are PSBTs Important?

Interoperability

PSBTs enhance interoperability between different Bitcoin software and hardware. This means that a transaction can be initiated in one wallet and completed in another without any compatibility issues.

Offline Signing

PSBTs provide essential metadata that assists cold storage devices in verifying transaction details, making it more secure to sign a transaction offline.

Multi-Signature and Multi-Party Transactions

PSBTs make multi-signature transactions more user-friendly. They are also particularly useful for protocols like CoinJoin, CoinSwap, and PayJoin, which require multiple parties to sign the same transaction.


How Do PSBTs Work?

Step 1: Identifying UTXOs

A PSBT starts by identifying a set of Unspent Transaction Outputs (UTXOs) that will be spent and the outputs that will receive the spent value.

Step 2: Adding Information

Information about each UTXO, necessary for generating a signature, is added to the PSBT. This can be done by different tools or parties.

Step 3: Signature Addition

The PSBT is then transferred to a program or device capable of signing it. In cases involving multiple wallets or parties, this step can be repeated multiple times.

Step 4: Combining PSBTs

Multiple PSBTs, each containing one or more necessary signatures, can be integrated into a single PSBT.

Step 5: Finalizing the Transaction

The fully signed PSBT is converted into a complete, ready-to-broadcast transaction.


When to Use PSBTs?

PSBTs are ideal for situations requiring multiple parties to cooperate in producing a transaction. They are commonly used in hardware wallets, multi-signature setups, and CoinJoin transactions. They can even be used in conjunction with the Lightning Network.


Conclusion

PSBTs are more than just a technical standard; they are a facilitator of financial freedom and security. By enabling complex transactions to be conducted smoothly and securely, PSBTs are pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the realm of digital currency.


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