BTC Native Staking Transaction Design


Core DAO’s methodology for integrating bitcoin staking centers on CLTV timelock. The OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY (CLTV) timelock is a specific opcode used in Bitcoin's scripting language that allows for creating conditions based on time or block height before bitcoins can be spent from a transaction output. This provides a way to create outputs that are time-locked, meaning they cannot be spent until a certain condition related to time or block height is met.

Transaction Structure

Staking transaction

A BTC staking transaction should have two/three outputs, which are

  • P2SH/P2WSH type output, with time-lock enabled redeem script

  • OP_RETURN type output, with Core chain staking information

  • (Optional) Change address


There are no restrictions on inputs.

Withdrawal transaction

When the time-lock ends, the locked UTXO can be spent using the redeem script.

Script Design

P2SH/P2WSH Output

  • Core supports both P2SH and P2WSH outputs for BTC staking.

  • The construction of P2SH type output is as follows

    • OP_HASH160 <RIPEMD160(SHA256(RedeemScript))> OP_EQUAL

  • The construction of P2WSH type output is as follows

    • OP_0 <SHA256(RedeemScript)>

Redeem Script

The RedeemScript should start with a CLTV time lock. Here are a few common types.

  • When using a public key <CLTV timelock> OP_CLTV OP_DROP <pubKey> OP_CHECKSIG and the corresponding unlocking script in the withdrawal transaction is <sig> <RedeemScript>

  • When using a public key hash (most recommended) <CLTV timelock> OP_CLTV OP_DROP OP_DUP OP_HASH160 <pubKey Hash> OP_EQUALVERIFY OP_CHECKSIG and the corresponding unlocking script in the withdrawal transaction is <sig> <pubKey> <RedeepScript>

  • When using multi signature address <CLTV timelock> OP_CLTV OP_DROP M <pubKey1> <pubKey1> ... <pubKeyN> N OP_CHECKMULTISIG and the corresponding unlocking script in the withdrawal transaction is OP_0 <sig1> ... <sigM> <RedeemScript> The amount and duration of BTC locked in this output will be used for the calculation of validator election and reward distribution on the Core chain.

Note There are minimal requirements on both amount and duration to make the staking eligible on Core. A user should at least stake 0.01 BTC (less transaction fees) for at least 7 days (CLTV timestamp - transaction confirmation timestamp > 7 days).


The OP_RETURN output should contain all staking information in order, and be composed in the following format:

  • OP_RETURN: identifier 0x6a

  • LENGTH: which represents the total byte length after the OP_RETURN opcode. Note that all data has to be pushed with its appropriate size byte(s).

  • Satoshi Plus Identifier: (SAT+) 4 bytes

  • Version: (0x01) 1 byte

  • Chain ID: (1115 for Core Testnet and 1116 for Core Mainnet) 2 bytes

  • Delegator: The Core address to receive rewards, 20 bytes

  • Validator: The Core validator address to stake to, 20 bytes

  • Fee: Fee for relayer, 1 byte, range [0,255], measured in CORE

  • (Optional) RedeemScript

  • (Optional) Timelock: 4 bytes

Key Points to Ensure

  • Any bytes that can translate to a number should use OP_number ({0} should use OP_0 instead of 0x0100, {16} should use OP_16 instead of 0x0110)

  • Any bytes with lengths smaller than 0x4c (76) is pushed with 1 byte equal to the size (byte[10] -> 10 + byte[10]; byte[70] -> 70 + byte[70])

  • Any bytes bigger than or equal to 0x4c is pushed by using 0x4c (ie. OP_PUSHDATA) followed by the length followed by the data (byte[80] -> OP_PUSHDATA + 80 + byte[80])

  • Any bytes with length bigger than 255 uses 0x4d (OP_PUSHDATA2)

  • Any bytes with length bigger than 65535 (0xffff) uses 0x4e (OP_PUSHDATA4)

Either RedeemScript or Timelock must be available, the purpose is to allow relayer to obtain the RedeemScript and submit transactions on the Core chain. If a RedeemScript is provided, relayer will use it directly. Otherwise, relayer will construct the redeem script based on the timelock and the information in the transaction inputs. You can find more information about the relayer role in the below section.

Transaction Examples

Staking transaction

P2WSH output

This is the staking output and it is a standard P2WSH address. The redeem script used for this output is 041f5e0e66b17576a914c4b8ae927ff2b9ce218e20bf06d425d6b68424fd88ac

OP_PUSHBYTES_4 1f5e0e66
OP_PUSHBYTES_20 c4b8ae927ff2b9ce218e20bf06d425d6b68424fd

The script looks very similar to a normal P2PKH redeem script except it starts with a timelock OP_PUSHBYTES_4 1f5e0e66 OP_CLTV OP_DROP.

The redeem script hash used in this P2WSH output is SHA256(041f5e0e66b17576a914c4b8ae927ff2b9ce218e20bf06d425d6b68424fd88ac) which results to 3dd731ae1c3ce32cfbec4ea82c855e027adf5fddca6d0118029b0ba15e44e0e9 .

Here is an online tool to generate P2WSH sha256 hash value from redeem script, by which you can verify the above calculation:

OP_RETURN output

The full hex of this output is 6a4c505341542b01045bde60b7d0e6b758ca5dd8c61d377a2c5f1af51ec1a9e209f5ea0036c8c2f41078a3cebee57d8a47d501041f5e0e66b17576a914c4b8ae927ff2b9ce218e20bf06d425d6b68424fd88ac , where

  • 6a is op_return opcode

  • 4c50 is the total byte length after the OP_RETURN opcode [1]

  • 5341542b SAT+, which is satoshi plus identifier

  • 01 is version

  • 045b 1115, which is chain id (1115 for Core Testnet and 1116 for Core Mainnet)

  • de60b7d0e6b758ca5dd8c61d377a2c5f1af51ec1 is the reward address

  • a9e209f5ea0036c8c2f41078a3cebee57d8a47d5 is the validator address

  • 01 is relayer fee, measured in CORE

  • 041f5e0e66b17576a914c4b8ae927ff2b9ce218e20bf06d425d6b68424fd88ac is redeem script, which is explained in the above section.

[1] Any bytes bigger than or equal to 0x4c is pushed by using 0x4c (ie. OP_PUSHDATA) followed by the length followed by the data (byte[80] -> OP_PUSHDATA + 80 + byte[80])

Withdrawal Transaction

This transaction spent the P2WSH time-lock output from the above staking transaction

In the input, the redeem script 041f5e0e66b17576a914c4b8ae927ff2b9ce218e20bf06d425d6b68424fd88ac is provided to spend it. Since the time lock 1f5e0e66 (660e5e1f after reverting bytes, which is 1712217631 unix timestamp) has already expired, the UTXO was spent successfully.

Note > Code samples of constructing the staking and withdrawal transactions on Bitcoin network will be provided soon.

Role of Relayers

In a strict sense, the BTC Native Staking process consists of two steps

  • Stake on the Bitcoin network

  • Submit the confirmed BTC staking transaction to the Core chain

To make the entire process more convenient, Core DAO introduces the role of relayers. Relayers can help users submit transactions to the Core network after the staking transaction is confirmed on the Bitcoin network. Since it is necessary to verify the transaction on the Core network with the embedded Bitcoin light client, relayers needs to obtain the corresponding RedeemScript of the P2SH/P2WSH output. To meet this requirement, we suggest users to either

  • Put the entire RedeemScript at the end of the OP_RETURN output, if the script is short. e.g. a RedeemScript constructed using public key hash as shown in the sample above.

  • Set the receiving address of the staking transaction as their own so relayers can extract useful information from the transaction input and compose the RedeemScript by themselves. E.g.

    • If it's a normal address, the pubkey or pubkey hash should be set as the input's corresponding public key when constructing the RedeemScript.

    • If it is a multi-signature address, the corresponding multi-signature address's public key should be set when constructing the RedeemScript.

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