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On the Script page of the Bitcoin Wiki, in the "Provably Unspendable/Prunable Outputs" section, it gives an example of a script which would make that output of the transaction unspendable. In the example they give,

txid eb31ca1a4cbd97c2770983164d7560d2d03276ae1aee26f12d7c2c6424252f29

The unspendable output has zero value so the entire input amount goes to the miner of the block.

But if that output had been given some value of bitcoin, would I be correct in assuming those bitcoins would be provably unspendable forever? If that is the case, what is the need of a black hole address like the bitcoin eater? Couldn't bitcoins be provably "destroyed" simply using such an unspendable script transaction output?

Thanks

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If that is the case, what is the need of a black hole address like the bitcoin eater? Couldn't bitcoins be provably "destroyed" simply using such an unspendable script transaction output?

There is no need for addresses like the Bitcoin eater, but it is far easier to send Bitcoin to burn addresses than it is to create provably unspendable outputs. This is because most wallet software do not have the functionality to create outputs that are not P2PKH or P2SH, so it is more difficult to create the provably unspendable outputs.

However if you do want to burn some coins, you should use provably unspendable outputs as these do not bloat he UTXO set and there is not a no possibility that someone can get those coins (the burn addresses technically have a private key so someone could in theory get those coins by figuring out the private key).

  • Ah so purely convenience, no technical reasons? – MeshCollider Jul 2 '17 at 10:33
  • Yes, pretty much. – Andrew Chow Jul 2 '17 at 17:02

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