What are the key components of a blockchain transaction?

The technical aspects of a blockchain transaction. A blockchain transaction typically consists of several key components:

  1. Transaction Identifier (TxID): This is a unique identifier assigned to each transaction on the blockchain. It serves as a reference point for locating and verifying the transaction.
  2. Inputs: Inputs refer to the sources of funds for the transaction. In a transaction, inputs typically consist of references to previous transactions' outputs (UTXOs - Unspent Transaction Outputs) that are being spent. Each input includes a reference to a previous transaction output (UTXO), along with a cryptographic signature proving ownership of the funds.
  3. Outputs: Outputs represent the destinations of the funds being transferred in the transaction. Each output includes an amount of cryptocurrency and the recipient's address (public key or script), specifying where the funds should be transferred.
  4. Script: The script defines the conditions that must be met for the funds to be spent. It typically consists of a set of instructions or a smart contract defining the rules for unlocking the funds. In Bitcoin, for example, scripts are written in a stack-based scripting language called Script.
  5. Transaction Fee: This is an optional component but often included in transactions. It is a small amount of cryptocurrency paid by the sender to incentivize miners to include the transaction in a block. The transaction fee is typically calculated based on factors like transaction size and network congestion.
  6. Locking Script (ScriptPubKey): This is part of the output and defines the conditions under which the funds can be spent. It usually contains a locking script that specifies the cryptographic conditions (such as a public key hash) that must be satisfied to unlock the funds.
  7. Unlocking Script (ScriptSig): This is part of the input and provides the data needed to satisfy the conditions specified in the locking script. It typically contains a cryptographic signature produced using the private key corresponding to the public key in the locking script.
  8. Timestamp: A timestamp indicating when the transaction was created. This helps in ordering transactions and preventing double-spending.
  9. Size: The size of the transaction in bytes, which influences the transaction fee calculation. Larger transactions typically require higher fees to incentivize miners to include them in a block.
  10. Witness Data (for Segregated Witness transactions): In Segregated Witness (SegWit) transactions, witness data is separated from the transaction data to improve scalability and enable additional features like transaction malleability fixes and scripting improvements.