Big step forward for Taproot and Schnorr

On Tuesday, Bitcoin programmer Pieter Wuille submitted a proposal on GitHub with changes to the Bitcoin Core code that would enable the much-discussed Taproot and Schnorr Signatures upgrades. The proposal is an important milestone in the development process and represents the first concrete proposal to implement the technologies. It is now up to the rest of the bitcoin community to review the code and add it to a next version of Bitcoin Core if there is enough support.

A major step forward was made on Tuesday in the process of adding Taproot and Schnorr Signatures to Bitcoin. Schnorr Signatures are a new method of bundling digital signatures in a way that takes less time to verify while using less data. This benefits the scalability of the network.

In addition, the addition of Schnorr Signatures allows implementation of Taproot. This makes it possible to add extra privacy functionality to bitcoin smart contracts , so that the content of smart contracts remains private. It is therefore possible to create a smart contract that is executed after signing by the parties involved, while the transaction looks like any other transaction to the outside world. Part of the information only becomes public if not all parties involved sign it.

Due to the new capabilities that this creates and the increased privacy, expectations around Taproot and Schnorr are high and many consider them the most important upgrades since the activation of the scalability solution SegWit in 2017.

Decentralized development process

Now that Pieter Wuille has submitted a first proposal on GitHub, it is up to the bitcoin community to inspect and review the code. It is difficult to estimate how long that process will take, because Bitcoin has no central authority that decides which changes will be introduced.

Much therefore depends on the feedback received from the community on the proposal. Only when there is enough support for the changes will the code be included in the next version of the Bitcoin Core software. It will probably be several months before that actually happens.

After that, it is still up to the bitcoin community to decide whether to use the updated software. The possible addition of Taproot/Schnorr will be done via a so -called soft-fork , similar to the soft-fork that SegWit introduced in 2017. Soft forks are completely optional and their adoption is therefore largely dependent on the users. Now, two years after its introduction, SegWit’s adoption rate is around 60%.

Want to read Pieter Wuille’s proposal yourself? Then click here

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