One step closer to big Schnorr / Taproot update in Bitcoin

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According to the news in BTCTimes, the Schnorr / Taproot consensus rules application has been combined with Bitcoin Core. However, the method of activating the update has not yet been determined.

The pull request was created by Bitcoin Core participant Pieter Wuille on September 13 and was thoroughly tested over the past 1 month. About 150 developers participated in the 7-week test of this proposal, which was put forward by Anthony Towns in November 2019.

This update was eagerly awaited due to Bitcoin’s potential to leverage transaction privacy while enhancing its smart contract capabilities.

What are Schnorr and Taproot?

Schnorr is an alternative algorithm to ECDSA used to generate cryptographic signatures. Schnorr traces combine scripts to reduce their size and enable flexible creation and execution of multi-signature transactions. Since multi-signature transactions cannot be distinguished from normal Bitcoin transactions, both efficiency and privacy are gained.

Taproot is a special method that enables Schnorr signatures to be created for multi-signature transactions. It was first proposed by Gregory Maxwell, former Blockstream CTO, on the Bitcoin developers mailing list. Since then, there have been various repetitions on this subject and today’s convergence point has been reached.

What will happen next?

Developments for Schnorr and Taproot continue at full speed. Today’s consolidation took place just 1 month after Schnorr was added to the “Bitcoin Core libsecp256k1” library.

The next step will be to discuss how to enable Schnorr and Taproot on the Bitcoin mainnet. Currently two soft bifurcation proposals are heavily discussed: BIP8 and Modern Softfork Activation…

BIP8 is expected to enable Taproot activation after a signaling process for miners. This proposal was slightly modified from BIP9, which claimed a 95 percent super-majority, resulting in an attack vector that eventually caused small miners to halt the whole process.

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Modern Softfork Activation is a much more complex and extended activation method. In addition to a 6-month discussion period after a 12-month signal period, a possible initiation period of the 24-month BIP8 type activation method was also experienced.

Therefore, there is no clear implementation time for Schnorr and Taproot at this point. Discussions on the integration of the update are held on IRC on the # taproot-activation channel.


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