On Dec. 30, Bitcoin educator and developer Jimmy Song made a prediction for 2020, “Taproot will be activated without much controversy.”
And we have already started seeing steps taken towards this development. Bitcoin Core contributor Pieter Wuille shard with the community that the Taproot update, that will be the biggest upgrade since much-debated Segregated Witness (SegWit) in 2017, has been added to the GitHub as Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) 340, 341, and 342.
Wuille shard on Twitter that the assignment for BIP numbers doesn’t mean that it is any kind of a “stamp of approval,” rather “it just means the process was followed (which includes some amount of public discussion).”
In this upgrade, the authors however, waited for numbers until the proposal and write-ups were “fairly mature.” Also, there might not be any semantic changes made to the proposal anymore except for significant issues that would be found in the review process.
“These documents are our final proposal for integrating Schnorr and Taproot into Bitcoin. Whether it gets accepted by the ecosystem, and how, is up to you,” said Wuille.
BIPs Under Review
Given that Bitcoin is not controlled by any centralized authority, the community members would make the decision. As such, it is required that everyone agrees for the major upgrade to be implemented.
“Schnorr/Taproot is not only a significant upgrade for Bitcoin but also an important data point for the ongoing study of Bitcoin’s governance model,” pointed out Jake Chervinky, General Counsel at Compound Finance.
In November last year, about 200 developers were reviewing these proposals. Xapo bitcoin core contributor Anthony Towns conducted a review “experiment” group to get as many as possible developers to review the changes.
“This is a way to make sure more people understand the proposal as early as possible,” Towns said at that time.
Bringing Privacy and Scalability to Bitcoin
What might be the biggest upgrade to date, Schnorr/Taproot is focused on bringing privacy and scalability to the world’s leading network.
A cryptographic signature scheme, Schnorr will be focused on proving the ownership of Bitcoin. It combines the signatures of all the transaction inputs in a single one by eliminating the need for a multi-signature scheme. Schnorr signatures further obscured any information about the inputs and because of this only the owners of the private keys can unlock scripts.
Also, these signatures are not easily verifiable and offer better flexibility, accuracy, and robustness than the traditional ECDSA signature.
Using Schnorr, Taproot strengthens the chain’s privacy by making all of the bitcoin transactions look the same on the blockchain. It also adds smart contract capabilities on the bitcoin network, further offering more privacy.
Schnorr/Taproot are moving forward in the progress, with MAST an acronym for Merkelized Abstract Syntax Trees, an amalgamation of Merkle trees and Abstract Syntax Trees algorithms that will facilitate the reduction in data size within a block to be implemented on Bitcoin in the future.