The Bitcoin network made history today as its most ambitious upgrade, Taproot, went live at block 709,632, 5:15 UTC on Sunday – November 14, 2021.
Taproot Upgrade is Live
The implementation is a milestone for Bitcoin, considering that Taproot is the first significant upgrade in the network since August 2017 after the Lightning Network and Segregated Witness (SegWit) upgrades.
While SegWit and the Lightning Network focus on making transactions faster and cheaper, Taproot brings a lot more than just improving scalability and reducing fees. As explained in a previous report, the latest upgrade aims to increase privacy and security for the protocol.
Taproot brings Schnorr Signatures to reduce some of the burdens on the network while enhancing simplicity, efficiency, and security. It creates a sort of master key to summarize a set of signatures in a single one. This makes it possible to perform multi-signature multi-input transactions (UTXI) a lot easier, faster, and cheaper.
Making Smart Contracts More Efficient
Additionally, Taproot aims to improve Bitcoin’s scripting language through the concept of Merkelized Abstract Syntax Tree (MAST). This opens the door for smart contract capabilities on the network, thus leading to even greater adoption.
“It (MAST) can help make smart contracts more efficient and private by only revealing the relevant parts of the contract when spending,” according to Taproot.watch, a dedicated website for the upgrade managed by Bitcoin developer Hampus Sjöberg.
Sjöberg believes that “Taproot is a 100 years soft fork” that “will, in the long-run, yield a more fungible and robust blockchain.”
90% Consensus For Taproot
Bitcoin is a decentralized protocol that requires an approval process because any network-wide upgrade can be deployed. As such, miners and mining pools used a Speedy Trial method to reach a consensus and coordinate the deployment of the Taproot.
The Speedy Trial involved miners signaling for the deployment in their mined block. To lock in the upgrade for activation, 90% of the blocks have to signal, which was achieved for Taproot in June, as reported by CryptoPotato.
With Taproot now live on the network, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for Bitcoin.