Bitcoin: Taproot soft fork has been successfully completed

Bitcoin: Taproot soft fork has been successfully completed
Bitcoin: Taproot soft fork has been successfully completed

In the night between 13 and 14 November 2021, the soft fork took place and activated it definitively the Taproot update on the Bitcoin blockchain.

Bitcoin Taproot, successful soft fork

Block 709.632 was successfully mined at 5:15 UTC on November 14, and is in effect the first block mined with the new updated protocol.

The Bitcoin protocol is very difficult to update, because its control is very decentralized, so much so that to get Taproot approved it was necessary that 90% of the blocks signaled the consent to the update.

In fact the previous update, the one he introduced SegWit, dates back to more than four years ago, making it very clear how infrequently it is possible to update the Bitcoin protocol.

The Taproot update proposal was even launched in May two years ago, and only in May of this year did it obtain definitive approval to then be definitively applied to the Bitcoin protocol in November.

Bitcoin: what changes with Taproot?

Yesterday’s update was activated thanks to a soft-fork, that is to say a backward compatible protocol update. Therefore, those wishing to continue using the old protocol can do so freely, even if they run the real risk of not being able to understand some transactions that use the new parts of the new protocol.

The update actually introduced two significant new features, because in addition to Taproot they have been Schnorr signatures were also introduced.

In particular, Taproot allows you to expand the functionality and the flexibility of smart contracts on the Bitcoin blockchain (called in this case script). But probably the most interesting thing in the short term is that it improves the privacy of BTC users, making complex smart contracts indistinguishable from common transactions.

Taproot opens up new scenarios for the Bitcoin protocol

Le firme Schnorr

To work at its best, Taproot also needs Schnorr signatures, also introduced with yesterday’s update.

The latter allow to optimize the weight in bits occupied by the signatures of the transactions within the blocks. They also allow you to compress the signatures of all participants in a transaction into a single signature, also significantly increasing the level of privacy.

The major change in the short term is therefore a significant increase in the privacy level of the Bitcoin blockchain, which now allowsi mask the signatures of the senders of a transaction precisely using the smart contracts made possible by Taproot the firm Schnorr.

The development of the Bitcoin network

But this update will also very likely bring about long-term changes, as it will allow developers to create and use more complex smart contracts even on the Bitcoin blockchain.

Together with the Lightning Network, this opens a new phase of development on the Bitcoin protocol which opens the door to many possible innovations in the coming months or years.

The real potential of this update may not reveal itself in the short term, but only in the medium or long term, or when developers will be able to make the most of the new opportunities made possible by Taproot and Schnorr signatures.

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