What is Bitcoin Taproot

educationals   16 Jun, 2021   news.eBitcoinics.com   Views: 93

After the birth of Bitcoin's Segwit, Taproot became one of the most anticipated technological upgrades to the bitcoin network. This goal is to change the way Bitcoin's scripts operate in order to improve scalability, privacy, and security.

What is Taproot?

Taproot is a soft fork that improves Bitcoin’s scripts to increase privacy and improve upon other factors related to complex transactions. Transactions on the Bitcoin network can use various features that make them more complex, including timelock releases, multisignature requirements, and others.
Without Taproot, anyone can detect transactions that use those complex functionalities, which require the creation of multiple transactions. However, the Taproot upgrade will make it possible to "cloak" all the moving parts of a Bitcoin transaction that includes these features. So even if the transactions adopt those features, they will look like a single transaction. This is a big win for Bitcoin privacy advocates.

In fact, Taproot makes it possible to hide the fact that a Bitcoin script ran at all. For example, spending Bitcoin using Taproot could make a transaction in a Lightning Network channel, a peer-to-peer transaction, or a sophisticated smart contract become indistinguishable. Anyone monitoring one of these transactions would see nothing but a peer-to-peer transaction. It's worth noting, though, that this doesn't change the fact that the wallets of the initial sender and final recipient will be exposed.

The Taproot proposal was first unveiled by Bitcoin Core developer Greg Maxwell in January 2018. As of October 2020, Taproot has been merged to the Bitcoin Core library after a pull request created by Pieter Wuille. For the upgrade to be fully deployed, node operators must adopt Taproot’s new consensus rules. Depending on how this unfolds, the activation could take months.

Taproot is expected to be implemented along with another upgrade called Schnorr signatures. This not only makes Taproot's implementation possible but also enables a much-anticipated feature called signature aggregation.

How will Taproot benefit Bitcoin?

As we’ve already discussed, Taproot will bring major improvements to Bitcoin’s privacy. When combined with Schnorr signatures, Taproot may also boost efficiency when performing transactions. Besides enhanced privacy, other potential benefits include:

  • Reduced amount of data to be transferred and stored on the blockchain.
  • More transactions per block (higher TPS rate).
  • Lower transaction fees.
Another benefit to Taproot is the fact that signatures will no longer be malleable, which is a known security risk in the Bitcoin network. Simply put, signature malleability means that it’s technically possible to alter the signature of a transaction before it gets confirmed. By doing this, the attack would make it appear as if the transaction never happened. This leaves Bitcoin exposed to the infamous double-spending problem, which could ruin the integrity of the distributed ledger.

Closing thoughts

Taproot is a highly anticipated and widely supported upgrade to Bitcoin. If it gets implemented along with Schnorr signatures, we will see significant improvements in terms of privacy, scalability, security, and more. These upgrades can also generate more interest around the Lightning Network and encourage multisig to be more of an industry standard.

Regardless of your involvement in the Bitcoin community, the added benefits of improved privacy, efficiency, and security will likely impact your experience using Bitcoin.

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