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Bitcoin Taproot Upgrade Goes Live, What It Brings to Bitcoin?

Bitcoin Taproot upgrade has gone live, bringing a whole new suite of features to the Bitcoin blockchain, including privacy, scalability, smart contract functionality, and security on the network.

According to the reports, Taproot went live on the blockchain at 5:15 UTC on Sunday, November 14, at block number 709,632. The Taproot upgrade aims to improve the scripting capabilities and privacy of the Bitcoin network.

Thanks to this ugrade, complex applications can now be built on the Bitcoin Blockchain.

As Crypto Economy reported, Taproot was locked in June 2021 for activation in November after a Speedy Trial conclusion that required 90% of blocks mined within any of the six Bitcoin mining difficulty periods (were to end on August 11) to signal support for the upgrade. During the second difficulty period of the trial, the required mandate was achieved and Taproot was locked for activation.

In the five leading up to the activation of this upgrade, miners and nodes were given the opportunity to update their software to Bitcoin Core 0.21.1, the newest version of Bitcoin Core that contains activation logic for the Taproot. Now the Taproot is live.

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What is Taproot?

As Crypto Economy explained earlier, Taproot is a soft fork proposed for Bitcoin blockchain to improve Bitcoin’s scripts to increase privacy and improve upon other factors related to complex transactions.

Taproot was first proposed in 2018 by Gregory Maxwell, a Bitcoin Core (BTC) contributor, and former chief technology officer at Blockstream.

The milestone signifies the first major upgrade for Bitcoin since August 2017, which enabled the launch of Lightning Network and Segregated Witness (SegWit). At the core of Taproot, it is the implementation of the Schnorr signature scheme into Bitcoin code.

The Schnorr Signatures, in combination with Merkelized Abstract Syntax Trees (MAST), will enhance the overall usability of the Bitcoin network by making transactions cheaper, faster, and easier to deploy but also eventually allow for the deployment of smart contracts, and improved privacy.

This Schnorr Signature scheme will make complex smart contracts-like transactions cheaper and more data-efficient by making them look the same as regular transactions on the blockchain.

The Taproot update will improve the privacy of the Lightning Network by modifying how Lightning Network nodes “route” transactions.

Furthermore, Taproot will also make future Bitcoin upgrades easier by reforming Bitcoin’s scripting language. To do this, the upgrade, in a sense, brings a different programming language, Tapscript, an upgrade on the primitive language currently available on the Bitcoin ecosystem.

The activation of Taproot means the new features are now available to developers. But users won’t be able to send or receive the new type of transaction until the Bitcoin wallet they use, supports it. Wallet developers will need to write new code for their wallets to make such transactions possible, and much of them hasn’t done this yet.

Atiq Ur Rehman
Electronics Engineer with a passion to write about Disrupting Technologies like Blockchain. He joined Crypto-Economy in July 2019.
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