The Bitcoin (BTC) network successfully activated the Taproot soft fork, which signifies the first major upgrade for Bitcoin since August 2017, when the Lightning Network and Segregated Witness were launched.
Bitcoin Network Activates the Taproot soft fork
Between blocks 709,488 and 709,632, the Bitcoin (BTC) network successfully implemented the Taproot soft fork, according to a 90 percent lock-in consensus from miners and mining pools.
The Taproot patch intends to increase the Bitcoin network’s scripting capabilities and privacy. The soft fork does this by introducing the Merkelized Abstract Syntax Tree idea (MAST).
“[MAST] can help make smart contracts more efficient and private by only revealing the relevant parts of the contract when spending.”
Sjöberg told Cointelegraph that Taproot activation demonstrates that Bitcoin can do network upgrades again, which is critical for the Bitcoin network’s long-term viability. “That, I believe, is the biggest victory,” he continued.
Sjöberg, who is also the creator of the Blixt Wallet Bitcoin Lightning wallet, feels that the Taproot upgrade enables the exploration of off-chain capabilities without putting undue strain on the Bitcoin network’s nodes.
‘Taproot Is a 100 Years Softwork’- Hampus Sjöberg
Taproot is a 100 years softfork.
Merging every contract and use-case under a single transaction type “Pay to Taproot” will in the long-run yield a more fungible and robust blockchain.
This is how you do it.
This is how you design a blockchain.— Hampus Sjöberg ⚡ (@hampus_s) June 3, 2021
Sjöberg also feels that MAST can help improve the privacy of older Lightning Network implementations “if the Lightning implementations chose to incorporate Taproot.”
At the LN Summit 2021 in Zurich, Switzerland, the developers of the various Lightning Network node implementations met just a few weeks ago to examine prospective upgrade paths:
“One of the things that were discussed in the meeting was whether it’s best to upgrade Lightning in small iterations or do it as one big package.”
Furthermore, Sjöberg highlighted how, with Taproot for the Lightning Network, payment channels may be made indistinguishable from conventional transactions in typical circumstances:
“It’s not possible to tell if a Taproot transaction is just a normal payment or if it belongs to a Lightning channel. This is important for the fungibility and thus the censorship resistance of Bitcoin.”
Speedy Trial, a soft fork deployment strategy that requires 90 percent of miners to notify the upgrade’s deployment, is credited with Taproot’s successful activation. “The signaling mechanism works in periods of 2016 blocks,” Sjöberg explains, “which means that during a 2016 block period, 90 percent, or 1815, of the 2016 blocks must signal for readiness.”
Hampus Sjöberg Advice to Other Bitcoin Developers
In June 2021, Bitcoin miners obtained a 90% consensus for the first time, and Sjöberg announced it on Twitter:
The Taproot upgrade does, however, signal the end of Speedy Trial deployments, and future Bitcoin network improvements will necessitate the use of new soft fork deployment mechanisms.
“Taproot offers up a whole new universe of possibilities, but the first thing I’d like to see is a “MuSig 2″ transaction,” says the author. Sjöberg offered the following advice to other Bitcoin developers:
“While we should not take anything for granted in Bitcoin, I personally would like to eventually see “Cross-Input Signature Aggregation” as a future soft fork for Bitcoin.”
The Bitcoin network has undergone multiple community-driven hard and soft forks in its nearly 13-year history. While the Taproot update has yet to demonstrate its benefits in the long run, the Lightning Network continues to grow.
Since January 2021, the Lightning Network has seen a 160 percent increase in the number of nodes and a 170 percent increase in the number of channels, according to data released on Sept. 28.
Prior to the Taproot soft fork, Bitcoin’s network capacity was at an all-time high of 3,220 BTC, approximately worth $210 million, on Nov. 11.