The Bitcoin network welcomes Taproot soft fork upgrade

The Bitcoin network (BTC) successfully activated the Taproot soft fork after a 90% locked consensus from miners and mining basins between blocks 709,488 and 709,632. The milestone means the first major upgrade for Bitcoin since August 2017, which saw the launch of Bitcoin’s leading layer-to-solution, Lightning Network and Segregated Witness (SegWit).

The Taproot upgrade aims to improve the scripting features and privacy of the Bitcoin network. To do this, the soft fork introduces the Merkelized Abstract Syntax Tree (MAST) concept. According to a Taproot-dedicated website run by a prominent Bitcoin developer Hampus Sjöberg:

“[MAST] can help make smart contracts more efficient and private by only revealing the relevant parts of the contract when they use expenses. “

In a conversation with Cointelegraph, Sjöberg pointed out that Taproot activation shows that Bitcoin can make network upgrades again, which is extremely important for the life of the Bitcoin network. “I think it̵[ads1]7;s the biggest win,” he added.

Sjöberg, who is also the developer of a Bitcoin Lightning wallet Blixt Wallet, believes that the Taproot upgrade allows you to explore functions outside the chain, so as not to place too much burden on the Bitcoin nodes in the network.

In addition, Sjöberg believes that MAST can also help improve the privacy of the older Lightning Network “if the Lightning implementations choose to use Taproot.” The developers of the various Lightning Network node implementations met in Zurich, Switzerland just a few weeks ago at the LN Summit 2021 to discuss possible upgrade paths:

“One of the things that was discussed at the meeting was whether it is best to upgrade Lightning in small iterations or do it as a large package.”

Sjöberg also explained how payment channels under normal circumstances cannot be separated from normal transactions by using Taproot for Lightning Network:

“It’s not possible to tell if a Taproot transaction is just a regular payment or if it belongs to a Lightning channel. This is important for the fungibility and thus the censorship resistance of Bitcoin.

Taproot’s successful activation is attributed to the Speedy Trial, a soft fork distribution method that requires 90% of miners to signal the distribution of the upgrade. As explained by Sjöberg, “the signaling method works during periods of 2016 blocks, which means that within a 2016 block period, 90% or 1815 of the 2016 blocks must signal for emergency preparedness.”

Back in June 2021, Bitcoin miners reached a 90% consensus for the first time, and Sjöberg tweeted the announcement:

However, the taproot upgrade also marks the end of Speedy Trial distributions, and future upgrades to the Bitcoin network will require adaptation to new soft fork distribution methods. “Taproot opens up a world of possibilities, but the first thing I personally want to see is a ‘MuSig 2’ transaction. Shares advice for other Bitcoin developers,” said Sjöberg:

Although we should not take anything for granted in Bitcoin, I personally would like to see “Cross-Input Signature Aggregation” as a future soft fork for Bitcoin.

Related: Bitcoin Lightning nodes and channels hit record highs

During Bitcoin’s nearly 13 years of existence, the Bitcoin network has undergone a series of community-driven hard and soft forks. While the Taproot upgrade has not yet proven its worth in the time to come, Lightning Network continues to reach new heights.

On September 28, Lightning Network witnessed a 160% increase in the number of nodes over the course of 12 months, in addition to a jump of 170% in the number of channels since January 2021.

As of November 11, Bitcoin’s network capacity before Taproot soft fork was at an all-time high of 3220 BTC, almost worth $ 210 million.