Taproot, the most significant improvement to Bitcoin’s protocol in years, now has enough mining support for an upgrade.
Speedy Trial is the process by which the Bitcoin community of developers and stakeholders determine whether or not there is enough support from the miners to go ahead with the Taproot soft fork. Speedy Trial was created by David Harding and Russell O’Connor as a solution for the Bitcoin community’s Taproot upgrade. The Bitcoin community adopted and approved Speedy Trial as its voting consensus for the taproot upgrade so that not one person or entity can singlehandedly make changes to the code.
Speedy Trial involves a three-month activation window, during which time the network requires a certain threshold of miners to signal for the upgrade; if this threshold is reached, then Taproot is “locked-in” and activates in November of this year. If it fails, then Taproot does not activate.
Taproot is Bitcoin’s most anticipated upgrade since Segregated Witness (SegWit) in 2017. Whereas the main focus of SegWit was scaling the Bitcoin protocol, Taproot is focused on giving Bitcoin a new signature scheme known as Schnorr signatures. This upgrade to the Bitcoin code opens up new possibilities for privacy, multisignature wallets, security and scaling.
According to the parameters set forward by “Speedy Trial,” if at least 90% of the blocks mined in any of the designated 2-week difficulty periods “signal” their support for the upgrade, then the activation process can begin. To be more precise if 1,815 out of 2,016 blocks mined within a period have included a little piece of encoded information that indicates that the miner who mined that block is in favour of the upgrade, the Taproot gets approved.
Now that the Taproot soft fork upgrade has general approval from the community, the next phase of activation is a 5-month waiting period. During this time, miners and nodes will have ample opportunity to update their software to Bitcoin Core 0.21.1, the newest version of Bitcoin Core that contains activation logic for the Taproot soft fork and some other improvements. Then in November, when Bitcoin reaches a specified “block height” of 709,632, the upgrade will activate.
What this means
The Bitcoin ecosystem is getting an upgrade and it will be up to the developers in the ecosystem to make use of the tools that the Taproot upgrade brings to the table.
Schnorr signatures, which will replace Bitcoin’s current elliptic curve digital signature algorithm (ECDSA), will bring to the table an added benefit of being “linear,” a combination that will boost Bitcoin’s transaction privacy and allow for more lightweight and complex “smart contracts” which is an encoded contract with self-executing rules like the Ethereum network.
It is expected that in the long run, Taproot’s upgrade will translate to a better user experience for Bitcoiners in terms of overall performance, as well as privacy improvements to multisignature technology, privacy software and even scaling tech like the Lightning Network.
Bitcoin is currently trading at $35,200, down 0.17% for the day as of the time of writing this report.