Bitcoin’s Taproot update is among the most important for the protocol in years. It has now taken a huge step towards activation.
Taproot has met the requirements for the activation process. It has gained the support of 90% of qualified blocks mined in the last two weeks.
Overall, 1,846 of the total 2,016 blocks have signaled in favor of the upgrade during the second difficulty period. This support by the mining community is a massive step forward in the road to activation. The update was first proposed in 2019.
It will enhance Bitcoin’s smart contracts by lowering data and transaction costs. Privacy will also be expanded by making complex contracts indistinguishable from any standard bitcoin transaction.
The official announcement states that:
“If activated, these improvements will allow users of single-signature scripts, multi-signature scripts, and complex contracts to all use identical-appearing commitments that enhance their privacy and the fungibility of all bitcoins.”
The update will, in essence, combine the Schnorr signature scheme with the Merklized Alternative Script Tree (MAST). In addition, the collaboration will bring about a new scripting language named Tapscript.
What comes next
Now that the Taproot updates have been given the green light by miners and are “locked in,” the next step will be a bit of a wait.
Officially, November has been the announced release date, so right now, the bitcoin world has about five months to cool its heels.
This will also provide time to update software to the newest release of Bitcoin Core, which comes with activation logic for the soft fork.
When bitcoin reaches block 709,632, Taproot will officially activate. That is expected to happen in mid-November.
When activation happens, all updated nodes and devices will make transactions using the updated protocol.
After that, the future really depends on the developers and how they decide to best make use of the new features.
No matter what they choose to focus on, Taproot’s improvements will undoubtedly mean a better overall experience for bitcoin users.