Bitcoin Devs Release Long-Awaited Schnorr Paper for Scalability Gains

NEWS
Nikhilesh De
Jan 18, 2018 at 22:45 UTC  |  Updated  Feb 6, 2018 at 15:39 UTC

A new research paper focused on Schnorr multi-signatures and penned by several notable bitcoin developers has just been released.

Published on Thursday, the paper was penned by cryptographer Yannick Seurin and developers Gregory Maxwell, Andrew Poelstra and Pieter Wuille. It details how Schnorr multi-signatures can be applied to the bitcoin, and though there's no guarantee they will ultimately be utilized, this new release could mark an additional step in that direction.

Specifically, the Schnorr concept proposes bundling signatures into one small data entry, rather than having multiple signatures listed individually. This has the result of saving space on the blockchain, enabling it to process more signatures while increasing security, according to the paper.

Security is increased by enabling a multi-signature system, wherein at least two parties need to confirm a transaction for it to process. This limits or prevents malicious parties from launching a transaction on another user's account.

The paper's authors note:

"The size of the multi-signature in that case grows linearly with the number of signers. In order to be useful and practical, a multi-signature scheme should produce signatures whose size is (ideally) independent from the number of signers and close to the one of an ordinary signature scheme."

Schnorr signatures could provide additional benefits as well if implemented,  as previously reported by CoinDesk.

Bunching data with one signature can limit spam on the blockchain. In other words, rather than having many small blocks of data sent to the network, one single chunk is sent, which can be processed more quickly.

Similarly, bunching data from different sources can enhance privacy by making it more difficult to trace any single transaction back to its source.

Pattern image via Shutterstock

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