Bitcoin’s long-awaited Taproot update is one step closer to fruition. 

  • The codebase for the smart-contract upgrade to Bitcoin’s blockchain has been merged into the Bitcoin Core library. This comes about a month after Pieter Wuille created a pull request to merge the feature.
  • Now that Taproot’s code has been included in Bitcoin Core’s coding library, the upgrade is only waiting to be deployed at this point. For the new upgrade to activate network-wide, node operators must adopt Taproot's new ruleset in place of the older code's consensus rules.
  • This could take weeks or months, depending on how the review process unfolds for the two leading implementation proposals.
  • One of these deployment triggers, BIP 8, would create a “signaling” period to allow full and mining nodes to upgrade; after this period is over, an automatic activation would take place for those who haven’t upgraded.
  • The other method, Matt Corallo's modern soft-fork activation, is somewhat similar in that it includes a year-long signaling period but it also includes a six-month review process after activation (as well as the added contingency of a two-year activation method not unlike BIP 8 if the first method fails).
  • In the works since Gregory Maxwell proposed Taproot in the first month of 2018, the upgrade is perhaps the most anticipated soft-fork in Bitcoin since Segwit was activated in 2016.
  • Taproot would implement Schnorr signatures into Bitcoin, a cryptographic technique for signing transactions that would enable Bitcoin with more flexible (and private) smart contracts.
  • Many developers anticipate Taproot will be much less controversial than Segwit and thus will activate faster, though an exact timeline for deployment is not solidified.

Read more about Taproot and Schnorr signatures here: Bitcoin’s Future: Exactly How a Coming Upgrade Could Improve Privacy and Scaling

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