Taproot Has Been Merged Into Bitcoin Core: Here's What That Means

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

AccessTimeIconOct 15, 2020 at 2:48 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:10 a.m. UTC

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.

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