Bitcoin (BTC) Schnorr Signatures Upgrade Biggest Change Since SegWit
Is Schnorr Coming? The Biggest Change to Bitcoin Since Segregated Witness
It seems that Schnorr is arriving at the Bitcoin network. Schnorr is a new bitcoin upgrade that seems to be on its last steps according to the Bitcoin developer Pieter Wuille, which unveiled a draft with technical information about it. The main intention behind the improvement proposal is to improve scalability and privacy.
Schnorr will be the biggest code change since Segregated Witness (SegWit) that helped the network scale, reduce transaction fees and processing times. Adding support for Schnorr means that users will have a new way to generate cryptographic-related keys needed so as to store and send Bitcoin.
This implementation will be tackling privacy and scalability issues, which are two of the most important problems that developers and the community outline.
Wuille commented on the topic saying that ‘it is a building block for a variety of improvements.” At the same time, he said that there are some improvements that haven’t gotten a lot of attention yet. As it happened with SegWit, is up to the users whether they want to adopt it or not.
The improvement has been co-authored by Bitcoin developers including Johnson Lau and Gregory Maxwell.
The BIP draft has been designed explaining how to avoid confusion at the time of implementing the Schnorr signature code. It proposes some standards that would help the community implement the improvement.
It is important to mention that Schnorr will have a thing in common with the old signature scheme that it wants to crowd out. If the plan is finally accepted, it will be using the same mathematical ‘curve’ implemented by ECDSA to produce the ‘secp256k1’ keys. Unlike ECDSA, Schnorr’s security can be proved using mathematics.
At the moment, it is obvious when a user sends a multi-sig transaction. These are advanced types of transactions that require more than one person to sign a transaction before sending it. Schnorr, for example, will allow these transactions to look in a different way, protecting the privacy of those sending or receiving funds through multi-sig wallets.
Wuille commented about the Bitcoin improvement known as Taproot proposed at the beginning of the year:
“Due to the wealth of new discoveries lately I believe these technologies should be developed in a step-by-step basis, and my focus for a first step is just Schnorr and Taproot.”
What About Detractors?
At the moment, developers are working on how to deploy the new BIP, and the topic is actively discussed in the community.
“Like any consensus change, it will be a long process involving fully fleshing out a draft for integration, publishing it, gathering comments from the technical community and ecosystem, writing implementations of both consensus rules and integration in wallet software, proposing a deployment plan, and if all goes well, get it activated,” commented Wuille.
Additionally, in the email sent where he introduced the BIP, he explained that if it is accepted by the bitcoin community, they will be working on more production-ready implementations and tests.
Schnorr is a very important change and upgrade on Bitcoin. Why? Because it affects the most important rules in the network and is being debated by a diverse group of contributors from all over the world.
Indeed, those opposed to SegWit created their own blockchain network that split off from Bitcoin, which is known today as Bitcoin Cash (BCH). The scalability issues in BCH have been addressed by increasing the size of the blocks.
But it seems that there are less detractors than in the past upgrade with Segregated Witness. Riccardo Casatta, an important developer said that it looks for now that there are less detractors than there was for SegWit.
We currently need to wait some time to see the Schnorr Bitcoin Improvement Proposal implemented in the network and space.