Bitcoin Developer Peter Wuille Reveals Two Bitcoin Improvement Proposals: Taproot and Schnorr
One of the most bitcoin developers, and co-founder of Blockstream, Pieter Wuille recently unveiled two Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIP) which might be the next possible upgrade for the top crypto. The two proposals are distinct yet interconnected, which presents more features on a possible soft fork which combines Schnorr signatures, Taproot and Tapscript.
— NVK (@nvk) May 6, 2019
These technologies have been examined in the ecosystem for a while now, however, this is the first attempt to create a comprehensive way to. To encourage peer review, these contents are available on Wuille’s GitHub repository.
First proposed by Bitcoin Core contributor and former Blockstream CTO Gregory Maxwell, Taproot would expand on Bitcoin’s smart contract flexibility, while offering more privacy in doing so. Even the most complex smart contracts would, on the blockchain, typically be indistinguishable from regular transactions.
MAST (Merkelized Abstract Syntax Tree) is a proposed solution that uses Merkle trees (a decades-old, compact data structure invented by cryptographer Ralph Merkle) to work around these two downsides. In short, all the different conditions under which the funds can be spent are individually hashed (as opposed to combined into a single hash) and included in a Merkle tree, which ultimately produces a single hash: the Merkle root.
In the memo, Wullie writes:
“Taproot’s advantages become apparent under the assumption that most applications involve outputs that could be spent by all parties agreeing. That’s where Schnorr signatures come in, as they permit key aggregation: a public key can be constructed from multiple participant public keys, and which requires cooperation between all participants to sign for. Such multi-party public keys and signatures are indistinguishable from their single-party equivalents. This means that under this Taproot assumption, the all-parties-agree case can be handled using the key-based spending path, which is both private and efficient using Taproot. This can be generalized to arbitrary M-of-N policies, as Schnorr signatures support threshold signing, at the cost of more complex setup protocols”
If his proposal will go through or not will depend on the peer review and public scrutiny, but this certainly looks like the future of Bitcoin. Bitcoin is making such progress despite bad user experience and technological issues. Once that is fixed, it will draw a lot of heads towards it.