The 4-year wait is finally over! Bitcoin’s taproot upgrade will drop in three days! This is the first upgrade in four years that the crypto code will undergo. The first update, the SegWit update, was back in 2017.
According to a tracker developed by blockchain developer Hampus Sjoberg, taproot.watch, the taproot upgrade is scheduled to be in three days. Back in June, 90% of the BTC miners reached a consensus to push the proposal formalizing the upgrade.
The Bitcoin taproot upgrade is similar to Ethereum’s August London Hard Fork. This means that there will be a change in the code of Bitcoin’s underlying protocol. It is essential to note that taproot is not a single update but a combination of three different Bitcoin improvement protocols.
These Bitcoin Improvement Protocols (BIPs) are BIP 340, 341, and 342. A Bitcoin Improvement Protocol refers to a formalized system of improving the protocol. The community carries out this improving system with consensus from the miners.
What Does the Taproot Upgrade Mean for Bitcoin?
The Bitcoin Taproot upgrade will mean unlocking the potential for smart contracts on its blockchain technology. Smart contracts will reduce the need for intermediaries even in complex transactions. This will, in turn, reduce BTC’s transaction fees which will result in more overall adoption.
The token’s upgrade will also result in greater efficiency and privacy in Bitcoin transactions. The upgrade will makeover BTC’s digital signatures, which are equivalent to fingerprints. With every transaction people make, they leave these signatures behind.
Furthermore, the upgrade will mean switching Bitcoin’s digital signatures from the Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) to Schnorr Signatures Algorithm (SSA). The current algorithm is created from a private key. The key controls a BTC wallet, ensuring that the digital token can only be spent by its rightful owner.
The Schnorr signatures make multi-signature transactions unreadable. Consequentially, BTC holders’ keys won’t have as much exposure to the blockchain. This will make simple transactions inseparable from transactions that are more complex and comprising of multiple signatures.
Founder and managing partner at BTC-focused venture, Stillmark, Alyse Killeen, shared that Taproot opens up opportunities for entrepreneurs that want to “expand Bitcoin’s utility.”
Why Has the Wait Been so Long?
Although miners voted for the update earlier in the year, the rolling out was delayed due to testing.
An analyst at Quantum Economics, Jason Deane, also shared that upgrades have the remote chance of allowing a bug into the system. These bugs can “effectively wipe out a whole cryptocurrency system.” For this reason, upgrade processes have to be keenly vetted, tested, and retested before being rolled out.
One can understand the carefulness with the upgrade process, this time after Bitcoin’s botched upgrade in 2013. The disastrous migration resulted in BTC temporarily splitting in half.
BTC is currently trading at $65,050.84, a 5.02% drop within 24 hours. At the time of writing, according to CoinMarketCap, the token has a market cap of $2.85 trillion. The peer-to-peer crypto coin also has a 24-hour trading volume of $46.814 billion.