Taproot soft fork introduces the concept of Merkelized Abstract Syntax Tree (MAST) to enhance the scripting capabilities and privateness of the Bitcoin network.
The Bitcoin (BTC) network efficiently activated the Taproot soft fork following a 90% lock-in consensus from miners and mining pools between blocks 709,488 and 709,632. The milestone signifies the primary major upgrade for Bitcoin since August 2017, which noticed the launch of Bitcoin’s leading layer-two solution, the Lightning Network and Segregated Witness (SegWit).
The Taproot soft fork upgrade aims to improve the scripting capabilities and privateness of the Bitcoin network. To do that, the soft fork introduces the idea of the Merkelized Summary Syntax Tree (MAST). According to a Taproot-dedicated website run by prominent Bitcoin developer Hampus Sjöberg:
“MAST can help make smart contracts more efficient and private by only revealing the related parts of the contract when spending.”
Talking to Sjöberg pointed out that Taproot activation shows that Bitcoin can do network upgrades again, which is extraordinarily vital for the longevity of the Bitcoin community. “I feel that’s the best win,” he added.
Sjöberg, who can be a developer of a Bitcoin Lightning wallet Blixt Wallet, believes that the Taproot upgrade permits exploring off-chain capabilities, as to not put an excessive amount of burden on the Bitcoin nodes of the network.
As well as, Sjöberg believes that MAST also can assist improve the privacy of the older Lightning Network “if the Lightning implementations select to undertake Taproot.” The builders of the assorted Lightning Network node implementations met in Zurich, Switzerland just some weeks in the past at the LN Summit 2021 to debate possible upgrade paths:
“One of the issues that have been mentioned in the assembly was whether it is best to upgrade Lightning in small iterations or do it as one big package.”
Furthermore, Sjöberg defined how fee channels below regular circumstances can be made indistinguishable from regular transactions using Taproot for the Lightning Network:
“It is not potential to inform if a Taproot transaction is just a normal payment or if it belongs to a Lightning channel. That is vital for the fungibility and thus the censorship resistance of Bitcoin.”
Taproot’s successful activation is attributed to Speedy Trial, a soft fork deployment method that requires 90% of the miners to sign the deployment of the upgrade. As defined by Sjöberg, “the signaling method works in durations of 2016 blocks, which means that inside a 2016 block period, 90%, or 1815 of the 2016 blocks need to sign for readiness.”
Again in June 2021, the Bitcoin miners achieved a 90% consensus for the primary time and Sjöberg tweeted the announcement.
Nonetheless, the Taproot upgrade additionally marks the end of Speedy Trial deployments and future upgrades to the Bitcoin network would require provision for new soft fork deployment strategies. “Taproot opens a world of prospects, however the first thing I personally wish to see is a “MuSig 2″ transaction.” Sharing advice for fellow Bitcoin developers, Sjöberg mentioned:
“Whereas we should not take something for granted in Bitcoin, I personally wish to eventually see “Cross-Input Signature Aggregation” as a future soft fork for Bitcoin.”
In Bitcoin’s near 13 years of existence, the Bitcoin network has undergone quite a few community-driven hard and soft forks. Whereas the Taproot soft fork upgrade is yet to show its value in time to return, the Lightning Network continues to realize new heights.
On Sept. 28, the Lightning Network witnessed a 160% increase within the number of nodes in the span of 12 months along with seeing a bounce of 170% within the number of channels since January 2021.
As of Nov. 11, Bitcoin’s network capacity previous to Taproot soft fork was at an all-time high of 3,220 BTC, almost worth $210 million.