Sally Ho's Technical Analysis 22 September 2019

12m
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Renowned Dev Crafts Two Improvement Proposals For Bitcoin Privacy

Bitcoin transactions may soon be barred from the general public if the Bitcoin Improvement Proposals by Pieter Wuille, a renowned bitcoin developer, are implemented. The goal is a revamp on Bitcoin privacy protocols.

In the BIP, Wuille flaunts the idea of Taproot, an alteration of Bitcoin’s code to boost its privacy. The code may be implemented through a soft fork together with other upgrades such as Schnorr, which developers have been considering to fix Bitcoin’s scalability issues with Taproot adding a layer of privacy.

Bitcoin has been plagued by scalability concerns since its launch. However, over the years, developers have suggested different upgrades to the platform. With Wuille’s BIPs, the other upgrades which included the implementation of Schnorr signatures and refining the smart contracts system can be bundled together during an update.

The possibility of an upgrade on the Bitcoin platform is starting to take shape considering that the BIP has already been published on Github for other developers to have a look. This will stir a conversation within the Bitcoin community which will see upgrades implemented on the Bitcoin blockchain.

If the upgrade happens, it will run smoothly unlike the last soft fork that saw the introduction of SegWit on the Bitcoin blockchain. This will be due to the support the proposed changes are attracting from those that were against the last soft fork.

According to Wuille:

“The BIP primarily describes the timing and methodology to be used for this next upgrade and will include the Taproot and Schnorr upgrades to be rolled out while not adding any new strong security assumptions and not combining into the proposal any functionality which could be simply implemented independently.”

Unfortunately, the Bitcoin developer noted that not all previous improvement proposals would be implemented.

For example, the idea of SIGHASH_NOINPUT is being worked on to be implemented as a standalone upgrade. In his first BIP, Wuille presents a new version of Segregated Witnesses that uses Merkle branches, Schnorr signatures, and Taproot to define the spending rules. The second BIP dwells on the “semantics of the initial scripting system.”

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