Bitcoin Makes Headway Implementing Smart Contracts, 'Most Complicated' Part of Upgrade Complete
Bitcoin core developers are getting close to implementing smart contracts on the Bitcoin protocol as the team overcomes the biggest hurdle in the Schnorr/Taproot upgrade.
- Bitcoin developers successfully merged Schnorr’s improvement proposal BIP-340 with Bitcoin’s master library
- Schnorr/Taproot soft fork is the next big update to Bitcoin after SegWit since August 2017
- The update will be backwards compatible and usage will depend on demand from miners and users
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Bitcoin coding expert Pieter Wuille has successfully merged support for Schnorr signatures to BTC. The Taproot merger and the soft fork update are the final steps for smart contract implementation on Bitcoin.
The Hardest Part of the Upgrade Is Done
The merger of the pull request for Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 340 (BIP-340) in the protocol’s master library marks an important milestone for the core development team.
secp256k1 now has an experimental module for Schnorr signatures (BIP-340). Pull request #558 by @n1ckler has just been merged after 558+1 comments by many many reviewers. 🎉
— Tim Ruffing (@real_or_random) September 11, 2020
Leading Bitcoin developer Nicolas Dorier describes it as the “most complicated” part of the process.
“With that behind us, I expect the rest of the Taproot will follow smoothly,” he said in a correspondence with Crypto Briefing.
Dorier has already developed a simple smart contract using BIP-340, betting 1 BTC on the outcome of the U.S. presidential elections with Chirs Stewart. Smart contract functionality would mean that Bitcoin would have some of the same capabilities as other blockchains like Ethereum, EOS, and TRON.
What Does Schnorr/Taproot Bring to Bitcoin?
The Schnorr/Taproot soft fork will expand BTC’s functionality immensely: increased privacy, scaling, multi-sig applications, and even better transaction speed are all made possible by the upgrade.
“What Segwit is to lightning network (LN) compares with what schnorr/taproot is to multi-sig applications,” said Bitcoin dev Sanket in an interview with Crypto Briefing.
According to Sanket, the next step in the upgrade is the Taproot pull request merger, followed by the soft fork. The eventual decision will be left to miners and network demand, who may choose to run Schnorr/Taproot for smart contracts on Bitcoin or stick with the current version of the protocol.