Bitcoin is about to get a significant upgrade. A proposal called Taproot finally received the 90% approval rating it needed to start the Speedy Trial phase before officially joining the Bitcoin Core software at the heart of the cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin Core developer Gregory Maxwell proposed Taproot in January 2018 in a bid to make Bitcoin transactions more efficient, private, and scalable via smart contracts. (More information about the proposal is available via the Bitcoin Optech website.)
Coindesk explained that the Bitcoin Core approval process states that “1,815 out of 2,016 blocks mined within a period have to include a little piece of encoded information that indicates that the miner who mined that block is in favor of the upgrade.”
That was just the first phase. The next phase is the Speedy Trial itself, effectively giving developers five months to add support for the Taproot soft fork. Taproot will then be officially activated when the Speedy Trial ends in November.
CNBC reported that Taproot’s activation is expected to make “smart contracts cheaper and smaller, in terms of the space they take up on the blockchain “by using Schnorr signatures rather than the Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm.
Marathon Mining CEO Mark Thiel told CNBC that improved smart contracts are “the primary driver of innovation on the ethereum network.” He said improving support for them should allow more complex apps and businesses to be built using Bitcoin.
Those improvements come at a pivotal moment for Bitcoin. Although some countries have become more enthusiastic about the cryptocurrency recently, it’s also faced increasing criticism from regulators, especially in China.
Taproot’s activation code is available now via Bitcoin Core 0.21.1, which can be downloaded from the Bitcoin Core website.