• What if Bitcoin Taproot follows SegWit’s adoption path?

  • Bitcoin Taproot, a four-year-in-the-making network upgrade, is now operational. It was proposed for the first time in 2018 by Greg Maxwell, a cryptographer and developer, following the implementation of SegWit on August 24, 2017. SegWit was the first major BTC soft fork update, and it was not well received by the community.

    Now, four years later, the ecosystem is getting another update to improve the network’s privacy, scalability, and security.

    In this article, we will attempt to sketch a possible Taproot adoption roadmap and assess whether its impact will be immediate or long-term.

    Wait a minute! What exactly is Bitcoin SegWit?

    Most of our current active readers first heard of Bitcoin and co. in 2020-2021, but SegWit was a game changer for the network. SegWit entered the picture because scalability had been a problem for a long time and continues to be so. Following the SegWit soft fork, the block size weight limits increased to 4 MB from the initial 1 MB (Check this link for a detailed explanation).

    SegWit got off to a fast start as well, but it slowed dramatically in 2018. It was also an extremely costly upgrade because it required a backward compatible upgrade in order for participants to access SegWit transactions. It was a million-dollar upgrade for exchanges, but it only increased transaction speeds by 1.5x-2x. As a result, it took more than two years for SegWit to reach 50% adoption.

    It was also not particularly successful in terms of increasing scalability. The development of Taproot and Schnorr signatures was discussed during the aforementioned time period. The second major upgrade is now live.

    But Taproot is unique, isn’t it?

    Yes, Taproot is unique in that it introduces a new programming language, Tapscript, which is an improvement over the primitive language currently available in the Bitcoin ecosystem. Taproot is now expected to improve BTC’s smart contract development, bringing more privacy, scalability, and programming optimization.

    However, the underlying issues may remain the same. Data show that only half of the nodes are currently indicating support for the upgrade. The rest are still using the old software, and the network will continue to function normally unless they upgrade to Bitcoin Core 21.1.

    However, there is currently more acceptance from miners, which was not the case with SegWit, as over 99 percent of miners suggested plans to upgrade. Taproot has also had fewer community disputes than SegWit, which resulted in the creation of Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV in late 2018.

    What can be expected?

    The community should be expected to be patient. Taproot will not automatically unlock maximum Bitcoin potential, and millions of wallets will need to upgrade to the Taproot code in order to use it.

    However, four years later, Bitcoin’s second major upgrade has a better chance of success because developers may have learned from their SegWit mistakes.

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