Bitcoin developers still divided on the procedures for activating Taproot

Bitcoin developers still divided on the procedures for activating Taproot - Taproot Bitcoin 1024x576The code for Taproot, the biggest Bitcoin update in years, has been completed and has been included in an upcoming update. Only, it's not ready to roll out yet because Bitcoin developers have different opinions on which is the best way to activate.

The Taproot soft fork

Taproot will enhance Bitcoin's smart contract capabilities - here the quotation in real time - implementing a new digital signature scheme, Schnorr. The implementation of the update requires a "soft fork" of the Bitcoin code and there are different proposals on how to activate it.

In an effort to speed up discussions on the implementation, Bitcoin Core contributor AJ Towns recently interviewed 12 other developers who have been active in the implementation process to hear their views on what activation should look like.

The survey results show that while developers are generally aligned when it comes to the big picture of activating Taproot, they disagree on the details. While it may seem odd to an inexperienced user, so-called "soft fork" updates like Taproot are not entirely risk-free events.

What the developers think of Bitcoin

First of all, AJ Towns asked developers what percentage of miners must report an update for it to be considered a safe majority. Eight out of twelve believe that a minimum of 85% -95% should be kept.

The concern is that a smaller percentage threaten a network “split” in which some miners run the older code and others the newer code, which would create two conflicting transaction histories.

In the absence of a spontaneous update from a miner, seven respondents think that a warning for the forced activation from the node could arrive approximately 12-18 months after the update is implemented.

If too few miners adopted the update, the rule would be triggered to accept blocks only from miners who passed to Taproot. In a perfect world, both node users and miners would update simultaneously to ensure that no conflict "splits" the chain or results in two rival factions supporting two different versions of the Bitcoin code.

Almost all of the developers surveyed agreed to wait for miners and users to adopt the update spontaneously before forcing the switch with a mandatory flag day to automatically load the update. This would mean that the upgraded nodes would reject blocks from miners who did not upgrade.

What's the problem?

Towns introduces an alternative activation proposal into the survey with an activation period of four years. As always in the discussion of Bitcoin's development, this too has received some pushback.

“Once the decision to upgrade has overwhelming support from developers and users, the longer the activation period (in addition to that required for miners to safely upgrade), the more things can go wrong. Former Bitcoin Core developer Eric Lombrozo told Towns on Twitter.

Risks aside, if most developers and Bitcoiners think Taproot is a necessary upgrade, it shouldn't take four years to activate, especially since it's already been so long.