Bitcoin Taproot is finally live, a network upgrade that has been four years in the making. It was first put forward by Greg Maxwell, cryptographer and developer, in 2018 after SegWit was implemented on 24 August 2017. SegWit was the first major BTC soft fork update, which wasn’t taken all too well by the community.
Now, four years later, the ecosystem has another update in store to improve the privacy, scalability, and security of the network.
In this article, we will try to draw a possible adoption roadmap for Taproot and assess whether its impact would be immediate or prolonged.
Hold up! What is this Bitcoin SegWit?
Most of our current active readers became familiar with Bitcoin and co. in 2020–2021, but SegWit was a monumental upgrade to the network. SegWit came into the picture as scalability had been an issue for quite some time and even now. After the SegWit soft fork, the block size weight limits improved to 4 MB rather than the initial 1 MB (Check this link for a detailed explanation).
SegWit was also off to a flying start, but it dramatically slowed down in 2018. It was also an extremely expensive upgrade as it required a backward compatible upgrade so that participants could access SegWit transactions. For exchanges, it was a million-dollar upgrade, one which only improved transaction speeds by 1.5x-2x. Hence, it took more than 2 years for SegWit to reach 50% adoption.
It wasn’t particularly successful in improving scalability either. Taproot and Schnorr signatures development was discussed over the aforementioned time period. And now, the 2nd major upgrade is live.
But Taproot is different, correct?
Yes, Taproot is different in the sense that it brings a different programming language, Tapscript, an upgrade on the primitive language currently available on the Bitcoin ecosystem. Now, Taproot is expected to enhance BTC’s smart contract development, which will supposedly bring in more privacy, improve scalability, and programming optimization.
However, the root issues could remain the same. According to data, only half of the nodes are currently indicative of support for the upgrade. The rest are still running the old software, and unless they upgrade to Bitcoin Core 21.1, the network will continue to run just fine.
However, there is currently more acceptance from miners, which wasn’t the case for SegWit, as it was reported that over 99% of the miners suggested plans to upgrade. Community disputes have also been few with Taproot, unlike SegWit which led to the creation of Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV in late 2018.
What should be expected?
Patience is what should be expected of the community. Taproot isn’t going to automatically unleash optimum Bitcoin potential and millions of wallets would also need to upgrade to the Taproot code in order to utilization.
However, 4 years later, Bitcoin’s 2nd major upgrade has a better shot at success since developers might have learned from their mistakes with SegWit.