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Miners to Lead Taproot Activation in Bitcoin

Key facts:

Users are important in this activation, but the miners will decide on Taproot.

There are no tensions in the community, but nothing will be certain until activation begins.

Bitcoin users and developers decided to delegate the initial activation of Taproot to the miners of the network, in a meeting held yesterday February 16, 2021 in an online chat room.

As shown on the collaborative portal (wiki) Bitcoin.it, the route towards the definitive activation of Taproot will begin between March 17 and 31 of this year with the release of the version of the Bitcoin Core software, which will include the Taproot deployment commands that the nodes will have to follow progressively.

On July 23, 2021, when the economic majority of Bitcoin – exchanges, investment funds, etc. – update their nodes, miners will begin to signal the approval of Taproot, a signal to warn those users who have not yet updated so they are not left behind.

When 90% of the network’s processing power (hash rate) supports Taproot, and after 2 weeks have elapsed from that moment, Taproot will be activated on the Bitcoin network.

There, miners will still be able to back up users who haven’t updated their nodes until they do. It is estimated that on August 1, 2020, the entire economy that works on Bitcoin will use Taproot.

Developer Luke Dash Jr. said he was not satisfied with the results of the meeting, which he said was attended by less than 100 people, when in the last meeting, the attendance exceeded 200.

A vote was still taken to deliberate whether the Taproot activation path would use the lockintimeout = true (LOT = true) and Lockintimeout = false (LOT = false) time lock commands. The first of these options, leaves the activation in the hands of the users. The second also involves the users but depends much more on the miners.

To show what this means, on February 4, the popularizer Andreas Antonopoulos stated that he would be using LOT = true, aligned with the bitcoiner philosophy that empowers its users over the protocol operators (in this case, the miners).

At the meeting, developers and users participated in a vote in which 26 voters approved to use LOT = false, while LOT = true received 19 votes. However, participants could vote for both options at the same time. 11 of the voters chose both options.

The main Bitcoin miners according to their processing power approve Taproot, although with their preferences in the activation method. Source: taprootactivation.com

Will the miners fulfill their commitment?

During the last major Bitcoin update, which brought with it the deployment of the Segregated Witness implementation (2018), many miners and users disagreed and therefore this update had to be carried out in a forced way (through a hard fork).

On that occasion, an important part of the miners and users sought to increase the size or weight of the blocks in the blockchain, in order to allow more transactions to be included in each mined block.

Expanding the size of the blocks was considered a scalability solution, since it was able to process more transactions per minute, but its critics argued against the potential security risks for Bitcoin (empty blocks, 51% attacks, among others).

However, this idea was rejected and SegWit was implemented without expanding the size of the block, which led a part of the miners, developers and users to create Bitcoin Cash, a cryptocurrency that started its way and that even had its own hard fork recently .

In the case of Taproot, the question arises as to whether miners will support this implementationAs the activation command LockinOnTime = false implies that miners can prevent the activation of Taproot at any time.

In contrast, the command LockinOnTime = true (LOT = true), allows activating Taproot without the need for miners to fully adopt it, but at the same time it can protect the economic minority of Bitcoin (small users of the protocol) until it is activated. In this way, it is thought of the community, the activation would be much more fluid, avoiding contentious scenarios and technical difficulties.

However, as the vote shows, for some it is indifferent because the large mining groups have expressed their support for the solution, as we reported in CriptoNoticias.

Likewise, the community in general expects Taproot to improve Bitcoin’s privacy as well as its scalability. Also, with Taproot it can be shown that we carry bitcoin, without revealing its location. For all this to be possible, Taproot should be adopted and used by the majority of users, preferably.