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Taproot is ready, but will probably not be included in the next Bitcoin release

Developers don’t want to rush things too much

On Thursday, Bitcoin Improvement Proposals 340 to 342 were integrated into Bitcoin source code, indicating that the highly anticipated Taproot update is ready.

Taproot and Schnorr’s associated signature technology are considered the most important update for Bitcoin in the last year. This is primarily a privacy improvement for complex Bitcoin spending conditions, such as multisig transactions, timelocks, and other features based on the cryptocurrency Script language.

As Cointelegraph has reported in the past, Taproot hides any additional spending conditions other than the one that is activated. For example, a transaction can be executed immediately if all four signatories to a multisig agree, or it may take some time before funds are released if only three of the four signatories are present. Normally, an outsider will be able to identify every possible condition, but with Taproot you will only be able to see the one that has been activated.

Furthermore, thanks to Schnorr’s signatures, a purely multisig transaction can be made indistinguishable from regular transfers. It is important to note that Taproot does not introduce any changes to mixing protocols such as CoinJoin, which will remain easily distinguishable.

The initial code for Taproot was submitted for review in January, but some complications (mainly related to Schnorr signatures) required a great deal of fine-tuning.

Now the proposals have been fully verified by Bitcoin’s core developers and are ready to be included in a new client release. Pieter Wuille, the chief developer for Taproot, explained to Cointelegraph that „everything is ready, except activation.

Previously, Cointelegraph reported that reaching consensus for activation may take some time. The process can potentially take years, although Taproot is generally considered much less controversial than previous updates such as SegWit.
The process will begin as soon as the activation code is included in Bitcoin Core, allowing miners to report approval for its introduction. However, Taproot seems to have arrived at a less than ideal time for immediate activation.

Jonas Nick, researcher at Blockstream and Bitcoin Core developer, revealed to Cointelegraph that „Taproot is not yet ready for activation.

The developer explained that activation logic is generally not included in a major release, referring to the upcoming version 0.21. On Thursday, the code reached a „feature freeze“, and Taproot arrived just in time. However, only bug fixes will be added from now on. Explaining the reasons why developers are cautious, Nick said:

„Major releases may contain changes to dependencies and interfaces (e.g., RPC). Users should have the ability to soft fork the activation logic without the additional work required to be compatible with a new version“.
The logic to activate Taproot on mainnet will probably be included in a future minor version, but meanwhile Nick explained that „Taproot could be activated on something like signet or testnet if someone produced the code to do so,“ since the raw implementation is already there.