The Bitcoin network has been upgraded for the first time since 2017. Following the integration of Taproot soft fork on November 15, the world’s most valuable network has more scripting capabilities and is more private than before.
According to one of the lead developers instrumental in seeing the upgrade go live, this enhancement is a big win for the network and the community. And it has to be. This is primarily because Bitcoin rarely upgrades, being a community project maintained by a web of skilled developers scattered across the globe.
The Previous Bitcoin Upgrade
The last major upgrade in Bitcoin was contentious and saw the creation of Bitcoin Cash. It follows the disagreement around on-chain scaling that would have seen Bitcoin block size increase to 2 MB if it had been approved. Still, during late November 2017 upgrade saw the introduction of the Lightning Network (LN) and Segregated Witness (SegWit). The LN is a layer-2 solution on Bitcoin meant to scale the base layer. All of its transactions settle instantaneously with near-zero fees.
Merkelized Abstract Syntax Tree (MAST)
With Bitcoin upgrading once more, developers have inserted the idea of Merkelized Abstract Syntax Tree (MAST), which makes smart contracts more efficient and private. MAST achieves this by only revealing the relevant parts of the contract when spending. Critically, the Taproot activation also creates avenues of exploring the Off-chain capabilities of Bitcoin without necessarily emphasizing on-chain aspects, straining nodes. This goes a long way in making the BTC transactional layer more robust, fungible, and adopting LN users more private.
At the time of writing, Bitcoin (BTC) is trading at around $64.7k, according to trackers.