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How Bitcoin’s Taproot Upgrade Will Improve Its Software Stack

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Colin Harper

Bitcoin’s Taproot upgrade is (basically) a shoe-in as Bitcoin stakeholders figure out the best way to bring it online. 

Digital signatures are created from the private keys that control bitcoin wallets and are required to approve transactions. Taproot addresses will use Schnorr signatures, rather than Bitcoin’s current signature algorithm, the elliptic curve digital signature algorithm, or ECDSA for short. 

In terms of data and processing, Schnorr signatures are smaller and faster than ECDSA signatures and also have the added benefit of being “linear,” which means Schnorr-based smart contracts can be optimized for functions that ECDSA signatures cannot.

These differences have made Taproot a highly anticipated upgrade because it will give Bitcoin a boost to transaction privacy and allow for more lightweight and complex “smart contracts” (an encoded contract with self-executing rules).

The tooling and coding improvements Taproot brings will be largely under the hood and will be a boon to developers. Regular Bitcoin users, however, will also benefit from usability, performance, and privacy improvements to multisignature (multisig) technology, privacy software and even scaling tech like the Lightning Network.

Without Taproot, applying the following upgrades to these softwares would either not be possible or not be as viable.

MuSig2: Boosting privacy and efficiency of multisig transactions

Bitcoin development hub Blockstream is developing a new multisig software, MuSig2, which will make multisig transactions more efficient, cheaper and more private.

Unlike usual Bitcoin wallets, which only require a single signature from a private key, multisig wallets require at least two or more signatures from different private keys to approve a transaction. The idea is to distribute the risk of a wallet among multiple keys and, if needed, multiple parties.

Under the current design with ECDSA contracts, multisig transactions record the signature of each multisig participant individually. Schnorr signatures would allow each signature to be recorded as one signature on the blockchain, making the transactions more lightweight in data, and thus cheaper.

“[Taproot] benefits multisig wallets such as Blockstream Green because using MuSig2 is cheaper and more private than current multisig setups,” Blockstream developer Jonas Nick told CoinDesk. 

The Bitcoin upgrade will also raise the limit on signers a multisig wallet allows from 15 to a “much higher number,” said Bitcoin developer Chris Belcher.

Schnorr-signature based transactions are more private because, thanks to so-called scriptless scripts, all Taproot transactions have the same digital footprint. That means a single signature transaction and a multisig transaction look the same on the blockchain under Taproot’s rules.

This privacy improvement spills over into other areas of Bitcoin’s development, too.

“MuSig2 also improves efficiency of multi-party contracts such as Lightning Channels, CoinSwaps or discrete log contracts, and improves the privacy of routing in the Lightning Network by enabling ‘scriptless scripts.’ This also means that the anonymity set of regular transactions would become larger because, for a blockchain observer, it could just as well be part of a multi-party contract or multisig wallet,” Nick said.

CoinSwap: Disguising mixed coin transactions

All of the softwares Nick referenced rely on multisig wallets to bind market participants in cryptographically reinforced rules of engagement called smart contracts.

One of these, the privacy protocol CoinSwap, is widely considered to be the best successor to CoinJoin, currently the most popular software for “mixing” bitcoins to obscure their transaction history. 

One shortcoming of CoinSwap’s precursors including CoinJoin is such transactions show up as distinctly different from normal ones. This makes it easier for blockchain analysis to pinpoint CoinJoins on-chain, thwarting any privacy benefits. 

According to Belcher, Bitcoin’s Taproot upgrade will fix this problem.

“A good benefit of Taproot is also that it allows scriptless scripts. As you may know, protocols like Lightning Network and CoinSwap depend on so-called hash time locked contracts. Currently these contracts are visible on the blockchain. The thing that scriptless scripts allows is for those contracts to also look exactly the same as a Taproot single-sig transaction.”

Point Time Lock Contracts: Making Lightning More Private

As Belcher points out, Bitcoin’s Lightning Network uses hash time locked contracts (HTLCs) to facilitate transactions. But Schnorr Signatures would pave the way for point time lock contracts (PTLCs), an improvement on HTLCs that allow for more private and efficient smart contracts for Lightning.

The privacy gain comes from a modification to how Lightning Network nodes “route” transactions. Lightning transactions must be sent directly and peer-to-peer on what are called “payment channels.” Otherwise, lacking this direct connection, payments must be routed through peers to which both the sender and receiver are connected.

Lightning Network nodes route transactions by passing on a hash of the payment to each node on that payment’s path. PTLCs alter this hash by adding random info at each hop to make the payment less traceable to any party conducting blockchain surveillance. 

Additionally, PTLCs will enable more complex smart contract logic to facilitate unprecedented blockchain escrow conditions and to improve oracles. (Since a blockchain can’t process data outside of its network, an oracle feeds this data to it.)

“Technically, [PTLCs] could be done today with ECDSA but it doesn’t have the same proven security, and if it was implemented it would have to be redone once we get Taproot,” Ben Carman, a developer at Suredbits, told CoinDesk.

Other Taproot improvements

Carman and his colleagues at Suredbits have been working on discrete log contracts (DLCs), a fairly new smart contract logic for Bitcoin that, while working today, will be more flexible and easier to use when Bitcoin’s Taproot upgrade kicks in.

Belcher told CoinDesk that Schnorr signatures will also enable “batched validation” wherein a Bitcoin full node could “validate 1,000 Taproot signatures in nearly the same time it takes to validate one [ECDSA] signature.” This scaling solution would significantly speed the time it takes a node to verify all signatures in a block.

Additionally, Taproot could use “ring signatures” to give users the ability to prove they own certain coins without having to reveal the public key associated with those coins.

“That means someone could prove that they own a certain coin without revealing which exact coin. For example, it would be possible to prove you own at least 1 BTC (or any amount) by doing a ring signature over all the Taproot [unspent transactions] worth more than 1 BTC, and yet it doesn’t actually reveal which is yours,” Belcher said.

This has implications particularly for Lightning Network node operators who want to prove payment channel ownership without sacrificing privacy.



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NBA Top Shot Records $1.05M with New Release

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Dapper Lab’s NBA Top Shot is on its way to be the lead in the whole digital collectible ecosystem.

Dapper Labs’ surging project NBA Top Shot, has just let out its complete and most expected NFT. According to the release, the complete NFT gives out 10,631 video packs. Top Shot’s release packs contain basketball videos pin to the Flow blockchain for an income record of over 1 million dollars.

Head of Dapper Labs, Roham Gharegozlou, per reports stated that the website has in the last month received about 50 million dollars in trades with some instances that see several top players resold for quite a considerable amount. As a result, the new Top Shot pack “moment” has been surprisingly huge.

The Top shot project established just a few months ago but has made tremendous success, thus skyrocketing as the project gets hype from major NBA league stars and the trades’ massive involvement. The website is also gradually becoming a further step for the blockchain space.

Generally, the income of the project’s latest video pack has soared to a whopping 7.38 million dollars, and as per a sourced data, we will see more income as demands grow high. According to data, NBA Top Shot’s most giant sales come in by the recently release pack that’s at its best has more than 200k optimistic collectors in a queue for packs of coded NBA videos.

CEO Roham Gharegozlou added that there might be small challenges, yet they are on the right path to becoming the fastest soaring market. The platform has faced significant challenges in keeping up with high demands. The company’s recently released pack was at least twice delayed, with new sign-ins taking off they try to have a grip on the extensive work and cause the beta platform on a comparatively smooth rollout.

Many league top players and owners have shown much excitement in the project. The Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban finds this new release incredible, saying, Top Shot’s “moment” is the next big thing.

NFT distribution shows no indication of cooling down anytime from now. Developing on Dapper’s in-house Flow blockchain, the project has bloomed in mainstream sports culture.

Dapper Lab’s NBA Top Shot is on its way to be the lead in the whole digital collectible ecosystem. The new released Top Shot “moments” have, in particular, made its raid statement with Flow gardens and moving to the OpenSea space amidst ETH-based NFTs.

In conclusion, it’s worth mentioning that the project is all about basketball and not about cryptocurrency in any way.

Altcoin News, Blockchain News, Cryptocurrency news, News

Experienced Writer with a demonstrated history of working in the financial services and the technology industry.



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DeFi Alliance Announces New Investment Fund to Fuel Growth in DeFi Space

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The newly launched DeFi Alliance Fund aims to help early-stage DeFi startups by offering them financial and regulatory guidance as well as helping them connect with institutional players to fuel growth.

The crypto DeFi market has seen explosive growth this year in 2021 surging more than 350% year-to-date. As the DeFi projects continue to gain strength, big players are coming together to take the industry further. To fuel the growth of DeFi space further, investors and DeFi experts have announced a proactive collaboration thereby announcing the first DeFi Alliance Fund. The DeFi Alliance came into existence with some of the big industry players joining hands. Popular personalities from the DeFi space like Aave‘s Stani Kulechov and Compound Finance’s Robert Lashner are part of the alliance.

The DeFi Alliance has more than 60 member companies and over 28 DeFi projects including dYdX, 0x, Kyber Network, IDEX, Synthetix, and much more. The newly announced DeFi Alliance Fund I has been seeded by Alliance members, its founding members, as well as popular investors like Mark Cuban. These players have raised an initial corpus of $15 million.

The official announcement further notes:

“The fund is designed to be collaborative and distribute capital broadly across the DeFi startup ecosystem and adjacent industries (such as NFTs). We will invest in several dozen early stage startups each year, which will allow the DeFi Alliance to formalize and fuel our accelerator program. We will distribute capital across the DeFi and adjacent industries (such as NFTs) investing in several dozen startups each year.”

DeFi Alliance Fund: Growth Plans for 2025

The DeFi Alliance has set some major goals and targets itself for the next five years. The Alliance plans to have over one billion users globally directly associated with the DeFi developments.

The latest funding introduced will help the alliance members to further formalize and fuel its accelerator program. This will thus provide necessary resources to DeFi startups to build, deploy, and grow their platforms. Besides, the alliance also plans to offer DeFi-focused ‘tracks’ in addition to the existing ones.

This will provide startups additional assistance with regulations, institutional liquidity, recruiting, and growth. These new ‘tracks’ will be specifically for Asian DeFi startups, NFTs, and other institutional educational platforms. Synthetix founder Kain Warwick has acknowledged this new financial support for DeFi startups. He wrote:

“Being part of the first cohort had such a huge impact for us, helping for several key strategic partnerships that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. The impact they have on early stage projects is even larger. Excited to see all the new projects they fund”.

Other news of the crypto-related world can be found here.

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Bhushan is a FinTech enthusiast and holds a good flair in understanding financial markets. His interest in economics and finance draw his attention towards the new emerging Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrency markets. He is continuously in a learning process and keeps himself motivated by sharing his acquired knowledge. In free time he reads thriller fictions novels and sometimes explore his culinary skills.





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‘Shift 1% of Portfolio into Bitcoin’, JPMorgan Advises Investors as Bull Run Cools Off

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Analysts of JPMorgan highlighted the evaporating liquid supply as multi-billion dollar institutions and corporations are buying substantial quantities at a fast rate.

JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) strategists have suggested that investors should consider moving 1% of their portfolio into Bitcoin to serve as a hedge against fluctuations in traditional asset classes including stocks, bonds, and commodities.

Many people over the years including the majority of Wall Street saw Bitcoin as a commodity without any strong backing, hence doubting its ability to perform and stay in the financial scene. It seems the narrative about the biggest digital coin is gradually changing which is evident in the new wave of institutional influx in the crypto market. 

The latest endorsement from the US multinational investment bank, JPMorgan has boosted the already existing notion which has seen many experts tout Bitcoin as a hedge against inflation. The bank has told its investors that they can shift 1% of their portfolio into Bitcoin only if those investors have just a small interest in Bitcoin.

Analysts from the bank highlighted the evaporating liquid supply as multi-billion dollar institutions and corporations are buying substantial quantities at a fast rate. “The demand for bitcoin is significantly higher than the actual supply and investors could put 1% of their portfolio in BTC,” JPMorgan advised. 

Bitcoin’s last halving which happened in May last year, saw the production rate of new Bitcoins slashed into two. The increasing demand that followed the halving, coupled with its decreasing liquid supply drove the price of the coin up as it has gained over 50% value since January 1.

The latest interest from institutions has further fueled the decreasing liquid supply as MicroStrategy Inc (NASDAQ: MSTR) now owns over 90,000 Bitcoin, with Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) allocating $1.5 billion in the asset while Grayscale is purchasing new coins at record levels. 

JPM strategists Joyce Chang and Amy Ho in a note to clients stated that “in a multi-asset portfolio, investors can likely add up to 1% of their allocation to cryptocurrencies in order to achieve any efficiency gain in the overall risk-adjusted returns of the portfolio.”

Bitcoin’s insane bull run looks to have hit a wall as its value has seen a 20% decline since its all-time high of over $58,000 on February 21. JP Morgan’s latest comments have been met with criticisms as it contradicts earlier statements made by other strategists from the bank, which stated that “crypto assets should be treated as investment vehicles and not funding currencies such as USD or JPY.”

The bank also claimed that “crypto assets continue to rank as the poorest hedge for major drawdowns in equities,” but looks to have circled back on its words. 

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Crypto fanatic, writer and researcher. Thinks that Blockchain is second to a digital camera on the list of greatest inventions.



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