Bitcoin Taproot Upgrade Expected to Begin Activation in July

A release date and activation timeline are set for Bitcoin’s Taproot upgrade, but developers and other stakeholders are still debating the best method to coordinate Bitcoin’s biggest upgrade since SegWit.

Per a public IRC chat discussion, the code for the fully primed-and-ready Taproot upgrade will be deployed sometime between March 17 and March 31 (or April if necessary), but the actual signaling that kick-starts the activation process probably won’t start until July.

If everything goes as planned, then Bitcoin’s “economic majority” (miners and node operators who run Bitcoin’s code) could update within two weeks of the signaling period’s start. Come August 2022, Taproot’s activation period will reach its timeoutheight and signaling will end.

Assuming mining pools reflecting 90%+ of Bitcoin’s hashrate support Taproot before the timeoutheight (as one survey indicates), then the vast majority of support would ensure Taproot is a success, and the other 10% or so (the “economic minority”) can update without consequence afterward.

But what happens if the mining pools don’t signal to activate Taproot? Well, that’s where the hang-up is in discussion right now. But for some of Bitcoin’s stakeholders the hang-up shouldn’t even exist.

True or false?

First, a quick note about Bitcoin upgrades.

Unlike a centralized network, whose central operators can mandate an upgrade whenever and however they choose, Bitcoin’s network is decentralized, so upgrades require deliberate decision-making and discussion among Bitcoin’s stakeholders (namely, developers, miners, business and power users). Taproot is a “soft fork,” meaning a change that is compatible with previous versions of the software (unlike a “hard fork,” where newer rule-sets and older rule-sets are incompatible).

Soft fork or not, at the heart of the matter for activating Taproot is whether to give node operators (those individuals running Bitcoin’s source code) an option to force…

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