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Issue #868: Light clients, Taproot activation, and a break away from gold

Issue #868: Light clients, Taproot activation, and a break away from gold

Nov 16, 2020
Marty's Ƀent

Issue #868: Light clients, Taproot activation, and a break away from gold

There's a lot going on in the Bitcoin world at the moment. Here are a few things that caught my attention.

open money
via Open Money Initiative

Here's a great breakdown from Richard Myers on the state of using bitcoin in a non-custodial fashion in areas of the world with bad Internet connectivity and low-bandwidth. This is one of the topics in the Bitcoin world that isn't very sexy, probably isn't talked about as much as it should be, but is an integral aspect of making sure as many people as possible can use bitcoin without needing to allocate all trust to centralized third parties.

Richard does an incredible job of laying out the different non-custodial low-bandwidth wallet solutions available to users at the moment, the security/privacy tradeoffs that come with them, and the amount of data needed by users for each. The good news is these options seem to becoming more accessible, more efficient, and more scalable as engineers continue to improve the Bitcoin protocol and wallet software to make the network for useful for this type of user. Shoutout to individuals like Richard who are focused on this particular area of the Bitcoin Network. It is a dedication that goes unnoticed by many, but will have profound effects on the ways individuals interact with the network in the future.

It looks like Poolin, the second largest Bitcoin mining pool, is being proactive about Taproot activation in Bitcoin Core and has launched an initiative to get as many miners as possible ready to get the code working for Bitcoin users everywhere. This is very encouraging to see. Especially since it has seemed like very few people have been wiling to stick their necks out to try to forge a path forward with this specific code activation. Hopefully Poolin's initiative will be fruitful and we'll have Taproot activated within the next year or two.

This should be possible considering the fact that Taproot is not nearly as controversial as SegWit was when it was activated in 2017. In fact, I don't think there is much controversy at all around the Taproot proposal other than people being afraid to put an activation path forward as a result of shell shock from the fork wars. Shoutout to Poolin for putting the team on their back and taking this step forward to attempt to get the mining industry bought in on the upgrade and prepared for its activation.

One interesting thing to note about Poolin's activation initiative announcement is their preference for using BIP 9 for activation signaling. BIP 9 was used during SegWit activation and SegWit activation was controversial, but BIP 9 was also used to activate other pieces of code without any controversy before SegWit. This is a divergence from activation via BIP 8, which seems to be the activation path most people thinking about Taproot activation have been discussing (in my observation). It will be interesting to see how the conversation around which activation route gains consensus moving forward.

Bitcoin seems to have decoupled from gold over the last week. This will be an interesting chart to watch moving forward as bitcoin and gold both fight for the mantle of best store of value in the twenty first century. Gold has held the store of value throne for millennia, but Bitcoin is here to bring gold's Lindy Effect into question. Can gold hold its seat on the throne in a world in which a digital competitor that is more scarce, more divisible, easier to transport, easier to verify, harder to confiscate, and more extendible via software exists? We shall see. I'm not so confident.

Final thought...

10 hour island sleeps are some of the best sleeps.


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