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Issue #983: Taproot activation signaling has started

Issue #983: Taproot activation signaling has started

May 3, 2021
Marty's Ƀent

Issue #983: Taproot activation signaling has started

Well freaks, the long awaited moment has arrived. After the difficulty adjustment that occurred 355 blocks ago, the Speedy Trial activation method for Taproot went live. Miners now have the ability to signal their preparedness/willingness to activate bip-taproot on Bitcoin. This is a topic we have been covering closely in this rag since May of 2019. It's extremely exciting to see that network participants are currently signaling their support or non-support for Taproot and if enough give it the go ahead it will go live on the network as early as this year.

via Clark Moody's Dashboard
via Clark Moody's Dashboard

Since miners started signaling over the weekend, 58 blocks of the 355 signaled support for Taproot. This is 2.9% of the last 2,016 blocks that have been mined and 16.3% of blocks added to the ledger since the last difficulty adjustment. To get activated via a miner activated soft fork, 90% of blocks mined within any 2,016 block period will need to be signaling support. Your Uncle Marty is very pleased with the fact that 16.3% of blocks are already signaling. We should expect mining pools to take their time with this out of the gate.

With that being said, there are a number of bitcoiners who do not like the idea of a miner activated soft fork and have decided to launch a user activated soft fork (UASF) client to get Taproot activated.


Bitcoin Core Contributor Luke Dashjr released this client, which will activate Taproot on November 12th of this year. The idea behind launching a UASF client to get Taproot activated is rooted in the belief that bitcoin full node operators shouldn't be beholden to the preparedness of bitcoin miners. Any activation method that relies on miner signaling too much could be seen as an attack vector used to stall progress.

To be honest, I'm pretty agnostic when it comes to the activation method for THIS PARTICULAR upgrade. Taproot seems to have broad acceptance from bitcoiners involved in any part of the network. Whether it be miners, developers, or full node operators; all seem pretty keen on getting Taproot activated. The lack of drama around Taproot leads me to believe a MASF is perfectly fine for this particular upgrade. If miners fail to lock it in, users can always counter with a UASF as they did in 2017 during the SegWit upgrade war. The Luke Dashjr Taproot client seems to be front running a potential failure for miners to activate by giving full node operators a client that will activate it with or without miner consensus.

We'll keep you abreast of the activation situation as it progresses.

On another note, while we're talking about the difficulty adjustment, we should point out that the disruption of a large portion of hash rate due to power plant shutdowns in China seems to not have been as bad as initially suspected. At one point a couple of weeks ago, the difficulty adjustment that occurred over the weekend was estimated to be a -25% adjustment. However, it seems that many of the miners who had disrupted electricity flows were able to get their machines up and hashing relatively quickly as hash came back on the network and difficulty only ended up adjusting -12.6%. Nothing to scoff at, but certainly not the largest adjustment to date as some were expecting.

The real time dynamic nature of Bitcoin will never cease to amaze me.

Final thought...

330am Monday morning Uber rides to the airport are dark experiences.


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