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Bitcoin and Litecoin Move Closer to Their Privacy Improvements

Sead Fadilpašić
Last updated: | 3 min read

Bitcoin (BTC) and Litecoin (LTC) getting even more closer to their privacy-related upgrades: Taproot for the former, and MimbleWimble (MW) for the latter.

Source: Adobe/pixarno

The Speedy Trial (ST) proposal for Taproot, a protocol upgrade that should improve Bitcoin’s privacy and flexibility, has received a lot of ‘ACKs’ over the past eleven days, signaling the community’s support for it and the upgrade activation.

The vast majority of the participants voiced their acknowledgment (ACK), while some had additional opinions or reservations, such as longer deadlines, a concern that a failed speedy trial will become “a major driver in favor of LOT=true,” as well as other more technical opinions, including those on timeline, start time, stop time, and earliest active time.

“If it avoids contention and deadlock and nothing else is on the docket, it is worth a try,” ‘christianriley’ said.

But there were some NACKs too. Free software programmer and developer working on Bitcoin Lightning Rusty Russell argued that “Taproot could be activated by a blind monkey, but that doesn’t mean we should do it that way.” According to him, given that it will “almost certainly” pass, ST “avoids the hard questions. […] We’ve made it as easy as possible for miners to say “yes”. They don’t have to upgrade, just flip a bit and promise to do so later,” and added,

“Nobody has to answer the hard questions on what happens if they don’t, because they will. But one day, a real crisis will return. We won’t have an answer, and we won’t have practiced: this will make the crisis far worse.”

Developer Rene Pickhardt commented that Russel is “showing some spine by raising concerns against so many acks,” while developer Sjors Provoost argued that “the number of ACKs is irrelevant if the objection is sound.”

As reported, the goal of ST is to allow the Taproot activation attempt to succeed or fail quickly, after which either everybody tries again, or Taproot is guaranteed to activate, but not until some six months after signal tracking began.

“There seems to be a common agreement between the miners and users on applying this upgrade,” argued Redditor ‘lbalan79’. “The debate is mostly on the mechanisms that activate this upgrade on the main chain [and] some see this as an opportunity on completely moving away from miners being able to vote regardless of their buy-in on this initiative.”

As reported, per the Taproot activation proposal 202102, Taproot’s activation could be started in July this year and completed by August 2022.

Audit time

Meanwhile, there are more developments on the Litecoin MW, the protocol that allows users to encrypt all data associated with any transaction using blinding factors, thus enhancing security and scalability – with the Litecoin Foundation stating that,

“After over a year of ongoing development, David Burkett has officially announced that Litecoin’s MWEB [Mimblewimble Extension Block] is now “code complete”. This means that the code has been completed to the best of his knowledge and is now ready for formal auditing by fellow developers.”

Burkett, the developer of Grin++, a Grin wallet with a built-in full node, who’s actively working on the LTC MW, previously told that, completing the code is not the final stage – “once the initial code is done, we still have lots more reviews, community testing, and miners + nodes need to activate it. […] If everything goes well, then we’ll merge the code and work on getting it activated (a community-wide process).”

The Foundation added that the reviewal process may last a few weeks or a few months, but after code implementation, the Litecoin community will decide how quickly MWEB will activate.

When it comes to the timeline for activation, Burkett said, “we’re shooting for activation sometime before the end of the year.”

As reported, a Litecoin MimbleWimble testnet was launched in October last year. The Foundation said that it’s been “running smoothly” and that a more user-friendly testnet for the public is planned to be made available in the coming weeks.

At the time of writing (11:00 UTC), BTC is trading at USD 55,260, having dropped 1% in a day, trimming its weekly gains to 1%. The price is up by 14% in a month. LTC is changing hands at USD 199; it dropped 2% in a day, 2.5% in a week, and 7.5% in a month.
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