What if Bitcoin nodes are not updated for Taproot?

Key facts:
  • In case not all nodes are updated, a miner could intentionally split the network.

  • Miners could steal bitcoins from Taproot transactions validated by outdated nodes.

So far, only 24.92% of Bitcoin nodes have been upgraded to support Taproot, an implementation that should go live in November of this year.

This percentage corresponds to 16,086 Bitcoin nodes (BTC), and there are 47,863 that, at the time of writing this article, have pending their update, as seen on the website of the developer Luke Dashjr.

According to the above mentioned developer, who serves as the editor of improvement proposals (BIP) on Bitcoin code, “the most important thing now is for users to update to enforce Taproot in November.”

The importance of updating all nodes lies in that it is fundamental for the proper functioning of this innovation that would bring more privacy for transactions in Bitcoin. With Taproot, both single-signature and multi-signature transactions are expected to look similarly signed, making them indistinguishable in a blockchain analysis.

The importance of upgrading Bitcoin nodes

Not only is it important to update nodes so that users can benefit from the advantages of Taproot, but non-compliance could trigger attack vectors on Bitcoin.

“If the nodes are not updated and 50% of the mining power is not updated (not only signals, but updates its nodes), a miner could deliberately mine an invalid Taproot transaction in November and split the network”, explain specialist Rusty Russell.

Anyway, Russell clarifies that, by then, probably a large hash rate is already up-to-date.

Only 25% of Bitcoin nodes have made the corresponding update in the software, which corresponds to Taproot activation. Source: luke.dashjr.org

Ruben Somsen, co-host of the podcast Unhashed Bitcoin, gives Russell the reason in the low probability that such an attack will occur. Anyway, it does not deny the possibility and say that ” users should not use Taproot until they are convinced that the vast majority will enforce it.”

Another problem that Somsen warns, is that miners could steal BTC from Taproot transactions that validate, if the nodes are not updated.

“Old nodes that have not been updated do not know the rules of Taproot, so they do not know who can take the money. So if miners take it and everyone runs old nodes, everyone will blindly accept it. Only new nodes can actively reject invalid Taproot expenses.”

Ruben Somsen, co-host of Unhashed Podcast.

The deadline for making the necessary adjustments expires in November

Taproot, although it receives majority support from users, developers and miners, has not been without controversy. Crypto news reported the discussions around the best way to activate this implementation in the Bitcoin code.

The winning option was the rapid test (speedy trial), which consists of testing whether miners, clients and nodes comply with their word to activate Taproot, which happened on June 12 at the height of block 687.284.

After that time, it entered a period, which will culminate in November, in which the entire ecosystem must make the adjustments that each part is responsible for so Taproot can be up and running.

Recent Articles

Related Stories