Schnorr Will Take BitCoin to New Heights: Can Optimize Its Transaction Capacity
Bitcoin Dealers around the world seem pretty happy and cheering out as the much-awaited Bitcoin Code Optimization comes across! The name is Schnorr signatures and this technology is all set to replace Bitcoins existing signature scheme. The new scheme mashes up signature data together. The concept is very attractive because it makes up space in the blockchain which helps with backlog transactions and resolves the high fees that Bitcoin users face!
Developers are working on developing this technology and the good news is that the change brought about by Schnorr will boost the Bitcoins transaction capacity by 25 to 30 percent.
Many cryptographers are working on Schnorr and according to them, this is certain to enhance the efficiency of Bitcoin. Yannick Seurin, a cryptographer with ANSSI, a French Cybersecurity Agency has been working on the cryptography behind Schnorr. He said, “Schnorr signatures and the applications they enable generate high hopes. As evidenced by the recent scaling debate, any efficiency improvement is highly beneficial to bitcoin.”
Bitcoin community has joined hands to make bitcoin more efficient and effective. To do so they have been supporting several technologies which would eventually make the bitcoin cheaper, faster and easier to use for payments.
Schnorr is a part of many such technologies with a motto to enhance the Bitcoin. It joins to the bigger picture of FIBRE network, peer-to-peer optimizations, and most ambitious, upcoming Lightning Network!
Schnorr, however, seems to be the Bitcoin developer’s popular choice! Schnorr uses the Segregated Witness (SegWit) technology which is also being activated on Bitcoin. If that was not all, the Schnorr signatures offer some other advantages like improving privacy on certain transactions and reducing spam which is infamous to clog the network.
Jonas Nick is a Blockstream Infrastructure Security Engineer who is very keen on the privacy benefits. He’s particularly excited about how the bitcoin works with other code changes to unlock more advanced Bitcoin use cases. Also enticed about the changes geared up to enhance bitcoin’s smart contracts, Nick said, “I’m particularly excited to work towards the goal where smart contracts look like normal payments on chain. Schnorr signatures play a crucial role there, along with MAST, Taproot &Graftroot.”
Hiccups in the Path
As much excited as is the Bitcoin fraternity over Schnorr, it still has a long time to go for coming out formally! The technology is being developed since 2012! A technology of the heights of Schnorr does take a great deal of time to be launched!
The main reasons for the not so surprising delay in launch is:
- There aren’t too many developers available who are well versed in bitcoin and cryptography enough. Schnorr works on these technologies and hence need engineers or cryptographers who understand bitcoins.
- Schnorr emerges as a big change to the over $100 billion bitcoin network which is huge. Such an ambitious technology should go through extensive testing processes and reviews before its launch.
Blockstream Co-Founder and eminent Bitcoin contributor Pieter Wullie during his talk with Stanford stated that Schnorr has faced many ups and downs over the years. For example, there was a “Rogue Attack” faced by Wullie and his other developer colleagues while trying to implement Schnorr. This is why they had to submit a paper to give a fix for the issue. The academic board reviewing the paper and the Schnorr implementation rejected the paper. They demanded a better fix to address the attack vector in a secure way.
ANSSI cryptographer Mr. Seurin hence came into the picture with Bitcoin Developers. “I noticed that the specific signature aggregation scheme they were thinking of didn’t have a proper security analysis at the time. As provable security is my specific research area, and I previously worked on Schnorr signatures, I contacted Peiter!” said Seurin.
Wullie sent him the paper and along with the likes of Bitcoin core contributor Gregory Maxwell and Mathematician with Blockstream, Seurin wrote a more secure fix!
While that bug got fixed another appeared. Such subtle attack vectors have been coming up time and again to increase the workload for Developers and Testers which further delays Schnorr’s release.
Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs) are being brought up by developers which mean as soon as work finishes on one BIP it will have blueprints of the new signature scheme. Ways will then have to be worked out to see how that improved blueprint gets added to Bitcoin. Post which a User Acceptance Testing model gives the bitcoin contributors a fair chance to review the product and suggest changes to implementation!
With fuzz testing, more and more bugs get reported. And even if there are no issues the implementation is being checked many times by throwing random codes to become confident about the implementation outcome.
With regressive testing and billions of dollars at stake, Schnorr is a revolution waiting to happen but is a lengthy process before it merges to Bitcoin!