Taproot Activation Appears Probable Despite Holdouts

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A new Taproot signaling period has begun, and activation looks likely. Although it is only one day into the two-week signaling period, 97.92% of mined blocks have signaled readiness for Taproot deployment. The activation process follows the rules specified in Speedy Trial, which requires that 90% of blocks mined within a two-week period must include a signal bit that indicates Taproot readiness. 

If the threshold is reached, then the Taproot softfork will activate in November. The signaling periods correspond to Bitcoin difficulty epochs.

Taproot is an upgrade to the Bitcoin protocol that will mask smart contract functions in a single public key and signature. This will make smart contracts more efficient and private.

Even though the vast majority of miners have signaled in favor of the Taproot softfork activation, one notable holdout remains. Marathon Digital Holdings runs a mining pool that mines OFAC-compliant blocks. Marathon’s miners have not signaled readiness for Taproot, and its recent block stands out like a leprosy sore against a sea of green Taproot-ready blocks.

The Marathon mining pool censors transactions from individuals listed on the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List. It also uses technology licensed from DMG to ensure compliance with AML regulations. According to a March press release, Marathon expects to have 10.37EH/s directed towards mining by next year, at which point it would be the seventh largest mining pool in the world.

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Shao H. Wang is a technical writer and game developer based out of Shanghai. He has been writing about crypto since 2018.