Schnorr on its Way to Become Bitcoin’s Biggest Improvement Since SegWit

Schnorr on its Way to Become Bitcoin's Biggest Improvement Since SegWit 13

Bitcoin is close to achieving a new improvement proposal. Known as Schnorr, this unique technology has been cataloged by several analysts as Bitcoin’s Biggest improvement Since SegWit.

Despite not having much hype during the early stages of its development, the slow but steady work of Pieter Wuille, an influential personality in the Bitcoin ecosystem, bore its first fruits a few days ago when he published a draft of his research, one that is not only viable but has been well received.

The draft is highly technical, to the point that it may not be very user-friendly. For example, it is enough to look at a few lines explaining the Schnorr design briefly:

Design

Schnorr signature variant Elliptic Curve Schnorr signatures for message m and public key P generally involve a point R, and integers e and s which satisfy e = H(R ||| m) and sG = R + eP. Two formulations exist, depending on whether and or R is revealed:

1. Signatures are (e,s) that satisfy e = H(sG – eP ||| m). This avoids the difficulty of encoding a point R in the signature.

2. Signatures are (R,s) that satisfy sG = R + H(R ||| m)P. This supports batch validation, as there are no elliptic curve operations inside the hashes.

In recent statements for Coindesk,. Yannick Seurin, one of the developers of the Schnorr project spoke about the potential of its implementation and how it could improve bitcoin transactions globally:

“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.”

What is Schnorr?

Schnorr is a solution that would offer users a new method of generating the keys they need to make transactions and control their Bitcoin. This way it is possible to improve certain aspects such as transaction speed, privacy, and -above all- the scalability of the blockchain. One of the most controversial problems since the appearance of alternatives such as Segwit and Lightning Network.

Schnorr enhances Bitcoin’s current key generation system, the Elliptical Curve Digital Signature Algorithm or ECDSA. Once implemented it would provide mathematical proof that the algorithms are safe. Also, it will allow the use of less bandwidth in transactions, increasing efficiency and scalability.

Despite the potential, the work is still in development, Blockstream engineer and co-author Jonas Nick told CoinDesk:

“The specifics for how to deploy it in bitcoin are still being actively discussed…
Like any consensus change, it will be a long process involving fully fleshing out a draft for integration, publishing it, gathering comments from the technical community and ecosystem, writing implementations of both consensus rules and integration in wallet software, proposing a deployment plan, and if all goes well, get it activated”.

However, he also expresses in a few words his enthusiasm for the project and its importance for the future of Bitcoin:

“Standardizing Schnorr for bitcoin is a big step towards using it in bitcoin.”