Change bitcoin ??
Bitcoin is nothing more than a program spread across thousands of computers. And, like any program, it can be changed. This may seem confusing at first. Isn’t Bitcoin the power of immutable code? Yes and no.
Yes, in the sense that Bitcoin’s value is based on certain fundamental attributes. It is noteworthy that there will never be more than 21,000,000 BTC.
This 21 M hard cap is synonymous with rarity. Like the relic of the barbarians, Bitcoin is a store of value precisely because it is impossible to suddenly increase its amount. Every 4 years, the creation of new bitcoins is halved. In other words, the supply of bitcoin is decreasing exponentially. Over 12 years, 89% have been mined.
This restriction is part of the bitcoin source code and everyone who participates in the network must abide by it. Moreover, in the binary universe there is nothing carved in stone. Technically, this is just a piece of code that is easy to modify.
What’s more, some argue that miners will eventually blow the hard cap in order to keep profits. But this is a short-sighted reflection, a real Pandora’s box. All the value contained in bitcoins would instantly hide in the yellow metal … Miners are not advised to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. It is this natural incentive that lies at the heart of Bitcoin’s resilience.
Small block versus large block
In addition, the gatekeepers of the Bitcoin protocol are nodes, not miners. They produce Proof of work, but it is the nodes that check them, independently checking the compliance of each block with all the rules. For example, block size (no more than 1 MB), number of newly created BTCs (no more than 6.25 BTC per block), proof of work (hash starting with 19 zeros), validity of transactions (Merkle tree verification), etc.
As such, miners have no control over the protocol, and this was confirmed in 2017 when 95% of miners adopted a project to increase block size to increase transaction speed. The nodes refused, resulting in a fork. The Bitcoin blockchain is split into two parts: BTC on the one hand and BCH (Bitcoin Cash) on the other. Subsequently, users made their choice by selling their BCH fork. 4 years later, BTC is worth 60 times more than BCH …
For reference, we have refused to increase block size mainly for security and decentralization reasons. Indeed, a full node must store the entire blockchain in memory, which can quickly become costly with blocks of unlimited size. On the other hand, when transaction fees get very low, attackers can multiply fake transactions to dramatically increase the size of the blockchain (it currently weighs less than 400 GB).
Bitcoin Core 0.21.1
Bitcoin’s source code has changed many times since its inception. We are on the 63rd version … Satoshi Nakamoto and his staff have fixed many bugs since the first months of its existence. Nothing more normal … As with any technique, maintenance must be carried out constantly. There is always room for improvement, not to mention accounting needs.
Anyone can change the bitcoin code. It is open source. However, it is quite another matter to come to a democratic consensus sufficient for its implementation. It is extremely difficult to bring together thousands of people with different or even conflicting philosophies, political beliefs, or material incentives.
Incidentally, this internal temptation that people want to impose on their vision of things is probably the best life insurance for bitcoins …
The latest Bitcoin improvement proposal is called Taproot. The change will be activated after the majority of the network votes in favor.
Then the nodes in the minority will have to either bow or split the blockchain. This will be followed by a competition, and one of the two will surely disappear.
It consists of three bitcoin protocol updates: Schnorr, Taproot, BIP 340, 342 and 342. The goal is to provide anonymity and flexibility for smart contracts supported by the bitcoin chain.
Instead of serving you a soup of indigestible cybernetic esotericism for the uninitiated in computers, let’s take this opportunity to remember what a smart contract is. [Pour les anglophones qui espéraient trouver des détails techniques dans cet article, rendez-vous ici ou là]
A smart contract is a contract that is executed automatically in accordance with certain conditions. The contract exists in the form of blockchain-related code.
Basically, bitcoins are stuck in a script (multiple lines of code sealed in a transaction included in the blockchain) that determines how they can be spent on the next transaction.
Usually the conditions are to bring one or more signatures (cryptographic) confirming ownership of the bitcoins.
Things can be automated by choosing “timing” as a condition. Bitcoins will then be sent to other addresses when the blockchain reaches a certain height. Several conditions can be crossed to create more complex smart contracts. In short, it’s not just Ethereum that you can have fun creating smart contracts …
To summarize, Taproot is not an attack on the fundamental attributes of bitcoin. Hence, it will not revive the specter of the 2017 Civil War …