by William Suberg
Four Bitcoin developers have released a paper outlining how Schnorr multi-signatures (‘multisig’) can help scale the Bitcoin Blockchain.
In the paper, published Jan. 15, Greg Maxwell, Andrew Poelstra, Yannick Seurin and Pieter Wuille discuss and illustrate how the technology, which ‘bunches’ multisig data together to reduce its size in a transaction, “could improve both performance and user privacy in Bitcoin.”
Multisig has seen wide use in various applications for Bitcoin over the past several years. Its trademark security benefits are a principal feature of some consumer wallet applications, and this week’s paper pays attention to how Schnorr multisig also offers enhanced transaction privacy.
Bitcoin scaling solutions continue to be in urgent demand as a variety of improvements move ever closer to mainstream acceptance.
Chief among those in January is the Lightning Network, a so-called layer 2 protocol that facilitates near-zero-fee transactions for Bitcoin, processed almost instantly.
Mainnet Lightning transactions are still in the “testing phase”, as Blockstream engineers put it in a post Jan. 16, and are happening on a small scale, with only around 50 nodes and 80 channels in operation.
Schnorr signatures have long been a favorite for technical commentators, receiving praise from Blockchain consultant Sam Wouters for security benefits last July. Wouters explained the significance of the technology in a post, saying:
“At the end of the day, if it is just one person sending that transaction from multiple sources, there should be some way to do so with just one signature, right? This is what Schnorr signatures allow us to do.”