I thought it would be really cool to have an ultimate guide for those new to crypto currencies and the terms used. I made this mostly for beginner’s and veterans alike. I’m not sure how much use you will get out of this. Stuff gets lost on Reddit quite easily so I hope this finds its way to you. Included in this list, I have included most of the terms used in crypto-communities. I have compiled this list from a multitude of sources. The list is in alphabetical order and may include some words/terms not exclusive to the crypto world but may be helpful regardless. 2FA
Two factor authentication. I highly advise that you use it. 51% Attack:
A situation where a single malicious individual or group gains control of more than half of a cryptocurrency network’s computing power. Theoretically, it could allow perpetrators to manipulate the system and spend the same coin multiple times, stop other users from completing blocks and make conflicting transactions to a chain that could harm the network. Address (or Addy):
A unique string of numbers and letters (both upper and lower case) used to send, receive or store cryptocurrency on the network. It is also the public key in a pair of keys needed to sign a digital transaction. Addresses can be shared publicly as a text or in the form of a scannable QR code. They differ between cryptocurrencies. You can’t send Bitcoin to an Ethereum address, for example. Altcoin (alternative coin):
Any digital currency other than Bitcoin. These other currencies are alternatives to Bitcoin regarding features and functionalities (e.g. faster confirmation time, lower price, improved mining algorithm, higher total coin supply). There are hundreds of altcoins, including Ether, Ripple, Litecoin and many many others. AIRDROP:
An event where the investors/participants are able to receive free tokens or coins into their digital wallet. AML:
Defines Anti-Money Laundering laws**.** ARBITRAGE:
Getting risk-free profits by trading (simultaneous buying and selling of the cryptocurrency) on two different exchanges which have different prices for the same asset. Ashdraked:
Being Ashdraked is essentially a more detailed version of being Zhoutonged. It is when you lose all of your invested capital, but you do so specifically by shorting Bitcoin. The expression “Ashdraked” comes from a story of a Romanian cryptocurrency investor who insisted upon shorting BTC, as he had done so successfully in the past. When the price of BTC rose from USD 300 to USD 500, the Romanian investor lost all of his money. ATH (All Time High):
The highest price ever achieved by a cryptocurrency in its entire history. Alternatively, ATL is all time low Bearish:
A tendency of prices to fall; a pessimistic expectation that the value of a coin is going to drop. Bear trap:
A manipulation of a stock or commodity by investors. Bitcoin:
The very first, and the highest ever valued, mass-market open source and decentralized cryptocurrency and digital payment system that runs on a worldwide peer to peer network. It operates independently of any centralized authorities Bitconnect:
One of the biggest scams in the crypto world. it was made popular in the meme world by screaming idiot Carlos Matos, who infamously proclaimed," hey hey heeeey” and “what's a what's a what's up wasssssssssuuuuuuuuuuuuup, BitConneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeect!”. He is now in the mentally ill meme hall of fame. Block:
A package of permanently recorded data about transactions occurring every time period (typically about 10 minutes) on the blockchain network. Once a record has been completed and verified, it goes into a blockchain and gives way to the next block. Each block also contains a complex mathematical puzzle with a unique answer, without which new blocks can’t be added to the chain. Blockchain:
An unchangeable digital record of all transactions ever made in a particular cryptocurrency and shared across thousands of computers worldwide. It has no central authority governing it. Records, or blocks, are chained to each other using a cryptographic signature. They are stored publicly and chronologically, from the genesis block to the latest block, hence the term blockchain. Anyone can have access to the database and yet it remains incredibly difficult to hack. Bullish:
A tendency of prices to rise; an optimistic expectation that a specific cryptocurrency will do well and its value is going to increase. BTFD:
Buy the fucking dip. This advise was bestowed upon us by the gods themselves. It is the iron code to crypto enthusiasts. Bull market:
A market that Cryptos are going up. Consensus:
An agreement among blockchain participants on the validity of data. Consensus is reached when the majority of nodes on the network verify that the transaction is 100% valid. Crypto bubble:
The instability of cryptocurrencies in terms of price value Cryptocurrency:
A type of digital currency, secured by strong computer code (cryptography), that operates independently of any middlemen or central authoritie Cryptography:
The art of converting sensitive data into a format unreadable for unauthorized users, which when decoded would result in a meaningful statement. Cryptojacking:
The use of someone else’s device and profiting from its computational power to mine cryptocurrency without their knowledge and consent. Crypto-Valhalla:
When HODLers(holders) eventually cash out they go to a place called crypto-Valhalla. The strong will be separated from the weak and the strong will then be given lambos. DAO:
Decentralized Autonomous Organizations. It defines A blockchain technology inspired organization or corporation that exists and operates without human intervention. Dapp (decentralized application):
An open-source application that runs and stores its data on a blockchain network (instead of a central server) to prevent a single failure point. This software is not controlled by the single body – information comes from people providing other people with data or computing power. Decentralized:
A system with no fundamental control authority that governs the network. Instead, it is jointly managed by all users to the system. Desktop wallet:
A wallet that stores the private keys on your computer, which allow the spending and management of your bitcoins. DILDO:
Long red or green candles. This is a crypto signal that tells you that it is not favorable to trade at the moment. Found on candlestick charts. Digital Signature:
An encrypted digital code attached to an electronic document to prove that the sender is who they say they are and confirm that a transaction is valid and should be accepted by the network. Double Spending:
An attack on the blockchain where a malicious user manipulates the network by sending digital money to two different recipients at exactly the same time. DYOR:
Means do your own research. Encryption:
Converting data into code to protect it from unauthorized access, so that only the intended recipient(s) can decode it. Eskrow:
the practice of having a third party act as an intermediary in a transaction. This third party holds the funds on and sends them off when the transaction is completed. Ethereum:
Ethereum is an open source, public, blockchain-based platform that runs smart contracts and allows you to build dapps on it. Ethereum is fueled by the cryptocurrency Ether. Exchange:
A platform (centralized or decentralized) for exchanging (trading) different forms of cryptocurrencies. These exchanges allow you to exchange cryptos for local currency. Some popular exchanges are Coinbase, Bittrex, Kraken and more. Faucet:
A website which gives away free cryptocurrencies. Fiat money:
Fiat currency is legal tender whose value is backed by the government that issued it, such as the US dollar or UK pound. Fork:
A split in the blockchain, resulting in two separate branches, an original and a new alternate version of the cryptocurrency. As a single blockchain forks into two, they will both run simultaneously on different parts of the network. For example, Bitcoin Cash is a Bitcoin fork. FOMO:
Fear of missing out. Frictionless:
A system is frictionless when there are zero transaction costs or trading retraints. FUD:
Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt regarding the crypto market. Gas:
A fee paid to run transactions, dapps and smart contracts on Ethereum. Halving:
A 50% decrease in block reward after the mining of a pre-specified number of blocks. Every 4 years, the “reward” for successfully mining a block of bitcoin is reduced by half. This is referred to as “Halving”. Hardware wallet:
Physical wallet devices that can securely store cryptocurrency maximally. Some examples are Ledger Nano S**,** Digital Bitbox and more**.** Hash:
The process that takes input data of varying sizes, performs an operation on it and converts it into a fixed size output. It cannot be reversed. Hashing:
The process by which you mine bitcoin or similar cryptocurrency, by trying to solve the mathematical problem within it, using cryptographic hash functions. HODL:
A Bitcoin enthusiast once accidentally misspelled the word HOLD and it is now part of the bitcoin legend. It can also mean hold on for dear life. ICO (Initial Coin Offering):
A blockchain-based fundraising mechanism, or a public crowd sale of a new digital coin, used to raise capital from supporters for an early stage crypto venture. Beware of these as there have been quite a few scams in the past. John mcAfee:
A man who will one day eat his balls on live television for falsely predicting bitcoin going to 100k. He has also become a small meme within the crypto community for his outlandish claims. JOMO:
Joy of missing out. For those who are so depressed about missing out their sadness becomes joy. KYC:
Know your customer(alternatively consumer). Lambo:
This stands for Lamborghini. A small meme within the investing community where the moment someone gets rich they spend their earnings on a lambo. One day we will all have lambos in crypto-valhalla. Ledger:
Away from Blockchain, it is a book of financial transactions and balances. In the world of crypto, the blockchain functions as a ledger. A digital currency’s ledger records all transactions which took place on a certain block chain network. Leverage:
Trading with borrowed capital (margin) in order to increase the potential return of an investment. Liquidity:
The availability of an asset to be bought and sold easily, without affecting its market price.
of the coins. Margin trading:
The trading of assets or securities bought with borrowed money. Market cap/MCAP:
A short-term for Market Capitalization. Market Capitalization refers to the market value of a particular cryptocurrency. It is computed by multiplying the Price of an individual unit of coins by the total circulating supply. Miner:
A computer participating in any cryptocurrency network performing proof of work. This is usually done to receive block rewards. Mining:
The act of solving a complex math equation to validate a blockchain transaction using computer processing power and specialized hardware. Mining contract:
A method of investing in bitcoin mining hardware, allowing anyone to rent out a pre-specified amount of hashing power, for an agreed amount of time. The mining service takes care of hardware maintenance, hosting and electricity costs, making it simpler for investors. Mining rig:
A computer specially designed for mining cryptocurrencies. Mooning:
A situation the price of a coin rapidly increases in value. Can also be used as: “I hope bitcoin goes to the moon” Node:
Any computing device that connects to the blockchain network. Open source:
The practice of sharing the source code for a piece of computer software, allowing it to be distributed and altered by anyone. OTC:
Over the counter. Trading is done directly between parties. P2P (Peer to Peer):
A type of network connection where participants interact directly with each other rather than through a centralized third party. The system allows the exchange of resources from A to B, without having to go through a separate server. Paper wallet:
A form of “cold storage” where the private keys are printed onto a piece of paper and stored offline. Considered as one of the safest crypto wallets, the truth is that it majors in sweeping coins from your wallets. Pre mining:
The mining of a cryptocurrency by its developers before it is released to the public. Proof of stake (POS):
A consensus distribution algorithm which essentially rewards you based upon the amount of the coin that you own. In other words, more investment in the coin will leads to more gain when you mine with this protocol In Proof of Stake, the resource held by the “miner” is their stake in the currency. PROOF OF WORK (POW)
The competition of computers competing to solve a tough crypto math problem. The first computer that does this is allowed to create new blocks and record information.” The miner is then usually rewarded via transaction fees. Protocol:
A standardized set of rules for formatting and processing data. Public key / private key:
A cryptographic code that allows a user to receive cryptocurrencies into an account. The public key is made available to everyone via a publicly accessible directory, and the private key remains confidential to its respective owner. Because the key pair is mathematically related, whatever is encrypted with a public key may only be decrypted by its corresponding private key. Pump and dump:
Massive buying and selling activity of cryptocurrencies (sometimes organized and to one’s benefit) which essentially result in a phenomenon where the significant surge in the value of coin followed by a huge crash take place in a short time frame. Recovery phrase:
A set of phrases you are given whereby you can regain or access your wallet should you lose the private key to your wallets — paper, mobile, desktop, and hardware wallet. These phrases are some random 12–24 words. A recovery Phrase can also be called as Recovery seed, Seed Key, Recovery Key, or Seed Phrase. REKT:
Referring to the word “wrecked”. It defines a situation whereby an investor or trader who has been ruined utterly following the massive losses suffered in crypto industry. Ripple:
An alternative payment network to Bitcoin based on similar cryptography. The ripple network uses XRP as currency and is capable of sending any asset type. ROI:
Return on investment. Safu:
A crypto term for safe popularized by the Bizonnaci YouTube channel after the CEO of Binance tweeted
“Funds are safe." “the exchage I use got hacked!”“Oh no, are your funds safu?” “My coins better be safu!”
The smallest fraction of a bitcoin is called a “satoshi” or “sat”. It represents one hundred-millionth of a bitcoin and is named after Satoshi Nakamoto. Satoshi Nakamoto:
This was the pseudonym for the mysterious creator of Bitcoin. Scalability:
The ability of a cryptocurrency to contain the massive use of its Blockchain. Sharding:
A scaling solution for the Blockchain. It is generally a method that allows nodes to have partial copies of the complete blockchain in order to increase overall network performance and consensus speeds. Shitcoin:
Coin with little potential or future prospects. Shill:
Spreading buzz by heavily promoting a particular coin in the community to create awareness. Short position:
Selling of a specific cryptocurrency with an expectation that it will drop in value. Silk road:
The online marketplace where drugs and other illicit items were traded for Bitcoin. This marketplace is using accessed through “TOR”, and VPNs. In October 2013, a Silk Road was shut down in by the FBI. Smart Contract:
Certain computational benchmarks or barriers that have to be met in turn for money or data to be deposited or even be used to verify things such as land rights. Software Wallet:
A crypto wallet that exists purely as software files on a computer. Usually, software wallets can be generated for free from a variety of sources. Solidity:
A cryptocoin with an extremely low volatility that can be used to trade against the overall market. Staking:
Staking is the process of actively participating in transaction validation (similar to mining) on a proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain. On these blockchains, anyone with a minimum-required balance of a specific cryptocurrency can validate transactions and earn Staking rewards. Surge:
When a crypto currency appreciates or goes up in price. Tank:
The opposite of mooning. When a coin tanks it can also be described as crashing. Tendies
For traders , the chief prize is “tendies” (chicken tenders, the treat an overgrown man-child receives for being a “Good Boy”) . Token:
A unit of value that represents a digital asset built on a blockchain system. A token is usually considered as a “coin” of a cryptocurrency, but it really has a wider functionality. TOR:
“The Onion Router” is a free web browser designed to protect users’ anonymity and resist censorship. Tor is usually used surfing the web anonymously and access sites on the “Darkweb”. Transaction fee:
An amount of money users are charged from their transaction when sending cryptocurrencies. Volatility:
A measure of fluctuations in the price of a financial instrument over time. High volatility in bitcoin is seen as risky since its shifting value discourages people from spending or accepting it. Wallet:
A file that stores all your private keys and communicates with the blockchain to perform transactions. It allows you to send and receive bitcoins securely as well as view your balance and transaction history. Whale:
An investor that holds a tremendous amount of cryptocurrency. Their extraordinary large holdings allow them to control prices and manipulate the market. Whitepaper:
A comprehensive report or guide made to understand an issue or help decision making. It is also seen as a technical write up that most cryptocurrencies provide to take a deep look into the structure and plan of the cryptocurrency/Blockchain project. Satoshi Nakamoto was the first to release a whitepaper on Bitcoin, titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” in late 2008.
And with that I finally complete my odyssey. I sincerely hope that this helped you and if you are new, I welcome you to crypto. If you read all of that I hope it increased, you in knowledge.
my final definition: Crypto-Family:
A collection of all the HODLers and crypto fanatics. A place where all people alike unite over a love for crypto.
We are all in this together as we pioneer the new world that is crypto currency. I wish you a great day and Happy HODLing.
feel free to comment words or terms that you feel should be included or about any errors I made.
Edit1:some fixes were made and added words.
This is a follow-up on https://old.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/hqzp14/technical_the_path_to_taproot_activation/
Taproot! Everybody wants it!! But... you might ask yourself: sure, everybody else
wants it, but why would I
, sovereign Bitcoin HODLer, want it? Surely I can be better than everybody else
because I swapped XXX fiat for Bitcoin unlike all those nocoiners?
And it is important for you to know the reasons why you, o sovereign Bitcoiner, would want Taproot activated. After all, your nodes (or the nodes your wallets use, which if you are SPV, you hopefully can pester to your wallet vendoimplementor about) need to be upgraded in order for Taproot activation to actually succeed instead of becoming a hot sticky mess.
First, let's consider some principles of Bitcoin.
- You the HODLer should be the one who controls where your money goes. Your keys, your coins.
- You the HODLer should be able to coordinate and make contracts with other people regarding your funds.
- You the HODLer should be able to do the above without anyone watching over your shoulder and judging you.
I'm sure most of us here would agree that the above are very important principles of Bitcoin and that these are principles we would not be willing to remove. If anything, we would want those principles strengthened (especially the last one, financial privacy, which current Bitcoin is only sporadically strong with: you can
get privacy, it just requires effort to do so).
So, how does Taproot affect those principles?
Taproot and Your /Coins
Most HODLers probably HODL their coins in singlesig addresses. Sadly, switching to Taproot would do very little for you (it gives a mild discount at spend time, at the cost of a mild increase in fee at receive time (paid by whoever sends to you, so if it's a self-send from a P2PKH or bech32 address, you pay for this); mostly a wash).
(technical details: a Taproot output is 1 version byte + 32 byte public key, while a P2WPKH (bech32 singlesig) output is 1 version byte + 20 byte public key hash, so the Taproot output spends 12 bytes more; spending from a P2WPKH requires revealing a 32-byte public key later, which is not needed with Taproot, and Taproot signatures are about 9 bytes smaller than P2WPKH signatures, but the 32 bytes plus 9 bytes is divided by 4 because of the witness discount, so it saves about 11 bytes; mostly a wash, it increases blockweight by about 1 virtual byte, 4 weight for each Taproot-output-input, compared to P2WPKH-output-input).
However, as your HODLings grow in value, you might start wondering if multisignature k-of-n setups might be better for the security of your savings. And it is in multisignature that Taproot starts to give benefits!
Taproot switches to using Schnorr signing scheme. Schnorr makes key aggregation -- constructing a single
public key from multiple public keys -- almost as trivial as adding numbers together. "Almost" because it involves some fairly advanced math instead of simple boring number adding, but hey when was the last time you added up your grocery list prices by hand huh?
With current P2SH and P2WSH multisignature schemes, if you have a 2-of-3 setup, then to spend, you need to provide two different signatures from two different public keys. With Taproot, you can create, using special moon math, a single public key that represents your 2-of-3 setup. Then you just put two of your devices together, have them communicate to each other (this can be done airgapped, in theory, by sending QR codes: the software to do this is not even being built yet, but that's because Taproot hasn't activated yet!), and they will make a single
signature to authorize any spend from your 2-of-3 address. That's 73 witness bytes -- 18.25 virtual bytes -- of signatures you save!
And if you decide that your current setup with 1-of-1 P2PKH / P2WPKH addresses is just fine as-is: well, that's the whole point of a soft
fork: backwards-compatibility; you can receive from Taproot users just fine, and once your wallet is updated for Taproot-sending support, you can send to Taproot users just fine as well!
(P2WPKH and P2WSH -- SegWit v0 -- addresses start with bc1q; Taproot -- SegWit v1 --- addresses start with bc1p, in case you wanted to know the difference; in bech32 q is 0, p is 1)
Now how about HODLers who keep all, or some, of their coins on custodial services? Well, any custodial service worth its salt would be doing at least
2-of-3, or probably something even bigger, like 11-of-15. So your custodial service, if it switched to using Taproot internally, could save a lot more (imagine an 11-of-15 getting reduced from 11 signatures to just 1!), which --- we can only hope! --- should translate to lower fees and better customer service from your custodial service!
So I think we can say, very accurately, that the Bitcoin principle --- that YOU are in control of your money --- can only be helped by Taproot (if you are doing multisignature), and, because P2PKH and P2WPKH remain validly-usable addresses in a Taproot future, will not be harmed by Taproot. Its benefit to this principle might be small (it mostly only benefits multisignature users) but since it has no drawbacks with this (i.e. singlesig users can continue to use P2WPKH and P2PKH still) this is still a nice, tidy win!
(even singlesig users get a minor benefit, in that multisig users will now reduce their blockchain space footprint, so that fees can be kept low for everybody; so for example even if you have your single set of private keys engraved on titanium plates sealed in an airtight box stored in a safe buried in a desert protected by angry nomads riding giant sandworms because you're the frickin' Kwisatz Haderach, you still gain some benefit from Taproot)
And here's the important part: if P2PKH/P2WPKH is working perfectly fine with you and you decide to never use Taproot yourself, Taproot will not affect you detrimentally
. First do no harm!
Taproot and Your Contracts
No one is an island, no one lives alone. Give and you shall receive. You know: by trading with other people, you can gain expertise in some obscure little necessity of the world (and greatly increase your productivity in that little field), and then trade the products of your expertise for necessities other people have created, all of you thereby gaining gains from trade.
So, contracts, which are basically enforceable agreements that facilitate trading with people who you do not personally know and therefore might not trust.
Let's start with a simple example. You want to buy some gewgaws from somebody. But you don't know them personally. The seller wants the money, you want their gewgaws, but because of the lack of trust (you don't know them!! what if they're scammers??) neither of you can benefit from gains from trade.
However, suppose both of you know of some entity that both of you trust. That entity can act as a trusted escrow. The entity provides you security: this enables the trade, allowing both of you to get gains from trade.
In Bitcoin-land, this can be implemented as a 2-of-3 multisignature. The three signatories in the multisgnature would be you, the gewgaw seller, and the escrow. You put the payment for the gewgaws into this 2-of-3 multisignature address.
Now, suppose it turns out neither of you are scammers (whaaaat!). You receive the gewgaws just fine and you're willing to pay up for them. Then you and the gewgaw seller just sign a transaction --- you and the gewgaw seller are 2, sufficient to trigger the 2-of-3 --- that spends from the 2-of-3 address to a singlesig the gewgaw seller wants (or whatever address the gewgaw seller wants).
But suppose some problem arises. The seller gave you gawgews instead of gewgaws. Or you decided to keep the gewgaws but not sign the transaction to release the funds to the seller. In either case, the escrow is notified, and if it can sign with you to refund the funds back to you (if the seller was a scammer) or it can sign with the seller to forward the funds to the seller (if you were a scammer).
Taproot helps with this: like mentioned above, it allows multisignature setups to produce only one signature, reducing blockchain space usage, and thus making contracts --- which require multiple people, by definition, you don't make contracts with yourself --- is made cheaper (which we hope enables
more of these setups to happen for more gains from trade for everyone, also, moon and lambos).
(technology-wise, it's easier to make an n-of-n than a k-of-n, making a k-of-n would require a complex setup involving a long ritual with many communication rounds between the n participants, but an n-of-n can be done trivially with some moon math. You can, however, make what is effectively a 2-of-3 by using a three-branch SCRIPT: either 2-of-2 of you and seller, OR 2-of-2 of you and escrow, OR 2-of-2 of escrow and seller. Fortunately, Taproot adds a facility to embed a SCRIPT inside a public key, so you can have a 2-of-2 Taprooted address (between you and seller) with a SCRIPT branch that can instead be spent with 2-of-2 (you + escrow) OR 2-of-2 (seller + escrow), which implements the three-branched SCRIPT above. If neither of you are scammers (hopefully the common case) then you both sign using your keys and never have to contact the escrow
, since you are just using the escrow public key without coordinating with them (because n-of-n is trivial but k-of-n requires setup with communication rounds), so in the "best case" where both of you are honest traders, you also
get a privacy boost, in that the escrow never learns you have been trading on gewgaws, I mean ewww, gawgews are much better than gewgaws and therefore I now judge you for being a gewgaw enthusiast, you filthy gewgawer).
Taproot and Your Contracts, Part 2: Cryptographic Boogaloo
Now suppose you want to buy some data instead of things. For example, maybe you have some closed-source software in trial mode installed, and want to pay the developer for the full version. You want to pay for an activation code.
This can be done, today, by using an HTLC. The developer tells you the hash of the activation code. You pay to an HTLC, paying out to the developer if it reveals the preimage (the activation code), or refunding the money back to you after a pre-agreed timeout. If the developer claims the funds, it has to reveal the preimage, which is the activation code, and you can now activate your software. If the developer does not claim the funds by the timeout, you get refunded.
And you can do that, with HTLCs, today.
Of course, HTLCs do have problems:
- Privacy. Everyone scraping the Bitcoin blockchain can see any HTLCs, and preimages used to claim them.
- This can be mitigated by using offchain techniques so HTLCs are never published onchain in the happy case. Lightning would probably in practice be the easiest way to do this offchain. Of course, there are practical limits to what you can pay on Lightning. If you are buying something expensive, then Lightning might not be practical. For example, the "software" you are activating is really the firmware of a car, and what you are buying is not the software really but the car itself (with the activation of the car firmware being equivalent to getting the car keys).
- Even offchain techniques need an onchain escape hatch in case of unresponsiveness! This means that, if something bad happens during payment, the HTLC might end up being published onchain anyway, revealing the fact that some special contract occurred.
- And an HTLC that is claimed with a preimage onchain will also publicly reveal the preimage onchain. If that preimage is really the activation key of a software than it can now be pirated. If that preimage is really the activation key for your newly-bought cryptographic car --- well, not your keys, not your car!
- Trust requirement. You are trusting the developer that it gives you the hash of an actual valid activation key, without any way to validate that the activation key hidden by the hash is actually valid.
Fortunately, with Schnorr (which is enabled by Taproot), we can now use the Scriptless Script constuction by Andrew Poelstra
. This Scriptless Script allows a new construction, the PTLC or Pointlocked Timelocked Contract. Instead of hashes and preimages, just replace "hash" with "point" and "preimage" with "scalar".
Or as you might know them: "point" is really "public key" and "scalar" is really a "private key". What a PTLC does is that, given a particular public key, the pointlocked branch can be spent only if the spender reveals the private key of the given public key to you.
Another nice thing with PTLCs is that they are deniable
. What appears onchain is just a single 2-of-2 signature between you and the developemanufacturer. It's like a magic trick. This signature has no special watermarks, it's a perfectly normal signature (the pledge). However, from this signature, plus some datta given to you by the developemanufacturer (known as the adaptor signature
) you can derive the private key of a particular public key you both agree on (the turn). Anyone scraping the blockchain will just see signatures that look just like every other signature, and as long as nobody manages to hack you and get a copy of the adaptor signature or the private key, they cannot get the private key behind the public key (point) that the pointlocked branch needs (the prestige).
(Just to be clear, the public key you are getting the private key from, is distinct from the public key that the developemanufacturer will use for its funds. The activation key is different from the developer's onchain Bitcoin key, and it is the activation key whose private key you will be learning, not the developer's/manufacturer's onchain Bitcoin key).
- Privacy: PTLCs are private even if done onchain. Nobody else can learn what the private key behind the public key is, except you who knows the adaptor signature that when combined with the complete onchain signature lets you know what the private key of the activation key is. Somebody scraping the blockchain will not learn the same information even if all PTLCs are done onchain!
- Lightning is still useful for reducing onchain use, and will also get PTLCs soon after Taproot is activated, but even if something bad happens and a PTLC has to go onchain, it doesn't reveal anything!
- Trust issues can be proven more easily with a public-private keypair than with a hash-preimage pair.
- For example, the developer of the software you are buying could provide a signature signing a message saying "unlock access to the full version for 1 day". You can check if feeding this message and signature to the program will indeed unlock full-version access for 1 day. Then you can check if the signature is valid for the purported pubkey whose private key you will pay for. If so, you can now believe that getting the private key (by paying for it in a PTLC) would let you generate any number of "unlock access to the full version for 1 day" message+signatures, which is equivalent to getting full access to the software indefinitely.
- For the car, the manufacturer can show that signing a message "start the engine" and feeding the signature to the car's fimrware will indeed start the engine, and maybe even let you have a small test drive. You can then check if the signature is valid for the purported pubkey whose privkey you will pay for. If so, you can now believe that gaining knowledge of the privkey will let you start the car engine at any time you want.
- (pedantry: the signatures need to be unique else they could be replayed, this can be done with a challenge-response sequence for the car, where the car gathers entropy somehow (it's a car, it probably has a bunch of sensors nowadays so it can get entropy for free) and uses the gathered entropy to challenge you to sign a random number and only start if you are able to sign the random number; for the software, it could record previous signatures somewhere in the developer's cloud server and refuse to run if you try to replay a previously-seen signature.)
Taproot lets PTLCs exist onchain because they enable Schnorr, which is a requirement of PTLCs / Scriptless Script.
(technology-wise, take note that Scriptless Script works only for the "pointlocked" branch of the contract; you need normal Script, or a pre-signed nLockTimed transaction, for the "timelocked" branch. Since Taproot can embed a script, you can have the Taproot pubkey be a 2-of-2 to implement the Scriptless Script "pointlocked" branch, then have a hidden script that lets you recover the funds with an OP_CHECKLOCKTIMEVERIFY after the timeout if the seller does not claim the funds.)
Now if you were really
paying attention, you might have noticed this parenthetical:
(technical details: a Taproot output is 1 version byte + 32 byte public key, while a P2WPKH (bech32 singlesig) output is 1 version byte + 20 byte public key hash...)
So wait, Taproot uses raw 32-byte public keys, and not public key hashes? Isn't that more quantum-vulnerable??
Well, in theory yes. In practice, they probably are not.
It's not that hashes can be broken by quantum computes --- they're still not. Instead, you have to look at how you spend from
a P2WPKH/P2PKH pay-to-public-key-hash.
When you spend from
a P2PKH / P2WPKH, you have to reveal the public key. Then Bitcoin hashes it and checks if this matches with the public-key-hash, and only then actually validates the signature for that public key.
So an unconfirmed transaction, floating in the mempools of nodes globally, will show, in plain sight for everyone to see, your public key.
(public keys should be public, that's why they're called public keys, LOL)
And if quantum computers are fast enough to be of concern, then they are probably fast enough that, in the several minutes to several hours from broadcast to confirmation, they have already cracked the public key that is openly broadcast with your transaction. The owner of the quantum computer can now replace your unconfirmed transaction with one that pays the funds to itself. Even if you did not opt-in RBF, miners are still incentivized to support RBF on RBF-disabled transactions.
So the extra hash is not as significant a protection against quantum computers as you might think. Instead, the extra hash-and-compare needed is just extra validation effort.
Further, if you have ever, in the past, spent from
the address, then there exists already a transaction indelibly stored on the blockchain, openly displaying the public key from which quantum computers can derive the private key. So those are still vulnerable to quantum computers.
For the most part, the cryptographers behind Taproot (and Bitcoin Core) are of the opinion that quantum computers capable of cracking Bitcoin pubkeys are unlikely to appear within a decade or two.
- Current quantum computers can barely crack prime factorization problem for primes of 5 bits.
- The 256-bit elliptic curve use by Bitcoin is, by my (possibly wrong) understanding, equivalent to 4096-bit primes, so you can see a pretty big gap between now (5 bit primes) and what is needed (4096 bit primes).
- A lot of financial non-Bitcoin systems use the equivalent of 3072-bit primes or less, and are probably easier targets to crack than the equivalent-to-4096-bit-primes Bitcoin.
- Quantum computers capable of cracking Bitcoin are still far off.
- Pay-to-public-key-hash is not as protective as you might think.
- We will probably see banks get cracked before Bitcoin, so the banking system is a useful canary-in-a-coal-mine to see whether we should panic about being quantum vulnerable.
For now, the homomorphic and linear properties of elliptic curve cryptography provide a lot of benefits --- particularly the linearity property is what enables Scriptless Script and simple multisignature (i.e. multisignatures that are just 1 signature onchain). So it might be a good idea to take advantage of them now while we are still fairly safe against quantum computers. It seems likely that quantum-safe signature schemes are nonlinear (thus losing these advantages).
- If you are a singlesig HODL-only Bitcoin user, Taproot will not affect you positively or negatively. Importantly: Taproot does no harm!
- If you use or intend to use multisig, Taproot will be a positive for you.
- If you transact onchain regularly using typical P2PKH/P2WPKH addresses, you get a minor reduction in feerates since multisig users will likely switch to Taproot to get smaller tx sizes, freeing up blockspace for yours.
- If you are using multiparticipant setups for special systems of trade, Taproot will be a positive for you.
- Remember: Lightning channels are multipartiicpiant setups for special systems of lightning-fast offchain trades!
I Wanna Be The Taprooter!
So, do you want to help activate Taproot? Here's what you
, mister sovereign Bitcoin HODLer, can do!
- If you have developer experience especially in C, C++, or related languages
- Review the Taproot code! There is one pull request in Bitcoin Core, and one in libsecp256k1. I deliberately am not putting links here, to avoid brigades of nontechnical but enthusiastic people leaving pointless reviews, but if you are qualified you know how to find them!
- But I am not a cryptographeBitcoin Core contributomathematician/someone as awesome as Pieter Wuille
- That's perfectly fine! The cryptographers have been over the code already and agree the math is right and the implementation is right. What is wanted is the dreary dreary dreary software engineering: are the comments comprehensive and understandable? no misspellings in the comments? variable names understandable? reasonable function naming convention? misleading coding style? off-by-one errors in loops? conditions not covered by tests? accidental mixups of variables with the same types? missing frees? read-before-init? better test coverage of suspicious-looking code? missing or mismatching header guards? portability issues? consistent coding style? you know, stuff any coder with a few years of experience in coding anything might be able to catch. With enough eyes all bugs are shallow!
- If you are running a mining pool/mining operation/exchange/custodial service/SPV server
- Be prepared to upgrade!
- One of the typical issues with upgrading software is that subtle incompatibilities with your current custom programs tend to arise, disrupting operations and potentially losing income due to downtime. If so, consider moving to the two-node setup suggested by gmax, which is in the last section of my previous post. With this, you have an up-to-date "public" node and a fixed-version "private" node, with the public node protecting the private node from any invalid chainsplits or invalid transactions. Moving to this setup from a typical one-node setup should be smooth and should not disrupt operations (too much).
- If you are running your own fullnode for fun or for your own wallet
- Be prepared to upgrade! The more nodes validating the new rules (even if you are a non-mining node!), the safer every softfork will be!
- If you are using an SPV wallet or custodial wallet/service (including hardware wallets using the software of the wallet provider)
- Contact your wallet provider / SPV server and ask for a statement on whether they support Taproot, and whether they are prepared to upgrade for Taproot! Make it known to them that Taproot is something you want!
But I Hate Taproot!!
- Raise your objections to Taproot now, or forever hold your peace! Maybe you can raise them here and some of the devs (probably nullc, he goes everywhere, even in rbtc!) might be able to see your objections! Or if your objections are very technical, head over to the appropriate pull request and object away!
- Maybe you simply misunderstand something, and we can clarify it here!
- Or maybe you do have a good objection, and we can make Taproot better by finding a solution for it!
Discussions About Taproot Activation
That is to say that this list contains words that this list contains words that:
- Usually aren't instantly guess-able (like star, apple, or Nike).
- Can be played with a group of acquaintances (I play with a group of interns at work to blow off time)
- It contains some proper nouns which I believe to be well-known enough (like Simpsons or Spiderman).
Created this list by modifying an existing difficult word list we found online and adding a bunch of new words. If you see a stupid difficult word, it was probably a word from the existing difficult word list that I forgot to remove. (amicable and reimbursement were the type of bs I removed lol).
abraham lincoln, accordion, accounting, acre, actor, adidas, advertisement, air conditioner, aircraft carrier, airport security, alarm clock, alcohol, alert, alice in wonderland, alphabet, altitude, amusement park, angel, angle, angry, ankle, apathetic, apathy, apparatus, applause, application, apron, archaeologist, archer, armada, arrows, art gallery, ashamed, asteroid, athlete, atlantis, atlas, atmosphere, attack, attic, audi, aunt, austin powers, australia, author, avalanche, avocado, award, baby, baby-sitter, back flip, back seat, baggage, baguette, baker, balance beam, bald, balloon, bamboo, banister, barbershop, barney, baseboards, bat, beans, beanstalk, beard, bed and breakfast, bedbug, beer pong, belt, beluga whale, berlin wall, bible, biceps, bikini, binder, biohazard, biology, birthday, biscuit, bisexual, bitcoin, black hole, blacksmith, bleach, blizzard, blueprint, bluetooth, blunt, blush, boa constrictor, bobsled, bonnet, book, bookend, bookstore, border, boromir, bottle cap, boulevard, boundary, bow tie, bowling, boxing, braces, brain, brainstorm, brand, bride, bride wig, bruise, brunette, bubble, bubble bath, bucket, buckle, buffalo, bugs bunny, bulldog, bumble bee, bunny, burrito, bus, bushel, butterfly, buzz lightyear, cabin, cable car, cadaver, cake, calculator, calendar, calf, calm, camera, cannon, cape, captain, captain america, car, car accident, carat, cardboard, carnival, carpenter, carpet, cartography, cartoon, cartoonist, castaway, castle, cat, catalog, cattle, cd, ceiling, cell, cellar, centimetre, centipede, century, chain mail, chain saw, chair, champion, chandelier, channel, chaos, charger, chariot, chariot racing, check, cheerleader, cheerleader dust, chef, chemical, cherub, chess, chevrolet, chick-fil-a, chicken coop, chicken legs, chicken nugget, chime, chimney, china, chisel, chord, church, circus tent, clamp, classroom, cleaning spray, cliff, cliff diving, climate, clique, cloak, clog, clown, clue, coach, coast, cockpit, coconut, coffee, coil, comedian, comfy, commercial, community, companion, company, compare, comparison, compromise, computer, computer monitor, con, confidant, confide, consent, constrictor, convenience store, conversation, convertible, conveyor belt, copyright, cord, corduroy, coronavirus, correct, cot, country, county fair, courthouse, cousin, cowboy, coworker, cramp, crane, cranium, crate, crayon, cream, creator, credit, crew, crib, crime, crisp, criticize, crop duster, crow's nest, cruise, cruise ship, crumbs, crust, cubicle, cubit, cupcake, curtain, cushion, customer, cutlass, czar, dab, daffy duck, dance, danger, darth vader, darts, dashboard, daughter, dead end, deadpool, deceive, decipher, deep, default, defect, degree, deliver, demanding, demon, dent, dentist, deodorant, depth, descendant, destruction, detail, detective, diagonal, dice, dictate, disco, disc jockey, discovery, disgust, dismantle, distraction, ditch, diver, diversify, diversity, diving, divorce, dizzy, dodge ball, dog, dolphin, donald trump, doorbell, doppelganger, dorsal, double, doubloon, doubt, doubtful, download, downpour, dragon, drain, dream, dream works, dress shirt, drift, drip, dripping, drive-through, drought, drowning, drugstore, dryer, dryer sheet, dryer sheets, dugout, dumbbell, dumbo, dust, dust bunny, duvet, earache, earmuffs, earthquake, economics, edge, edit, education, eel, effect, egg, eiffel tower, eighteen-wheeler, electrical outlet, elf, elope, emigrate, emotions, emperor, employee, enemy, engaged, equation, error, eureka, everglades, evolution, exam, exercise, exhibition, expired, explore, exponential, extension, extension cord, eyeball, fabric, factory, fad, fade, fake flowers, family tree, fan, fast food, faucet, feather, feeder road, feeling, ferris wheel, fiddle, figment, finding nemo, firefighter, firefox, fireman, fireman pole, fireplace, fireside, fireworks, first class, first mate, fish bone, fishing, fizz, flag, flat, flavor, flight, flip flops, flock, florist, flotsam, flowchart, flower, flu, flute, flutter, flying saucer, fog, foil, food court, football player, forklift, form, forrest gump, fossil, fowl, fragment, frame, fresh water, freshwater, friction, fries, front, frost, fuel, full, full moon, fun, fun house, funnel, fur, galaxy, gallon, gallop, game, gamer, garden, garden hose, gas station, gasoline, gavel, gentleman, geologist, germ, germany, geyser, giant, ginger, giraffe, gladiator, glasses, glitter, glue, glue stick, goalkeeper, goatee, goblin, gold, gold medal, golden retriever, gondola, good-bye, government, gown, graduation, grain, grandpa, gratitude, graveyard, gravity, great-grandfather, grenade, grill, grim reaper, groom, groot, group, guess, guillotine, gumball, guru, gymnast, hail, hair dryer, haircut, half, hand soap, handful, handle, hang, hang glider, hang ten, harry potter, hawaii, hay wagon, hearse, heater, heaven, helmet, hermit crab, high heel, high tops, highchair, hitler, hockey, homework, honk, hoodies, hoop, hopscotch, hot, hot dog, hot fuzz, hot tub, hotel, houseboat, human, humidity, hunter, hurdle, husband, hut, hydrant, hydrogen, hypothermia, ice, ice cream cone, ice fishing, icicle, idea, igloo, illuminati, implode, important, improve, in-law, incisor, income, income tax, index, inertia, infect, inglorious bastards, inside out, insurance, interception, interference, interject, internet, invent, invisible, invitation, iron man, ironic, irrational, irrigation, isaac newton, island, ivy, ivy full, jackhammer, japan, jaw, jazz, jedi, jellyfish, jet lag, jig, jigsaw, joke, joker, journal, juggle, jump rope, jungle, junk, junk drawer, junk mail, justice, kangaroo, ketchup, kill bill, killer, kilogram, kim possible, kiss, kitten, kiwi, kit-kat, kneel, knight, koala, lace, lady bug, ladybug, lamp, lance, landfill, landlord, lap, laptop, last, laundry detergent, layover, leak, leap year, learn, leather, lebron james, lecture, legolas, leprechaun, letter, letter opener, lettuce, level, lice, lichen, lie, lifeguard, lifejacket, lifestyle, light, lightning, lightning mcqueen, lightsaber, limit, lion, lipstick, living room, lobster, logo, loiterer, lollipop, loonie, lord of the rings, lottery, love, loveseat, loyalty, lullaby, lumberjack, lumberyard, lunar eclipse, lunar rover, lung, lyrics, macaroni, machete, machine, macho, magnet, mailbox, makeup, mammoth, manatee, mark zuckerberg, martian, mascot, mascot fireman, mask, mast, mastercard, mat, mayhem, mechanic, megaphone, member, memory, mercedes benz, mermaid, meteor, michael scott, michelangelo, microscope, microsoft, microsoft word, microwave, midnight, migrate, millionaire, mime, mine, mine car, miner, minivan, mirror, missile, mitten, mohawk, moisturizer, molar, mold, mom, monsoon, monster, monsters inc, mooch, moonwalk, moth, mount rushmore, mozart, mr potato head, mulan, mummy, music, mysterious, myth, name, nanny, naruto, navigate, negotiate, neighborhood, nemo, nepal, nest, netflix, neutron, newsletter, night, nightmare, nike, north pole, nose, nostril, nurse, nutmeg, oar, obey, observatory, office, offstage, olive oil, olympics, one-way street, opaque, optometrist, orange juice, orbit, organ, organize, ornament, ornithologist, ounce, oven, owl, oyster, pacific ocean, pacifier, page, pail, pain, palace, pancakes, panda, panic, pantyhose, paper plate, paperclip, parade, paranoid, parent, parking garage, parley, parody, partner, password, pastry, patrick starr, pawnshop, peace, peacock, peanut, peasant, pelt, pen pal, pendulum, pepsi, periwinkle, personal, pest, pet store, petroleum, pharaoh, pharmacist, philosopher, phineas and ferb, phone, photo, piano, pickup truck, picnic, pigpen, pigtails, pile, pilgrim, pilot, pinboard, pineapple express, ping pong, pink panther, pipe, pirate, pizza, pizza sauce, plan, plank, plantation, plastic, playground, pleasure, plow, plumber, pocket, pocket watch, point, pokeball, pokemon, pole, police, pomp, pompous, pong, popeye, population, portfolio, positive, positive champion, post, post office, practice, president, preteen, prey, prime meridian, printer ink, prize, produce, professor, profit, promise, propose, protestant, psychologist, publisher, pumpkin, pumpkin pie, punching bag, punishment, punk, puppet, putty, quadrant, quarantine, quartz, queue, quicksand, quit, quiver, raccoon, race, raft, rage, rainbow, raindrop, rainwater, random, raphael, ratatouille, ratchet, ray, reaction, realm, ream, receipt, recess, record, recorder, recycle, referee, refund, regret, religion, remain, resourceful, rest stop, retail, retire, reveal, revenge, reward, rhyme, rhythm, rib, rick and morty, riddle, right, rim, rind, ringleader, risk, rival, robe, robot, rock band, rocket, rodeo, roller coaster, roommate, roundabout, rowboat, rubber, ruby, rudder, runt, rv, s'mores, safe, salmon, salt, sand castle, sandbox, sandbox bruise, sandpaper, santa claus, sap, sapphire, sash, sasquatch, satellite, saturn, sausage, saxophone, scarf, scatter, schedule, school, school bus, science, scissors, scooby doo, scrambled eggs, scream, screwdriver, script, scuba diving, scythe, seahorse, season, seat, seat belt, seed, serial killer, servant, sewer, shaft, shakespeare, shame, shampoo, sheep, sheets, shelter, sherlock holmes, shipwreck, shoelace, shopping cart, shotgun wedding, shower, shower curtain, shrew, shrink, shrink ray, sickle, sidekick, siesta, signal, silhouette, silt, simba, simpsons, skateboard, skating rink, ski goggles, ski lift, skip, skipping rope, skydiving, slack, sleep, sleet, slim shady, slipper, slump, snag, snapchat, sneeze, snooze, snore, snow globe, snowball, snowflake, soak, social distancing, socks, softball, solar eclipse, somersault, song, sophomore, soul, soulmate, soviet russia, space, space-time, spaceship, spaghetti, spare, speakers, spiderman, spirited away, sponge, spoon, spotify, spring, sprinkler, squat, stage, stage fright, stagecoach, stairs, staple, starbucks, starfish, startup, star trek, statement, stationery, statue of liberty, stay, steamboat, steel drum, stethoscope, stew, stewie griffin, sticky note, stingray, stockings, stork, storm trooper, story, stout, stowaway, stranger, strawberry, streamline, student, stuff, stun, submarine, sugar, suit, sun, sunburn, sunlight, sunscreen, superbad, superman, surfing, sushi, swamp, swarm, sweater, swim shorts, swing dancing, switzerland, swimming, syringe, system, tachometer, taco bell, tadpole, tag, tank, tattle, taxes, taxi, teabag, team, tearful, teenage mutant ninja turtle, teenager, teepee, telepathy, telephone booth, telescope, temper, ten, tesla, testify, tetris, thanos, the beatles, the dark knight, the prestige, theory, think, thread, thrift store, throne, ticket, tide, time, timeline, time machine, time zone, tin, tinting, tiptoe, tire, tissue box, toast, today, toddler, toilet paper, toll road, tomato sauce, tombstone, toothbrush, toothpaste, top hat, torch, tornado, toronto maple leafs, tourist, tournament, tow, tow truck, toy store, toy story, trademark, traffic jam, trail, trailer, train, train tracks, transformers, translate, transpose, trapped, trash bag, trash can, trawler, treatment, trench coat, tricycle, trip, trombone, truck, truck stop, tsunami, tub, tuba, tug, tugboat, turret, tutor, tutu, twang, twitter, umbrella, unemployed, united states, university, upgrade, vacation, vampire, van, vanilla, vanquish, vegan, vegetarian, vehicle, vein, venn diagram, vest, villain, violent, vision, vitamin, voice, voicemail, volleyball, wag, wall-e, wallet, wallow, wasabi, washing machine, water, water buffalo, water cycle, water vapor, wax, wealth, weather, wedding, wedding cake, weed, welder, werewolf, wet, wetlands, whale, whatsapp, whey, whip, whiplash, whisk, wifi, wig, wikipedia, win, wind, winnie the pooh, wish, witch, wizard, wolverine, woody, workout, world, wormhole, writhe, yacht, yak, yard, yardstick, yawn, yeti, yin yang, yoda, yodel, yolk, youtube, zamboni, zen, zero, zeus, zip code, zipper, zombie, zombieland, zoo
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