Lightning, Taproot and Bitcoin Future

The first day of Keyfest 2022, a virtual Bitcoin conference hosted by Casa, focused on the future of Bitcoin – exciting apps being developed and others growing in user numbers – and the continued growth of the Bitcoin network. with regards to on-chain metrics and overall socio-economic impact on the adopting world.

In a panel for select attendees, titled “Casa Annual Summit,” Casa CEO Nick Neuman was joined by Casa CTO Jameson Lopp, its head of customer services Andrew Yang and its chief security officer, Ron Stoner.

Before going into specific details about Casa’s 2021, they discussed some fascinating stats around Bitcoin that are quite indicative of the network’s future expectations and latest achievements.

SegWit and taproot

The 2017 separate cookie upgrade separated the cookie from the list of entries, which prevents transaction malleability or the ability to change the information provided in a transaction. With limited access, the witness does not allow this malleability to occur. SegWit also allowed the soft fork to increase block capacity without the need for a hard fork or new chain.

SegWit was not instantly picked up by every node, and adoption takes time. One of the stats discussed by Casa was that 86% of Bitcoin network transactions are now SegWit.

Speakers then made an obvious comparison to the adoption of Taproot. Four years later, 14% of transactions are carried out without SegWit. Likewise, the adoption of paid addresses at Taproot, as well as other changes that come with Taproot, will take time.

But isn’t it encouraging to imagine the network in four more years? What new apps will we explore with Taproot?

Lightning Network Growth

Throughout Keyfest, speakers discussed the immense growth we’ve seen as the Lightning Network, the Bitcoin Layer 2 protocol designed to handle small, everyday transactions, continues to push the boundaries of adoption.

Lightning launched in June 2018 with a capacity that would reach 1,104 BTC just 11 months later. From January to September 2021, this total capacity increased from 1,058 BTC to 2,968 BTC, an increase of 181%!

The total number of public Lightning channels reached over 70,000 in September 2021. Nodes, channels, and capacity all appear to be pointing “up and to the right.” It’s amazing to see this happening in real time, because an opt-out financial system allows wealth accumulation without permission. Now for Casa.

Casa changes in 2021

A number of newly added Casa features were hinted at during this first session of Keyfest. First, Casa announced that it would support Taproot addresses – an obvious choice for a platform trying to consider future adoption.

He also announced integrations for Keystone and Foundation hardware, and added QR code transfer for encrypted keys, as some people had issues with the previously used cloud backup that allows the user to store the keys locally, rather than requiring the use of the cloud. This change gives the user more choice in recovery options.

Additionally, changes to legacy features allow for a simplified process and in some cases will not require the assistance of a Casa employee through the use of automation, and in other cases will no contract will be required. Customers are now offered a referral program, as Casa said many of its users are referrals. Dollar Average Cost (DCA) functionality has also been added, along with support for Spectre. Specter allows users to use their personal nodes to verify Casa processes with their own machines, and Casa actually provides guides on how to do this. This allows users to have more control over their keys in Casa, as they can monitor the balance from their own node.

Casa’s engineering team has doubled, allowing it to make its microservices more modular and adaptable to change while creating higher levels of efficiency. It was also able to continuously test and isolate attack attempts from its internal system.

The future of bitcoin

The second session of Keyfest focused on the question, what does the future of Bitcoin look like?

Neuman returned for this panel and was joined by Peter McCormack from the “What Bitcoin Did” podcast, as well as Obi Nwosu, co-founder of Coinfloor.

Going back to the Lightning conversation, the focus was on network growth and accessibility. The creation of Lightning led to the emergence of Bitcoin Beach, a local community of opt-out citizens in El Salvador who decided that Bitcoin worked better for them than the local currency. The world began to take notice, as did the government of their home country.

Nwosu’s hopes pointed to Nigeria as he discussed the continued adoption of Bitcoin, stablecoins and altcoins in that region. The naira has become deeply inflated, losing absurd value over the past 30 years. Many people there are turning to anything that allows them to withdraw from the naira. Stablecoins like tether allow them to hold at least some amounts of currency instead of letting the government cannibalize its value, and bitcoin, along with altcoins, provide hope for creating wealth outside of their existing system. Now obviously we want the Nigerian people to be on a bitcoin standard, but their look at outside assets is the start, the spark.

Nueman spoke about Casa’s hopes to provide greater security for Casa users and to accomplish smoother on-ramps in the future. It becomes an inherent part of the conversation as we ponder the idea of ​​other countries adopting a bitcoin standard. We can see that the countries that need it the most are the ones that have the most difficulty finding an easy-to-use or accessible ramp. When the topic of adoption in these parts of the world arose, Neuman said it started with the fact that almost everyone had a smartphone of some kind, which means that’s where application layers must be, but he referred to a more granular exploration of Nwosu.

Nwosu then discussed the need to further decentralize and strengthen the network. With B Trust, one of its goals is to onboard and educate the world’s developers who are in these areas. Few people are better at designing solutions for a people than those who experience the problems themselves. As Nwosu said, “Einsteins don’t just exist in North America and Europe.”

Nwosu went on to explain that most people in these parts of the world still rely on exchanges for storage purposes. This need to decentralize and strengthen the network leads to the obvious but elegant solution of collaborative second-party custody, which is currently used in El Zonte, El Salvador. Essentially, this is where multiple people come together, and through a shared wallet using multisig, each user pools their bitcoin, creating a local bank or credit union.

Nwosu also expressed his opinion that nation states have proven to be the best educators on Bitcoin (insert shy smile). It happens when we have places like China or Turkey crashing with a ban hammer and trying to stop adoption. In both cases, people pulled out of their current systems and found something that actually worked for them. Banning an asset like bitcoin leads to increased curiosity and increased conviction. It’s getting to the point where we almost want countries to ban bitcoin, right?

The future of Bitcoin is focused on continuing decentralization by increasing nodes for Bitcoin Core and Lightning, while deepening education as organizations and individuals like Nwosu focus on bringing in new technology development talent. places that need help. Meanwhile, we turn to the world of increased Taproot adoption and app promotion, which brought us to the final conversation of the day.

Node apps

This part of the conversation largely focused on the apps the panel was excited about and why those different apps matter. John Tinkelenberg, content marketing manager for Casa; Matt Hill, CEO of Start9 Labs; and Lamar Wilson, co-founder of Black Bitcoin Billionaire moderated this session.

The beginning of the conversation started with the understanding that nodes have long been the backbone of the Bitcoin network. They serve as necessary validators to ensure that blocks continue to accurately represent the data they contain. As Bitcoin has progressed, these nodes also allow further decentralization by running your own server. Having your own server means having control over your data. It is a personal responsibility.

The theme of this conversation was: the more you want to be free, the more responsible you have to be. The focus was on creating your individual sovereignty by taking responsibility for your existence in the network by managing your own node. Immersing yourself in and learning every aspect of what it takes to be on the network and be responsible for it is what keeps many Bitcoiners maintaining their belief and ability to innovate in the space.

When asked to explain the differences between Umbrel and Start9, Hill continued to express these values ​​by explaining that one, he is clearly biased, and two, that people should do their homework on a platform. before getting involved. While there are similarities in these different platforms that make running a Node more accessible, there are also some big differences between them. It is the responsibility of each sovereign individual to do this research and find the platform that works best for them. Here are some fun apps that were discussed:

  • Sphinx Chat: Decentralized end-to-end communication that serves as a way to decentralize social media. Giving creators ownership of their content without central servers holding everyone’s data and allowing fans to pay creators directly.
  • Bitwarden: Open Source Password Manager That Works Exceptionally Well
  • Matrix: Think Slack but without centralized servers. Open source and decentralized
  • Embassy OS: “A consumer-grade graphical operating system designed to facilitate the discovery, installation, configuration, private self-hosting, and reliable operation of open source software services and applications,” according to Open Source Libs. “It aims to eliminate trust and custody of personal computing.”

Conclusion

The first day sessions of Keyfest provided a great introduction to what Bitcoiners and Casa want the future of Bitcoin and app development to look like. There is a clear focus on providing greater security and knowledge to the community as a whole and continuing to decentralize the network with continued progress that will enable higher levels of adoption in places that need it the most.

This is a guest post by Shawn Amick. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.

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