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Lightning Labs Unleashes Taproot Assets Alpha

Lightning Labs bitcoin crypto

On October 18, 2023, Lightning Labs, the developer behind Bitcoin’s layer-2 infrastructure, introduced the Taproot Assets protocol to the main network. This protocol opens the door to creating stablecoins and other assets on Bitcoin and the Lightning Network. It equips developers with the tools to manage assets on Bitcoin and integrate them into the layer-two (L2) network.

The Taproot upgrade for Bitcoin represents a monumental advancement, akin to the significant Segregated Witness (SegWit) upgrade in 2017. While SegWit enhanced network privacy and efficiency, Taproot takes it to a grander scale with far-reaching potential in the coming years.

One of Taproot’s standout features is its potential to drive smart contract adoption. Smart contracts can eliminate intermediaries from transactions and open the door to decentralized finance (DeFi) on Bitcoin, all while safeguarding user privacy.

The currently available Taproot Assets version 0.3 empowers developers with a comprehensive suite of tools and features for issuing, managing, and auditing stablecoins and a range of other assets on the Bitcoin blockchain. According to Ryan Gentry, Head of Business Development at Lightning Labs, this protocol is nothing short of a game-changer, as he highlighted in a recent blog post.

Another noteworthy feature of the protocol is the Multiverse mode, allowing a single server to manage “universes” for multiple assets. These universes store all essential data for wallets to engage with a specific asset, facilitating the creation of blockchain explorers for these assets.

This version also delivers enhancements in security, scalability, and user experience, with the inclusion of Schnorr signatures, PSBTs, and witness fields, bolstering its resilience.

In the lead-up to the mainnet alpha launch, almost 2,000 Taproot Assets were tested on the testnets, with nodes synchronizing with the Universe server over 420,000 times over several months. The “alpha” tag signifies ongoing development, with the community expected to test it for potential issues.

The next significant milestone is enabling asset transactions through Bitcoin’s L2 system. When payment channel support is incorporated, global users can seamlessly send and receive stablecoins and tokens with minimal fees, leveraging Bitcoin’s liquidity and expansive node network.

This is just the beginning. The Taproot Assets team aspires to make Lightning a network that accommodates multiple assets. The prospect of transferring any currency via the Lightning Network, using Bitcoin’s liquidity, is now closer to reality.

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