On Monday, February 18, blockchain tech firm Blockstream announced the release of new test code. Based on the Schnorr-based multi-signature scheme MuSig, this is supposedly one of the biggest upgrades for the Bitcoin blockchain network.
Last year in May 2018, Blockstream’s Bitcoin developers released a paper showing the Schnorr multi-signature (MuSig) technology. Basically, this technology aims to make the Bitcoin network scalable. Also, the paper notes that MuSig holds the capability to reduce transaction size and “improve both performance and user privacy in Bitcoin”.
Furthermore, the paper also notes that MuSig is designed as “a protocol that allows a group of signers to produce a short, joint signature on a common message”. The “MuSig” technology by Blockstream adds a cryptographic library. Thus, it allows developers to find possible bugs while tinkering with the Schnorr signature scheme.
Turning MuSig Into a Usable Code
Today’s announcement mentions that the Blockstream team is now pushing MuSig concept in a usable code. In the official announcement, Blockstream mathematician Andrew Poelstra wrote:
“We’ve been turning MuSig from an academic paper into usable code, and this week we merged that code into secp256k1-zkp, a fork of secp256k1, the high-assurance cryptographic library used by Bitcoin Core.”
In the announcement, the developers also explain the reason to create MuSig. They refer to MuSig as a “misuse-resistant API without sharp corners, and which doesn’t encourage dangerous usage patterns even in constrained environments”. MuSig technology also talks about developing security in the public key model by enhancing verification efficiency.
Most of the Bitcoin developers have lauded this development calling it as a positive upgrade. Some developers are further thinking of new technologies that can be built on the top of MuSig. They are thinking of using MuSig to anonymize transactions on the Lightning network.
“As the bitcoin community is exploring the use of Schnorr signatures in bitcoin we hope that our code will eventually be merged into the upstream library secp256k1 used by bitcoin core and many other projects,” Poelstra added.
In December 2018, Blockstream added the support for lightning network transactions while allowing users to pay for its services. Blockstream also expanded its operations to the Asia-Pacific region besides already having operations in the North and South America, Europe, and Africa.
Chris Cook, head of the Blockstream Satellite project, said:
“While satellite communications have traditionally been cost-prohibitive, Blockstream Satellite will finally allow developers to adopt satellite communications in their applications.”