Andreas Antonopoulos, a well known Bitcoin educator, has gone public in saying that he would appreciate a greater amount of privacy features in Bitcoin. Even so, Antonopoulos also expressed his belief that such a move isn’t likely to happen, at least not soon.
Antonopoulos: Private BTC Simply Not Viable
Through his YouTube channel, Antonopoulos hosted a live-stream Q&A on the 7th of July, 2020. There, he stated that Bitcoin (BTC) would probably not implement privacy features that are similar to that of the Monero cryptocurrency (XMR).
As reasoning, Antonopoulos explained that if BTC created such features in its network, a large amount of controversy would be stoked. Another key reason why he is convinced this won’t happen, is the structure of Bitcoin’s network itself. Simply put, the building blocks of Bitcoin doesn’t allow for stealth addresses or ring signatures, according to Antonopoulos.
Proposed Additions Provides Limited Anonymity
Antonopoulos explained that he expects to see something like Taproot, Schnorr, or Tapscript on the Bitcoin network, which will allow for a range of improvements on the network. Even so, none of these inclusions will add types of ring signatures, zero-knowledge proofs, or even stealth addresses, which Monero does on the regular. Antonopoulos simply stated that Bitcoin isn’t a privacy coin, and won’t ever be one, in all likelihood.
The aforementioned features, such as Taproot, Tapscript (which is just a scripting update for Taproot), and Schnorr are all things the crypto community cites as a potential privacy booster for Bitcoin.
A Pseudonymous Network
Andrew Poelstra stands as the Director of Research at the Blockstream blockchain firm. He has gone public in stating that Taproot has the potential to make any transaction on the network indistinguishable from others like it within the Bitcoin Network. Even so, Poelstra warned that the transaction graphs and the amounts within these transactions are still exposed, and warns that these pose a greater issue to address in terms of obfuscating it.
Another possibility comes from Schnorr, who works at the bases of a multi-signature scheme, or MuSig. Poelstra stated that this method, in turn, doesn’t reveal the original set of signers, nor does it even provide the exact number of signers when it comes to MuSig transactions.
With all of these factors taken into consideration, it’s better to consider Bitcoin pseudonymous, rather than completely anonymous. This is due to the fact that many of these transactions could be tracked on the BTC blockchain, even with these privacy improvements. If nothing more, it’ll just make the job harder to do.