How Are Bitcoin Changes Approved?

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Unraveling the system behind Bitcoin changes can seem like a daunting task. Did you know that each modification goes through a formal process known as a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP)? This blog post will guide you through the intricate details of how these BIPs are crafted, discussed and eventually approved by the wider community.

Hold on tight – it’s time to peek under the hood of Bitcoin governance!

How Are Bitcoin Changes Approved?

Bitcoin changes are approved through a decentralized consensus mechanism involving network participants. Initially, proposed changes are formalized as Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs).

These BIPs detail the suggested modifications, providing a clear rationale and technical specifications. After submission, the BIP undergoes rigorous scrutiny from developers, miners, and other stakeholders in the Bitcoin community.

For a change to be implemented, it typically needs to achieve a broad consensus. This ensures that no single entity can unilaterally alter the protocol. Once consensus is reached, miners incorporate the approved changes by updating their software.

This democratic, consensus-driven approach safeguards Bitcoin’s decentralized nature and ensures its organic evolution.

Key Takeaways

  • Bitcoin changes are approved through a formal process called a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP).
  • BIPs are technical documents that outline proposed enhancements or changes to the Bitcoin protocol.
  • The community works towards reaching a consensus on whether the proposed changes should be implemented.
  • Examples of famous BIPs include SegWit and Taproot, which have brought significant improvements to the Bitcoin network.

Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs)

A BIP is a technical document that outlines proposed enhancements or changes to the Bitcoin protocol.

What is a BIP?

A BIP is a way to suggest changes to Bitcoin. It stands for Bitcoin Improvement Proposal. People who use or work on Bitcoin may see something that could be better. They write their idea in a BIP.

Usually, it’s developers or community members who write these ideas down. But anyone can make one if they have a good idea! The goal is to make Bitcoin better for everyone using it.

Creation of BIPs

BIPs are created by Bitcoin developers or community members who want to make changes or improvements to the Bitcoin network.

  • BIPs are technical documents that outline the proposed changes and enhancements.
  • The author of a BIP presents their idea to the Bitcoin community in a pitch.
  • The pitch includes details about why the change is needed and how it will benefit the Bitcoin network.
  • Once the pitch is made, the author collaborates with other developers and community members to refine the proposal.
  • Feedback from the community helps to shape and improve the BIP before it is formally submitted.
  • When a BIP is ready, it is assigned a number and added to the official BIP repository.

Types of BIPs

There are three different types of Bitcoin Improvement Proposals: Standard, Process, and Informational. Each type has a distinct purpose and serves a unique function within the Bitcoin network.

StandardThis is the most common type of BIP. Standard BIPs propose changes to the network protocol, block or transaction validation, or anything affecting interoperability.
ProcessThese BIPs describe a process surrounding Bitcoin or propose a change in a process. They often require community consensus, however, they don’t propose any new features or updates for the Bitcoin network.
InformationalInformational BIPs are meant to design issues, general guidelines, or information for the Bitcoin community. They do not propose any new features or updates, nor do they require community consensus.

Each type of BIP contributes to the development and enhancement of the Bitcoin network in different ways. However, they all share a common goal of ensuring the orderly and transparent process of Bitcoin improvement.

Approving Bitcoin Changes

Bitcoin changes are approved through a consensus process, where developers and community members come together to agree on proposed enhancements.

How BIPs are approved

BIPs are approved through a formal process that involves broad consensus from the Bitcoin community. Here’s how it works:

  1. Proposal: A developer or community member creates a BIP to propose changes or improvements to the Bitcoin network.
  2. Discussion and Feedback: The proposed BIP is shared with the community for discussion and feedback. This helps refine and improve the proposal.
  3. Consensus Building: The community works towards reaching a consensus on whether the proposed changes should be implemented.
  4. Agreement: If there is agreement among the community that the changes are beneficial, the BIP may move forward to implementation.
  5. Coordination: Developers and miners coordinate to implement the approved changes in a software update called a Bitcoin upgrade or fork.

Consensus process

Bitcoin changes are approved through a consensus process. This means that the Bitcoin community works together to reach an agreement on proposed changes. The consensus process involves open discussions and feedback from developers, miners, and other stakeholders in the Bitcoin network.

If there is broad agreement that the proposed changes are beneficial, they can move forward to implementation. However, it’s important to note that achieving consensus can take time and requires collaboration among different parties involved in the Bitcoin ecosystem.

Bitcoin Improvement Examples

Famous BIPs

Some famous Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs) include:

  1. BIP 34: Introduced the concept of block height in the Bitcoin blockchain.
  2. BIP 44: Defined a standard for hierarchical deterministic wallets, making it easier to manage multiple Bitcoin addresses.
  3. BIP 91: Implemented Segregated Witness (SegWit), which improved the efficiency and scalability of Bitcoin transactions.
  4. BIP 141: Further expanded on SegWit, enabling the use of more complex scripts and introducing new features like transaction malleability fixes.
  5. BIP 148: Proposed a User Activated Soft Fork (UASF) to activate SegWit without miner support, leading to wider adoption of the upgrade.
  6. BIP 340, 341, and 342: Together known as Taproot, these proposals aim to improve privacy and flexibility in Bitcoin transactions by enhancing the signature process.


SegWit, short for Segregated Witness, is a famous Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP). It was introduced to address the scalability issue of the Bitcoin blockchain. With SegWit, transaction data is modified so that signatures are stored separately from transaction details.

This helps reduce the amount of data needed to be stored in each block and increases the capacity for more transactions on the Bitcoin network. The implementation of SegWit required consensus among the Bitcoin community and coordination between developers and miners to roll out the necessary software updates.

Its successful implementation has been instrumental in enabling further enhancements such as faster transactions and improved security in the Bitcoin ecosystem.


Taproot is a proposed upgrade to the Bitcoin network that aims to improve privacy and efficiency. It intends to enhance the way transactions are confirmed on the blockchain by changing how digital signatures are stored.

With Taproot, multiple participants in a transaction can collaborate and create a single signature called a “Schnorr signature.” This helps make complex transactions appear simpler on the blockchain, enhancing privacy as it becomes harder for external parties to determine who was involved in the transaction.

Taproot offers scalability benefits by reducing both storage space and fees associated with using smart contracts. Overall, Taproot seeks to make Bitcoin more private, efficient, and cost-effective while still maintaining its decentralized nature.


Bitcoin changes are approved through a formal process called a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP). This allows the Bitcoin community to discuss and decide on proposed changes before they are implemented.

Consensus from the community is crucial in determining which changes make it into the Bitcoin network, ensuring that decisions are made collectively and transparently.


What is the process to approve changes in Bitcoin?

Changes in Bitcoin are approved through a method called a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP). The rules of this process are part of the blockchain works.

Who makes sure that changes to Bitcoin follow the rules?

Nodes, which make up the Bitcoin Core, ensure any proposed change follows all Bitcoin rules before acceptance.

How do changes occur with Taproot upgrade and other updates?

Before changes like Taproot upgrade can happen, there must be approval from stakeholders. This comes by way of decentralized decision-making within the community which uses consensus-building.

Are miners involved in validating blocks after Bitcoin protocol changes?

Yes, after agreeing on a change such as BIPs or network upgrades, bitcoin miners play an important role as they validate new blocks on the chain under these changed protocols.

Can anyone propose alterations to how Blockchain works?

Proposals for change usually come from people inside or linked closely with projects related to Bitcoin Core development and approval operations.



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About the Author:
Alex Sterling stands at the forefront of blockchain innovation, offering a technical perspective rooted in a Computer Science background. Specializing in decentralized systems, Alex's articles dissect blockchain technologies and crypto market trends, making intricate details comprehensible for readers. They are deeply involved in blockchain project development, frequently sharing their technical expertise at tech conferences. Alex's work aims to educate and inspire readers about the transformative potential of blockchain and cryptocurrency.