What is Bitcoin’s MAST protocol?

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Will MAST reduce the Bitcoin transaction sizes?
Is MAST a counter part to Ethereum’s Smart Contracts?

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We already know how popular and important Bitcoin has become so far. Regardless of the recent fiasco which plunged the Cryptocurrency Market last month, Bitcoin is still the largest Cryptocurrency according to the market capitalisation. Bitcoin is the world’s first Cryptocurrency and it needs some improvements in its Blockchain. SegWit was one of the first improvements that were added to the Bitcoin Blockchain in August 2017. There have been several Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs) to improve the world’s first and foremost Digital Currency.

MAST – Introduction

The MAST is the abbreviation of Merkelized Abstract Syntax Tree. The MAST is a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal that is supposed to facilitate the magnificently complex smart contracts by concluding the power of Merkle trees and by adding it to the current P2SH aka Pay to Script Hash in the Bitcoin Blockchain. The MAST is a combination of Abstract Syntax Trees algorithm and Merkle trees. And this combination of Merkle trees and ASTs make the addition of the complex data sets within the Bitcoin Blockchain possible. The best part is that it will still allow the smaller transaction data as it uses the Merkle Proofs.

What is Merkle Trees?

Here, the Merkle Trees are a simple Cryptographic tool which is meant to facilitate the reduction of the size of data within a block. By using a Merkle root, it is now possible to affirm whether the data present within a Merkle tree is true without having the need to download the data.

What is Abstract Syntax Trees?

Abstract Syntax Trees or ASTs are a set of an algorithm which functions by breaking or splitting a program into different constituent parts with the goal of understanding and categorising it easily. And here, the split plays a vital role to access all the relevant data quickly.

Merkelized Abstract Syntax Tree intends to use the Merkle tree to encode operations in a script. At the time of spending, the users might have to provide only the branches they are executing and hashes which connect the branches to the stable size Merkle root.

The Bitcoin Blockchain needs to include all the associated data along with a transaction in the transaction data. This even counts for the data which isn’t used during the transaction process. What happens now is the transactions which are made on the ledger data is heavy and this furthermore makes the process slower than the usual rate. The implementation of the MAST will improve the transaction process in Bitcoin, drastically.

The MAST is like the Superman aka Man of Steel, it is the best of both worlds. The MAST is capable of limiting and guiding the conditions required for the process of the transaction and at the same time, it has the flexibility of using only the most important parts of the smart contracts which govern the transaction instead of using the contract entirely.

Advantages of Implementing Mast:

The greatest advantage that addition of MAST to the Bitcoin Blockchain is the possibility of scalability and smart contract functionality. MAST makes it possible to write a lengthy as well as a long list of conditions within a spend without considering a proportionate growth in data. It is highly likely possible to create a complicated and utterly complex contract on the Bitcoin Blockchain using a MAST. This upgrade is going to help to address scalability concerns.

Furthermore, MAST would add a greater level of privacy associated with transactions on Bitcoin’s Blockchain as until now only the information used while the transaction process is included in the transactional data. MAST also has the potential to restore fungibility as it is impossible to ascertain what units have been attached to a smart contract and which ones are the simple spends. For example, the sender does not need to include the whole script in order to unlock the funds which are contained in the transaction.

It’s been a long time that smart contracts have been an important topic for users and developers in the Bitcoin Blockchain. It is indeed extremely difficult for everyone to create, secure and maintain the multi-signature accounts. Even if they are created, they are supposed to be limited by their size, nevertheless.

Segwit has been activated and this paves the way for implementing MAST. It is going to take some time before this functionality, MAST is implemented.

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