update 19 August 2021

Miniscript Programming Language – A New, Easier Way to Code Bitcoin

Since its inception, bitcoin has been using Script– a smart contract development language. Script is an extensive non-Turing complete programming language. The language lets developers encode certain conditions that define spending of coins.

While Script has many capabilities, it’s tough to implement, especially when complex smart contract conditions are involved. Writing and verifying a complex contract is prone to human errors that don’t go well with money at stake.

To improve this, blockchain engineers Pieter Wuille, Andrew Poelstra, and Sanket Kanjalkar in 2019 developed Miniscript. This article will go deeper into understanding Miniscript, its significance, and how it makes bitcoin programming easier.

What is Miniscript?

Miniscript is a programming language developed by Blockstreams to make Bitcoin programming easy. 

Miniscript, which is built on Script, contains several unique features that make it a modern programming language.

  • Object-oriented programming -As an extension of maps, Miniscript Classes supports single inheritance, an alternative to multiple inheritances prone to numerous issues.
  • MiniScript also uses duck typing, thus allowing a class to adhere to any interface. Simple words like new, super, and self are all it takes to provide powerful OOP support.
  • Local Variables – Variables in Miniscript are, by default, local to the function you are in. You can have global variables by referencing “globals.varname.”
  • First-class functions – Functions in Miniscript can be passed as arguments, be assigned to variables, be used as keys, elements in a list, values in a map, or any other value.

Significance of Miniscript

Miniscript’s main aim is to make Scripts readable to a human. The language presents several use cases that make it a significant development as far as blockchain is concerned. The following are some significant Miniscript use cases.

Bitcoin Scripts Optimization

One of the main drawbacks of Bitcoin is its limited support for smart contracts. Script, which was developed to address these issues, had some shortcomings too. For instance, Script offers several ways to describe conjunction, require a signature, or implement a threshold, making it very hard even for veterans to find an optimal script.

Miniscript is improving this by making it easier to find optimal Bitcoin scripts that correspond to specific spending conditions.   

Enhanced Interoperability

Script does not allow interoperability between different coins spending conditions, causing a significant barrier to bitcoin smart contract support. Users are afraid that their long-term timelocks and complex multi-signature requirements will not be recognized by their counterparts who use a different policy.

Miniscript directly represents spending conditions so that any user can easily:

  • find the associated address to the Script,
  • determine whose signatures are necessary at any given time,
  • oversee a valid transaction with a basic set of signatures.

This way, Miniscript covers the user’s fear that all participants have compatible software, or that the software will be existing when specific timelocks are needed.

Proof of Reserve

Proof of Reserves is a process where users prove the number BTC they could spend without actual spending, i.e., without generating a live transaction – avoid exposure to moving funds risks.

Blockstream’s Proof of Reserves Tool is one tool that facilitates this process. Unfortunately, the industry still doesn’t have common proof of reserve standards. Lack of a standardized mechanism for Bitcoin proof of reserve exposes the system to security risks.

Miniscript has enabled a standard that encompasses the diversity of custody mechanisms, which was almost impossible with Script.

Dynamic Federations

Dynamic federations are a feature in Blockstream’s liquid sidechains that allows existing Liquid Members to verify new members and manage the Script that controls a federation’s bitcoin spendability. Miniscript makes the process of constructing such Script easy and fast.

Miniscript also allows Liquid members to verify useful features of proposed scripts automatically. These eliminate expensive and time-consuming security audits of the scripts.

How Miniscript is Making Bitcoin Programming Easier

To make the process of writing bitcoin programs easier, Miniscript developers included the following functionalities.

  • A Policy Language 

This is a layer of the Miniscript language to boost simplicity. Conditions under which a bitcoin can be spent are programmed in policy language before being compiled into Miniscript.

What’s more, the policy automatically compiles into the best version of Miniscript possible regarding what the Script encodes.

  • Alphabet-based Abbreviation 

Miniscript language widely uses alphabetic abbreviations and minimal symbols, making it easy to memorize the functions. The rules of abbreviations are also simple to follow.

  • Clean Syntax 

Miniscript eliminates the need for unnecessary punctuations in its syntax. These punctuations include semicolons at line end, curly braces, parenthesis around an argument, and others familiar in other programming languages.  

Consider this MiniScript code:

for i in range(20, 10)

   print i + “…”

   wait

end for

print “Liftoff!”

Clean and straightforward, right?

  • Central Data Types 

Miniscript’s design revolves around the four main data types; Numbers, Strings, Ordered lists, Maps making it easy for developers in other languages to understand.

Final Thought

Bitcoin is the king of cryptocurrency. It rules the global crypto market with above 62% dominance over more than 5700 cryptocurrencies available. Bitcoin, however, falls short of one crucial feature – a developers’ platform.

Bitcoin enthusiasts’ quest to provide coders with a friendly and interactive ecosystem led to the development of Miniscript programming language.

Btc
Bitcoin
$41.889
price
4.93362%
price change
BUY NOW

Miniscript leverages on the heavyweight Script to provide a more natural way of programming Bitcoin. Early versions of Miniscript have shown great significance in making the vision real. The language combines features of a modern language to make it ideal for new and experienced coders. Miniscript is simply transforming the bitcoin programming landscape!

More posts

Can You Gamble with Crypto in Las Vegas

Las Vegas is best known for gambling with an enormous concentration of world-class casinos and hotels. This entertainment hub situated in the State of Nevada attracts thousands of tourists across the world to experience the glamour and gambling life. Following the massive growth of Bitcoin in recent years, Las Vegas has increasingly embraced it, with widespread use, especially as a mode of payment for dining, rent, cars, etc. Over fifty businesses in Las Vegas, Nevada accept cryptocurrency as a mode…

Cases of the Longest Bearish Price Trends in the Crypto Market

The crypto world's decade-long existence has not been flawless. Like in any other market, there is always a bear trend that leads to massive losses. The 2008 market crash is one of the biggest bear markets in the financial world, and others occurred in the following years.  Crypto has seen cases of long market crashes as well, some lasting over a year. This guide will be looking into 5 of the must-know crypto market crashes. Furthermore, it will highlight the…

Who will enter the CryptoSphere first: Amazon or Facebook?

Amazon and Facebook are some of the biggest technology companies in the world and have long been the main drivers of tech innovation across the globe. These two companies have substantially impacted billions of internet users, whether it's through Facebook's pioneering and massively successful social media platform or Amazon’s enormous e-commerce platform and cloud computing services.  Both Amazon and Facebook have made several steps in the cryptosphere pushing for the adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. In fact, Facebook and…

What Really Happens When Swapping Cryptos?

The process of swapping cryptocurrencies can be somewhat complex. Sometimes, you may end up lacking the exchange assets you need. For instance, you may want to exchange BTC for ZIL. Generally, there are very few exchanges that support direct BTC to ZIL exchanges. Therefore, in many scenarios, an individual will have to find a BTC trading pair. Exchange the BTC to another pair connected to ZIL, then complete by exchanging the second asset to Zil. Generally, following the whole exchange…

Could Brexit be the Underlying Reason for Developing The Digital Euro

After the election in December 2019, the British Parliament decided to ratify the withdrawal from the European Union. Factors that influenced Brexit included immigration, sovereignty, anti-establishment politics, among others. Could Brexit have influenced the development of the digital Euro? Read on to find out as we break down factors that led to the development of digital currency. The Growth of Digital Assets The concept of digital assets is not novel; its penetration and influence have left no stone unturned. The…

What Are Crypto Validators and How do They Work?

Crypto Validators are new "payment processors" in decentralized networks, and as such, they produce blockchain rewards. It sounds simple, doesn’t it? However, the definition of validators in crypto is much more complex than that. Also, the role of a validator may change depending on the consensus mechanism that each blockchain uses. In this guide to validators in blockchain, we take a closer look at this entity and its indispensable role. Furthermore, we analyze four validator use cases in different blockchains…

How Many ETH Will Burn After the London Fork?

Since its launch in July 2015, Ethereum has grown exponentially to be the second leading cryptocurrency in market value after Bitcoin. The platform’s growth has primarily been attributed to its smart contract feature, which powers the deployment of a wide range of applications, including oracles, decentralized finance (DeFi), decentralized exchanges (DApps), marketplaces, crypto-collectibles (NFTs), and developer tools.  Despite its growth, Ethereum faces numerous challenges that hinder its usability. The scalability challenge is one of the biggest ones that Ethereum faces. The current state…

The Impact of Adoption of Cryptocurrencies on E-commerce Business

E-commerce is the short form of electronic commerce. It is the buying and selling of merchandise over the internet networks. It also involves the transfer of funds and the keeping of records to certify the transactions made. E-commerce is of three types; business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B), and business-to-government (B2G). The main reason for using cryptocurrencies in e-commerce is to get rid of third parties that control the transactions. This relationship can make online shopping much easier and safer since blockchain technology that backs up cryptocurrencies is…

What it Means to Make Bitcoin a Legal Tender

June 9, 2021, marks the first move that would make history in Bitcoin's timeline. El Salvador passed a bill where 62 of 84 congressional voters would make Bitcoin a legal tender. Fast forward to September 7, and El Salvador became the first country to make Bitcoin a legal tender. In this article, we shall look into what it means for Bitcoin to be a legal tender in detail; What is Legal Tender? "This note is legal tender for all debts, public and…

The Correlation Between Blockchain Activity and Transaction Fees

Miners and validators are essential cogs in any crypto project. They're the ones who process transactions on a blockchain (BC) activity. For their efforts, crypto projects compensate them for their efforts from transaction fees. A transaction is only valid when it has undergone validation. The process ends in the validators adding it to the BC. Mining consumes a lot of computing power. As such, it's an energy-intensive exercise. The motivation for the miners is the block reward that consists of…