JoinMarket Lead On Bitcoin Mixing Future

In a recent interview with Adam Gibson, aka Waxwing, lead JoinMarket maintainer and expert on CoinJoining, we talked about the exciting changes that we will see within CoinJoin transactions, how the processes of CoinJoin works in its current state and his outlook on further innovation. But first, let’s talk about what a CoinJoin transaction consists of in its current state.

Keep in mind, when I say “current,” this is in reference to methods actually being used today. This distinction is important because Taproot activation does not mean that new methods now available are actually currently being used.

What Is CoinJoin?

When I asked Gibson to give a simplified explanation of CoinJoining, he gave this response:

“In simple terms, CoinJoins are transactions where more than one person contributes inputs. They don’t require trust because each person only signs the transaction if it pays to the outputs they expect. They’re mainly used today to improve privacy by invalidating the assumption that all the inputs in a transaction are from one person — an assumption that blockchain analysis uses to try to trace the history of coins.”

“Transactions where more than one person contributes inputs,” he said.

Well, what’s an input? Contrary to the user interface found in most exchanges that shows you holding a specific amount of bitcoin at all times, in order to spend bitcoin, it is more like handing over dollars you have to the gas station for your cup of coffee. Bitcoin transactions add up all of your UTXOs (unspent transaction outputs) until they meet the necessary amount for the transaction, verifying that you actually have the units you are trying to spend. These prior transaction outputs totaling up to the amount of bitcoin you have are called “inputs.”

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