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What is BIP?

A Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) is a formal document used to propose changes to the Bitcoin protocol, network, or related processes. The BIPs are used to initiate discussions and to build consensus around proposed changes to the Bitcoin network. They are similar in concept to Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) RFCs (Request for Comments) and are intended to provide a standard format for communicating ideas, improvements, and technical specifications for the Bitcoin network.

The BIP process was introduced in 2011 and has since become an integral part of the Bitcoin development process. BIPs are categorized into three types, including Standards Track BIPs, Informational BIPs, and Process BIPs. Standards Track BIPs are used to propose new features or changes to the Bitcoin protocol, while Informational BIPs are used to document design issues or general guidelines. Process BIPs, on the other hand, are used to propose changes to the BIP process itself.

BIPs are reviewed and discussed by the Bitcoin community, and once a BIP is accepted, it can be implemented by Bitcoin developers. The BIPs are important for maintaining the decentralized and open nature of the Bitcoin network by ensuring that proposed changes are well thought-out, thoroughly tested, and agreed upon by the community before being implemented.

There are currently over 300 Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs), with some of the most notable ones being:

  • BIP 1: BIP Purpose and Guidelines
  • BIP 2: Hierarchy for Deterministic Wallets
  • BIP 8: Version Bits with Lock-In by Deployment
  • BIP 9: Version Bits with Threshold Signaling
  • BIP 11: M-of-N Standard Transactions
  • BIP 13: Address Format for Pay-to-Script-Hash
  • BIP 14: Protocol Version and User Agent for P2P Data Exchange
  • BIP 16: Pay to Script Hash
  • BIP 21: URI Scheme
  • BIP 22: getblocktemplate Fundamentals
  • BIP 23: getblocktemplate Updates for Segregated Witness
  • BIP 32: Hierarchical Deterministic Wallets
  • BIP 34: Block v2, Height in Coinbase
  • BIP 39: Mnemonic code for generating deterministic keys
  • BIP 44: Multi-Account Hierarchy for Deterministic Wallets
  • BIP 49: Derivation scheme for P2WPKH-nested-in-P2SH based accounts
  • BIP 68: Relative lock-time using consensus-enforced sequence numbers
  • BIP 70: Payment Protocol
  • BIP 78: Payment Protocol MIME Types
  • BIP 141: Segregated Witness (Consensus layer)
  • BIP 143: Transaction Signature Verification for Version 0 Witness Program
  • BIP 144: Segregated Witness (Peer Services)
  • BIP 174: Partially Signed Bitcoin Transactions (PSBT)
  • BIP 300: Drivechain
  • BIP 301: Median Time Past as Endpoint for Locktime Transactions.
  • BIP 340: Schnorr Signatures for secp256k1
  • BIP 341: Taproot: SegWit Version 1 output spending rules
  • BIP 342: Validation of Taproot Scripts by Miners
  • BIP 343: The Taproot Softfork
  • BIP 345: Legacy Address Format for SegWit Addresses

Note that this list may not be exhaustive and there may be more BIPs that have been proposed or accepted since the time of writing.