MultiSig Vs ThresholdSig: Comparing Speed, Security, And Adaptability

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Multisig and thresholdsig represented in a signed code that is used for unlocking bitcoins

Threshold signatures (ThresholdSigs) are digital signatures that appear on-chain as a single signature, in this sense, every blockchain or digital asset supports standard signatures. Unlike Multisigs which require recording all of the signatures for each participating approver on-chain. Bitcoin for example supports the capability of the basic MultiSig, but on the other hand, most cryptos do not. Additionally, with Bitcoin, for example, these additional signatures represent a high percentage of the overall transaction size. This results in miners to prefer processing single signature protocols (like ThresholdSig) over Multisig transactions. Consequently, there are rumours that multiple signatures on-chain may lead to the following:

  • delays in transaction processing, which require higher fees to be paid for miners.
  • In some cases like on the Ethereum blockchain, Multisigs will consume additional gas for transaction processing. 
  • In both cases, the result is an increase in the mining fees, which means higher transaction fees for Multisigs. 

To explain further, Multisigs uses multiple Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) compared to Threshold cryptography which requires only one ECDSA signature to be recorded on the blockchain.

This also means that a 3 of 3 MultiSig transaction performed can be more than twice as large as a single signature made by a ThresholdSig.  

Another benefit of the Threshold signature scheme appearing as a standard single signature on-chain is that it increases wallet security. Hackers cannot view security policies or timestamps related to a threshold signature wallet. While on the other hand, Multi signatures transactions record the signature of each participant on the public blockchain, which allows hackers to have information about for example how many participants are involved in one transaction in addition to knowing when changes are made to a multisig wallet (in case of the Ethereum blockchain).

Threshold signature schemes can adapt to different market demands since they support  2 of 2, 2 of 3, 3 of 4, 4 of 8 or any approvals that include multi-parties in a transaction.