The new major Bitcoin Core client version, released for public editing Feb. 15, includes full Segregated Witness (‘SegWit’) support for the first time, among a host of other upgrades.
The description of Bitcoin Core 0.16.0 on Github promises “new features, various bugfixes and performance improvements” of which SegWit support is the conspicuous headliner.
Demand for SegWit technology, which for the end user will mean reduced transaction processing wait times, has exploded since its launch in August 2017.
Major Bitcoin wallet providers and payment processors have conversely been slow to implement it, leading to anger from consumers who considered they were paying — and waiting — over the odds, when on a technological level this was unnecessary.
As a popular option for helping scale the Bitcoin network, SegWit is being joined by increasing interest in so-called ‘Layer 2’ solutions, principally the Lightning Network.
Last week, Microsoft threw its weight behind the latter option, at the same time decrying alternative ‘on-chain’ scaling methods such as bigger block sizes as “degrading decentralization”.
“Bitcoin Core 0.16.0 introduces full support for segwit in the wallet and user interfaces,” the Bitcoin Core Github description confirms.
Other new features revolve around technical flexibility, while lesser tweaks include features such as reference to “bits” instead of “µBTC”, reflecting an increasing aim to appeal to less technical users.
When asked to name the most notable feature of Bitcoin Core version 0.16.0 and how it will affect users, Jimmy Song, Bitcoin core developer and venture partner at Blockchain Capital, told Cointelegraph:
“Native segwit support (bech32) is going to get much more adoption as a result of this update. This will reduce block bloat and encourage more wallets in the ecosystem to adopt bech32.”