Two days ago marks the day that the 12th generation of the core Bitcoin software V 0.12.0 got released. This is the work of 100 contributors over 7 months. Bitcoin core includes over 20 new developments. Notably in the areas of Security, performance and it’s ease of use.
The Biggest Release Yet: What’s New?
Here is an overview of the new updates to Bitcoin core software:
- 7x Faster Signature Validation-A new signature validation library was developed to replace the previous OpenSSL, thereby improving security. This integration allows the attack surface for signature validation code to be reduced. Validation is now up to 7 times faster on typical 64-bit architecture, raw reindexing and block validation times have dropped by a massive 50%.
- Miners Ability to Limit Upload Traffic –Node users are now able to set soft limits on how much data they choose to upload and serve to the peers.
- Miner Crash Prevention via Memory Pool Limits – Nodes come with default limitations on the size of their memory pools and the miner can configure this to whatever amount of memory they wish to contribute to the mempool. When this limit is hit, transactions could still be accepted, while transactions with the fees that are too low will be dropped from the mempool, this will reduce crash incidents.
- Option to Send Transactions That Can Be Fee-Boosted- Opt-in Replace-by-Fee gives transaction senders the option to configure their transaction fees. One could start with a small fee with the option to increase it until it’s accepted by the miners. This allows a sender to choose what priority they need for this transaction to be included in the current block.
- Improved Rules for Transaction Relaying-Nodes will no longer be guaranteed to relay a certain number of free transactions and will now be able to decide more freely which transactions to relay.
- Automatic Usage of Tor When it’s Running- Bitcoin transactions are natively more anonymized, all transactions will happen through the Tor relay system, thereby reducing the risk of exposing your IP address.
- Ability for Apps to Subscribe to Notifications With ZeroMQ– An integration with ZeroMQ alert services to the arrival of new blocks and incoming transactions.
- Massively Reduced Disk Usage for Wallets –Users will be able to run a full node an only store 2GB of data, a huge drop from the previously-required 60GB!
- Much Faster Block Assembly for Miners- Inputs of all the transactions in one’s memory pool no longer have to be pulled into the cache all at once, leading to a sizeable reduction in memory requirements
This is in the midst Bitcoins potential scalability issues and the surrounding debate.
Namely, the current Bitcoin block-size- 1mb, is reaching it’s limits some of the current transaction blocks are as much as 80% full. This is a problem because once blocks are full, transactions will have to bid in a “fee market” to fight for the miners priority. Some transactions that don’t pay any fees could never be retrieved if such a fee market came about.
It’s nice to see that Bitcoins core is still operating efficiently and bringing this release in a timely manner.