🏗️ Bitcoin Core Infrastructure — Issue No. 16

🗞 News

The third release candidate for the next version of the Bitcoin Core software is out. The final release of version 0.17 is expected in the coming weeks. This version brings a host of technically interesting upgrades, including a standard for partially signed transactions and a new domain specific language for describing private keys. Link.

The new software implements the partially signed transaction standard proposed in BIP-174. To date, partially signed transactions have been implemented by different wallets in their own custom, ad-hoc ways. With the new standard now baked into Core, it's expected most other wallet developers will follow suit and adopt it. Partially signed transactions will be easier to execute thanks to this compatibility. They'll also be safer, as air-gapped signers are not required to access unspent transaction outputs. Link.

The new DSL introduced for output descriptors will be another boon for wallet compatibility. The system works by attaching descriptions natively to outputs, making it much easier to move keys between wallets. Link.

The release is filled with tons of other smaller improvements, including enhancements to the Core wallet GUI and the JSON-RPC interface exposed by full nodes. The release notes provide a great explanation of the changes and are relatively easy to follow, regardless of one's knowledge of Bitcoin internals. Link.

Five weeks ago, I wrote about the slow and steady improvements to Bitcoin and contrasted them to the audacious-but-risky research projects underway to upgrade Ethereum. This Bitcoin Core release reinforces that notion. None of the changes in this release are sexy, nor will they solve the fundamental scaling problems all public blockchains currently face. Instead, they lay important groundwork for making Bitcoin safer and more usable. The Core team continues to focus on security and infrastructure while scaling will be left to second layer innovation. Will this approach be the right one for the long term? No noe know for sure, of course, but I'm looking forward to getting 0.17 running on my full node!

🔮 Blog

Talking Smart Contracts, Software Development, And The Future Of Crypto On The QuantLayer Podcast. Link.

From the archives: A Developer's Guide To Running A Bitcoin Full Node And Local Block Explorer. Link.

📊 Statistics

4 Million. The number of active users of the privacy focused Brave Browser, which integrates a native payment token called BAT for users to compensate content creators. That's up from 3 million just 2 months ago. Link.