An updated version of the Bitcoin Core client was released on January 14. Added support for Tor Network V3 addresses, descriptor wallets, bug fixes and performance improvements. The work was carried out by 100 developers for six months.
Bitcoin Core 0.21.0 was released
It is available from https://t.co/jnWN8LRX75
Release mail: https://t.co/6dFNUj3K4d
– Bitcoin Core Project (@bitcoincoreorg) January 14, 2021
These wallets use scripts instead of keys, allowing for more flexibility in the backend. Scripts can include private keys, which is common with traditional wallets, but they are not limited to them.
Descriptor wallets allow users to classify unspent transaction outputs (UTXOs) based on the types of conditions required to use them. For example, you can use one wallet to receive UTXOs, confirmed by a signature, and the other – multi-signature. The innovation anticipates the future integration of hardware wallets.
The change is primarily aimed at developers who create software on top of the bitcoin core. Users who already have a Bitcoin Core wallet will not be affected. For those who plan to launch a node, the option to select a descriptor wallet will now appear. By 2023, traditional wallets can be completely replaced with a new type.
The release introduced a new block filtering system for light clients who do not store the full history of bitcoin transactions and only download a certain part of the blockchain using so-called Bloom filters. The latter request data from relatively random nodes, however, they can reveal all user addresses.
To solve the problem, Bitcoin Core 0.21.0 implemented an alternative mechanism called “client-side compact filtering” (BIP 157/158). Instead of light wallets creating filters to send to full nodes, the latter do it for each block and send them to light clients upon request.
Another threat to user privacy was the settings for retransmission of transactions, which was carried out every 15 minutes before they were included in the block. Bitcoin Core 0.21.0 reduces the frequency with which it tries to re-broadcast transactions to one action every 12-36 hours. This makes it difficult to analyze the identification of a particular transaction.
Tor V3 support
As part of a recent update to the Tor protocol, V3 addresses were introduced. Compared to the previous version, they have more secure cryptography and less disclosure. By October 15, 2021, developers will release new client versions that will disable V2 addresses.
Bitcoin Core 0.21.0 added support for a new address format that allows nodes to establish connections when connected to private networks.
Schnorr / Taproot Update
The Schnorr / Taproot update will be the first in the Bitcoin protocol since the launch of Segregated Witness (SegWit) in August 2017. The timing of the update activation is unknown, but the code has already been added to Bitcoin Core 0.21.0. This means that it will no longer be subject to any changes. Application developers can start building software around the update.
What are Schnorr signatures? What is Taproot?
The clients do not yet have the activation logic required to run. It could be included in one of the smaller Bitcoin Core releases in the coming months. In December, Taproot update support reached 91% of the total bitcoin hashrate.
The Bitcoin network has also received a new Signet testnet. It differs from its predecessors by centralized control, which increases reliability.
As a reminder, ForkLog has published a translation of Aaron van Wyrdum’s article on how Taproot works, explaining why this solution will make Bitcoin stronger.
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