Today marks the official release of Bitcoin Core 0.16.0, the 16th generation of Bitcoin’s original software client launched by Satoshi Nakamoto a little over nine years ago. Overseen by Bitcoin Core lead maintainer Wladimir van der Laan, this latest major release was developed by some 100 contributors over a span of five months.
As is usual for new releases, Bitcoin Core 0.16.0 includes performance improvements, bug fixes and other optimizations. This release in particular includes several added features in the wallet interface. Most notably, Bitcoin Core 0.16.0 makes Segregated Witness (SegWit) fully available for wallet users, which is what most of the effort was focused on, and it is also why this release is sometimes referred to as a “SegWit special.”
Here’s an overview of some of the most notable changes.
Segregated Witness in the Wallet Interface
Segregated Witness was, of course, the main Bitcoin protocol upgrade of 2017, if not the biggest protocol upgrade ever. It introduced a whole new block data structure for upgraded nodes — while non-upgraded nodes could continue to function as normal. Among other benefits, SegWit replaced Bitcoin’s block size limit with a block “weight” limit, allowing for blocks with up to 4 megabytes of transaction data and, therefore, increased transaction capacity on the network.