Bitcoin Core 0.12.1 was released early this morning and the update includes several changes that have huge implications for Bitcoin scalability . The release deploys the first soft fork on the Bitcoin network to use the methodology outlined in BIP 9 (Version Bits), which allows multiple soft forks to take place at the same time.
The three soft forks ( BIP 68 , BIP 112 and BIP 113 ) included in Bitcoin Core 0.12.1 have huge implications for the Lightning Network , which many believe to be Bitcoin’s best chance for long-term scalability. Although the code for the soft forks has been deployed, support for each hard fork cannot be signaled by miners until May 1st.
A Huge Step Forward for the Lightning Network
The three BIPs implemented in this latest release of Bitcoin Core combine to enable relative locktime . This means that payment channels can now be closed without a predetermined date, which would be set when the channel is initially opened. This provides more flexibility to layer-2 initiatives , such as the Lightning Network, because users will be able to