Bitcoin Core, the most popular version of the cryptocurrency’s underlying ‎software, has released its latest client version, Bitcoin Core 0.16.0. ‎Designed with the new technology’s scaling and recent ‘forks’ in mind, it features full ‎support to SegWit transactions including easier address creation and significantly faster block validation. ‎

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SegWit , short for Segregated Witness,  is an important soft fork upgrade to the Bitcoin network which provides access to faster confirmations, lower fees, and other exciting features.

Bitcoin Core 0.16.0 supports SegWit‎ in the wallet and user interfaces. This includes the ‎ability to send to BIP173 addresses (including non-v0 ones), and generating these ‎addresses including as default new addresses.

The release announcement on Github promises a range of improvements that ‎focus on performance, which are ‎clearly geared towards laying the groundwork for ‎wider use of SegWit.‎

Users will be able to create SegWit transactions with the Core wallet, and will also ‎get the ability to downgrade their wallet after creating a SegWit‎ address.‎

‎“All SegWit‎ addresses created through getnewaddress or *multisig RPCs ‎explicitly get their redeemscripts added to the wallet file. This means that ‎downgrading after creating a SegWit‎ address will work, as long as the wallet ‎file is up to date,” the software developers said.‎

Among the notable upgrades in this area is the way in which the new wallets are ‎created. The developers said the wallets created ‎with version 0.16.0 will be rejected by previous versions due to a backward-‎incompatible change in the wallet database.

According to the release notes, ‎the version 0.16.0 will only ‎create hierarchical deterministic (HD) wallets, which only applies to new wallets. The old wallets made with previous versions will ‎not be upgraded to HD.‎

The new version also promises substantial performance improvements. Several of ‎the such improvements are aimed at reducing the time it takes to validate bitcoin nodes. ‎The release promises 50 percent faster block validation after the SHA256 ‎hashing optimizations for architectures supporting SSE4 have now been enabled by ‎default.‎

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