The Bitcoin Core Wallet is now in the 16th generation of the original software, which was launched by Satoshi Nakamoto just over nine years ago. The latest version was developed under the direction of Vladimir van der Laan and over 100 contributors in five months.
The Bitcoin Core 0.16.0 contains several improvements, as is usual for new releases. Performance has been improved, bugs fixed and other optimizations made. But the most important change is that the Bitcoin Core 0.16.0 now provides users with Segregated Witnesses (SegWit). Most people have been waiting for this change. Read more about the changes here.
SegWit is displayed in the Wallet interface
Segregated Witness, the most important Bitcoin protocol upgrade from 2017, is now the “standard” for the new Wallet.
SegWit offers some advantages and changes for the user. For example, SegWit uses block weight instead of block size, allowing blocks to grow up to four megabytes, allowing more transactions for the network.
Segregated Witness was already implemented in Bitcoin Core 0.13.1 in October 2016, but the upgrade was not activated until August 2017. Although almost a year passed, the Bitcoin Core 0.16.0 is the first core wallet that users can use to generate SegWit addresses. If the utilization of the Bitcoin network remains as it is now, SegWit should result in less fees to be paid.
Bech32: New look for bitcoin addresses
A new format – called “bech32” – has been added to SegWit for bitcoin addresses. This format was developed by former Blockstream CTO Gregory Maxwell and Blockstream developer Dr. Pieter Wuille. Bitcoin addresses started/started with a 1 (initial bitcoin address) or a 3 (Segwit address), with “bech32” they start with “bc1”.
Bech32 addresses use fewer characters than current addresses and there is no longer any distinction between upper and lower case, which is of particular benefit to the end user.
However, not all Bitcoin Wallets support bitcoin addresses in bech32 format, so you have to choose between bech32 (bitcoin address with bc1) or P2SH (bitcoin address with a 3) format. You can send the bitcoins with the Bitcoin Core 0.16.0 to all addresses.