After months of waiting, the time has come: Bitcoin Core has released a new version of the client, which has integrated SegWit into the user interface. This could be the long-awaited breakthrough for SegWit. Especially now that Coinbase and Bitfinex are starting to upgrade to SegWit.
SegWit, the protocol upgrade, which is also an increase of the blocksize, was already activated at the end of August 2017. However, the implementation of the new transaction format has so far been extremely slow and, even after about half a year, has barely reached more than 15 percent. One of the reasons for this could have been that hardly any Wallet supports SegWit. This is now changing.
The new release of the most important Bitcoin software, Bitcoin-Core, 0.16.0, brings SegWit into the client’s user interface for the first time. By default, new addresses and change addresses are created as P2SH SegWit addresses. These addresses are in the same format as the previous addresses, but start with a 3, as known from multisig addresses.
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Alternatively, you can now also generate “bech32” addresses by ticking the corresponding checkboxes. These addresses start with “bc1”, are slightly longer and consist exclusively of small letters. I already wrote about the advantages of the new format when Electrum was the first wallet to integrate the new format. Since Core now also allows to send bitcoins to a bech32 address, it might finally make sense to use SegWit with Electrum.
In addition to the dozens of other small bugfixes and minor improvements, it is likely to be of great importance that Core 0.16.0 makes Replace By Fee (RBF) the standard. This will be a relief for anyone who has ever had a transaction in the MemPool before – but could not be helpful if you want to pay without waiting for a confirmation. In this case you have to disable the option manually, which is very easy to do with another check box.
The fact that the most important Bitcoin software now supports SegWit could be a milestone for the widespread use of the new transaction format. After all, Core is the basis of countless platforms and other software. Equally helpful is that the large American Exchange Office and online Wallet Coinbase since this week is beginning to integrate SegWit, and also the large exchange Bitfinex started to use SegWit a few days ago.
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