The next release of Bitcoin Core’s software code is set to allow bitcoin hardware wallets to connect to full nodes.
It’s big news that will excite the bitcoin community, especially the enthusiasts who want to see more security and control for bitcoin users.
Hardware wallets, by and large, provide the most secure storage for bitcoin and full nodes help secure the Bitcoin network by verifying transactions.
The whole thing may sound a bit too technical, but the 18th version of bitcoin’s most widely used software introduces functionality that allows the hardware wallets to be compatible with full nodes. It is a major step, one that could see more users begin to run full nodes.
According to Bitcoin Core’s Wladimir van der Laan, the chief maintainer and the one coordinating the new upgrade, version 0.18 presents one of the most highly anticipated features.
It is in line with efforts that seek to make running full nodes much easier to everyday bitcoin users. Such efforts have seen developers continuously try to fund ways of reducing the storage demands (which can be as much as 200GB) because to run a full node, users need to download the entire blockchain history.
But the coming upgrade is likely to change all that. Andrew Chow, a leading Bitcoin Core contributor, and developer, tweeted:
“With this PR [pull request] merged, the upcoming Bitcoin Core 0.18 release will be finally usable with hardware wallets by using HWI [Hardware Wallet Interface].”
He also adds that the project remains manually executable in command line only. However, he feels that given its potential impact, it presents “a big step forward” and that developers will fine-tune its usage with time.
Security and privacy remain key to cryptocurrency and bitcoin developers want to see that enhanced. For instance, Bitcoin Core contributor Sjors Provoost, argues that using full nodes help users know whether their bitcoin “is real.”
Provoost uses Segwit2x, a 2017 bitcoin fork proposal that saw various companies, miners, and BTC holders suggest an upgrade that would have increased bitcoin’s block size.
The concern was that if Segwit2x split the bitcoin chain, then mobile wallets that used Simplified Payment Verification (SPV) technology were at a greater risk of being tricked by miners.
According to Provoost, SegWit2x had the potential to cause damage by deciding on the fork it wanted to be shown to users- but using a full node overrides all these concerns, he added.
On the issue of privacy, Provoost posits that full nodes would give users control over their privacy. The view is supported by Samuel Dobson, lead maintainer of the Bitcoin Core Wallet. Dobson noted that: maintainer anonymity.
“At the end of the day, it comes down to the trade-off between convenience and trust.”
The latest version of the Bitcoin Core software will allow users to store their coins offline using a hardware wallet, and verify transaction data using their full node.
Other than hardware wallet support, version 0.18 of the Bitcoin Core code includes a number of other exciting features. They include a “new language” that is being refined to allow for greater private key security.
There is also a new “multi-wallet” command, purportedly designed to allow for multiple wallets to be paired in the graphical user interface (GUI). It means users do not need to be tech geeks to exploit the new feature.
At the moment, the upgrade is in “release candidate” mode, which allows avid bitcoin devs and companies to test the software and identify potential bugs. After this, the software will be available to the public. The code should be ready for download within weeks.
Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile assets and are very risky investments. Do your research and consult an investment professional before investing. Never invest more than you can afford to lose. Never borrow money to invest in cryptocurrencies.