Bitcoin Core, the cryptocurrency’s most widely used software, is set to release its 18th version, allowing users to natively link Bitcoin full nodes to hardware wallets.
The upgrade is a part of a broader initiative to streamline the use of Bitcoin full nodes in an effort to make it easier for users to connect the open-source software to hardware wallets which, as it stands, are generally considered to be far more secure online wallets.
By joining the two together, users are provided better control and security of their Bitcoin holding, allowing them to verify that transactions are actually executed.
As Bitcoin Core contributor & lead developer Andrew Chow emphasized on Twitter back in February:
“With this [pull request] merged, the upcoming Bitcoin Core 0.18 release will be finally usable with hardware wallets by using [Hardware Wallet Interface (HWI)].”
While Chow conceded that the code is “still command line only and manual,” he underscored that the functionality is still “a big step forward” and will eventually pave the way for further improvements down the line, making the software much easier to use for non-developers.
According to Bitcoin Core contributor Sjors Provoost, running a full node allows users to verify that “your Bitcoin is real,” citing the Segwit2x Bitcoin fork previously introduced back in 2017 in which miners, users, as well as several startups, had proposed increasing Bitcoin’s block size in an attempt to address the issue of the limited number of transactions the network can process.
However, that proposed hard fork was eventually scrapped due to a lack of sufficient consensus as well as concerns that it would make mobile wallets relying on Simplified Payment Verification (SPV) technology vulnerable to trickery from miners.
With the forthcoming release of Bitcoin Core’s 18th version, users will have privacy once more, as the full node would supplant the wallet software that comes with hardware wallets which, according to Provoost, exposes users’ addresses to a third party server.
These are but a few of the many issues fueling the idea that perhaps one day, everyone would eventually be running this full node software and would no longer have to rely on anyone else to provide accurate financial data.
As BTCPay creator Nicolas Dorier noted in a recent post:
“Yes, I believe that everybody will eventually run a full node. I wish a future where not having a full node will severely limit your user experience and the realm of things you can do with bitcoin.”
With the implementation of this new technology in the Bitcoin Core software, users can now use an offline wallet for keeping their Bitcoin as opposed to storing their digital assets using a hot wallet which is notoriously susceptible to hacking. Furthermore, users will be able to use their full node for verifying the veracity of the transaction data they receive.
In the meantime, Bitcoin Core’s 0.18 version is still in the software development cycle’s “release candidate” stage, that is, the code is still undergoing multiple tests to eliminate any bugs before finally being officially released to the public, which is slated to be available for download within the next several weeks.