Version 0.20 of Bitcoin Core has been released. It is the free and open-source software that acts as a Bitcoin node. To date it is the most widely used software by Bitcoin nodes, with over 9,990 installations on 10,250 public nodes in the world, making it the reference implementation of Bitcoin.
It is the latest version of the original software published by Satoshi Nakamoto under the name “Bitcoin”, and later renamed Bitcoin Core to distinguish it from the Bitcoin network.
The new version 0.20.0 was released today, June 3rd, 2020, and includes:
- new features,
- some bug fixes,
- performance improvements,
- updated translations.
New features include the built-in wallet, which now uses bech32 addresses by default when using RPC, and creates native segwit edit outputs.
As many as 117 people have contributed to this version, and it is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
In order to work it needs to initially download the entire Bitcoin blockchain, i.e. about 300 GB of data, plus another 5-10 GB every month, but thanks to pruning it allows storing only 6 GB without sacrificing security.
The road to Bitcoin Core 0.20
The first version, Bitcoin v0.1.0, was published on January 9th, 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, although he had already published a Pre-Release on November 16th, 2008.
On January 14th, 2009, v0.1.3 was published, while v0.1.5 was published in September.
Starting with v0.10.0, published on April 1st, 2015, it took the name Bitcoin Core.
For those who manage a Bitcoin node, it is not strictly necessary to update to the new version, in fact to date only about 33% of public installations of Bitcoin Core use the previous updated version, i.e. 0.19.1. 15% use 0.19.0.1, while 16% still use 0.18.1, and 12% use 0.18.0.
There are still three that use the very old version 0.8.1.
Despite this, there are already 126 public installations of the new version 0.20.0.