On 21st August, Bitcoin Optech released their weekly newsletter on their official page. The newsletter covers updates on the upcoming Bitcoin Core 0.17 release, also stating in brief what the Bitcoin [BTC] developers are working on.
In the days to come, Bitcoin will start initiating the release of RCs [Release Candidates] for their next version v0.17.0. The Bitcoin developers call forward organizations and other individuals who plan to use Bitcoin v0.17.0 to test the RCs and reveal if the code needs any bug fixing done.
This week’s newsletter also summarizes details about 5 projects discussed during the Bitcoin Core weekly meeting. It is a possibility that some of the project ideas may be incorporated in the Bitcoin Core in the future says the team.
P2P protocol encryption
This project is being worked on by developer Jonas Schnelli. As a short-term goal, the developer is focusing on unauthenticated encryption in the BIP151 style. Citing the example of BIP150, the newsletter states that the current Peer authentication has a reduced privacy and makes it very easy to fingerprint certain peers due to its simple form of implementation. Schnelli is currently working on a more advanced mechanism for those use cases that require the same.
Output script descriptors enhancements
Output scripts are human-readable descriptors of sets of scriptPubKeys, included with information on how to spend them. Developer Pieter Wuille’s output script descriptors language describes which output scripts [scriptPubKeys] a wallet should monitor for. The developers’ ultimate aim is “to remove the need for importing scripts and keys entirely, and instead make the wallet just be a list of these descriptors plus associated metadata.”
Currently, Wuille is investigating on adding support for nested and threshold constructions into the wallet. Conclusively, making it easier to add hardware wallet support to Bitcoin Core.
Being worked on by developer Wladimir van der Laan and several others, this project is a CPU architecture project. The project is rapidly gaining interest as a potential competitor with ARM-based chipsets and has raised the interest of many hobbyists as CPU design is open source.
The ultimate aim of the project is to avoid compromising on the Bitcoin Core binary builds due to known problems that exist in the x86_64 chipsets. This will be achieved by applying the RISC-V cross-compiling the newsletter says.
Van der Laan has achieved several recent successes and started “probably the first RISC-V bitcoin node in the world” which has already synced part of the chain the newsletter said.
Bandwidth-efficient set reconciliation protocol for transactions
Developers Gregory Maxwell, Gleb Naumenko, and Pieter Wuille are the contributors to this project. The purpose of the protocol is to allow a node that has new transactions in its memory pool to tell a peer node about those transactions by communicating an amount of data “equal to the expected size of the differences themselves” they stated.
The current protocol wastes up to 90% of bandwidth. In comparison to the existing protocol, the proposed protocol will use bandwidth efficiently.
Dandelion protocol DoS-resistant stem routing
The Dandelion protocol is being worked on by Suhas Daftua. The Dandelion protocol will make it extremely difficult for opponents to determine the IP address of any program that creates a Bitcoin transaction. However, the new method has to be secured against attacks that could potentially waste node bandwidth and memory, stated the newsletter.
According to the newsletter, the Bitcoin Core, LND and C-Lightning have undergone noticeable commits this week. Branching of Bitcoin Core 0.17 will allow developers to ensure stability, translation completeness, and other release features on that branch while simultaneously, development of new features will continue on the master branch, the newsletter cited.
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