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Bitcoin Core 0.20.0 Released: What’s New

Bitcoin Core 0.20.0 cleans up the Bitcoin Core codebase, advances hardware wallet integration and strengthens network reliability, among other improvements.

The post Bitcoin Core 0.20.0 Released: What’s New appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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Today marks the official release of Bitcoin Core 0.20.0, the 20th major release of Bitcoin’s original software client launched by Satoshi Nakamoto over 11 years ago. 

Overseen by Bitcoin Core lead maintainer Wladimir van der Laan, this latest major release was developed by over 100 contributors in a span of about six months. The result of more than 500 merged pull requests, Bitcoin Core 0.20.0 mostly cleans up and hardens the Bitcoin Core codebase, advances hardware wallet integration, improves network reliability and includes several other improvements.

Here are some of the more notable changes.

Further Hardware Wallet Integration in GUI

Bitcoin Core has been compatible with hardware wallets since version 0.18.0. However, users cannot yet make transactions with a hardware wallet from Bitcoin Core’s graphical user interface (GUI); they must instead use the command-line interface (CLI) to do that.

Bitcoin Core 0.20.0 is taking a step toward hardware wallet integration into the GUI. Users can now create a transaction without a signature in the Bitcoin Core GUI using the partially signed bitcoin transaction (PSBT) format, and copy it to their clipboard. Once copied, they can transfer the transaction to their hardware wallet to sign it — however, this transfer is not yet automated, and broadcasting the transaction still requires using the CLI.

Future Bitcoin Core releases will continue to advance hardware wallet integration.

Asmap for More Reliable Network Connectivity

Bitcoin Core connects to several peers (other Bitcoin nodes) on the Bitcoin network. Bitcoin Core maps other nodes based on their IP addresses, with the intent to establish connections with peers from various regions and Internet Service Providers (ISPs). If a node receives blocks and transactions from peers located all around the world, it decreases the risk that certain data (like a specific transaction) is withheld.

Bitcoin Core currently maps IP addresses by Network Operators’ Groups. However, several of these groups are actually part of the same Autonomous System (AS): clusters of Network Operators’ Groups that share key internet routes, and therefore potentially share the same routing bottlenecks where data could potentially be filtered.

Bitcoin Core 0.20.0 includes a new configuration option called Asmap, which maps IP addresses by Autonomous System Numbers (ASNs). This ensures that the node connects with peers from a range of different ASs, reducing potential network bottlenecks, thus further limiting the risk that specific data is withheld. (Mapping IP addresses into Network Operators’ Groups remains the default configuration for now, however.)

Removal of BIP61 Reject Messages

Reject Messages (BIP61) are notifications that a node returns when a transaction it received from a peer is rejected, and why. (Perhaps because the transaction is invalid, perhaps because it is considered not to include sufficient fee, perhaps there is another reason for the rejection.)

Bitcoin Core developers do not consider the reject messages very useful, however. Most importantly, peers shouldn’t be assumed to reliably return a Reject Message. In other words, if a node doesn’t receive a Reject Message, it doesn’t necessarily mean the transaction was accepted. This limits the usefulness of the messages, while there are better solutions to check that a transaction is valid and includes enough fees. Meanwhile, the messages were making the peer-to-peer protocol more complex, and were taking up bandwidth.

BIP61 Reject Messages had therefore already been disabled by default in Bitcoin Core 0.18.0. Bitcoin 0.20.0 has now removed the feature completely.

Removal of the BIP70 Payment Protocol (and OpenSSL)

The Payment Protocol (BIP 70) was designed several years ago to improve Bitcoin’s payment experience. A user and a merchant could communicate additional details about a payment, such as a human-readable destination address (the name of the merchant) and a refund address in case something went wrong with the purchase.

While Bitcoin Core integrated the Payment Protocol, the standard was never widely adopted. Instead, most wallets still use the more basic URI scheme (BIP21): The clickable link or scannable QR-code format that, for example, communicates the payment address and amount.

Perhaps more importantly than the lack of adoption, the BIP70 Payment Protocol suffered a number of security and privacy vulnerabilities over the years. Most notably, its dependency on the OpenSSL software library for cryptographic functions required a series of short notice emergency upgrades. Some Bitcoin wallets have, for these reasons, rejected implementing BIP70 altogether.

Bitcoin Core 0.19.0 removed the Payment Protocol from the GUI, but users could still compile their node with a special configuration to make use of the feature. Bitcoin Core 0.20.0 has now completely removed the Payment Protocol.

With BIP70 gone (and some other software tweaks to remove the dependency), Bitcoin Core has also been able to completely remove OpenSSL from its codecase.

Dumptxoutset As a First Step Toward Assumeutxo for Fast Bootstrapping

A new remote procedure call (RPC) lets Bitcoin Core 0.20.0 generate a snapshot of the UTXO set, which reflects the state of Bitcoin ownership as recorded on the blockchain at a specific point in time (block height). This snapshot can be shared.

Future Bitcoin Core releases will share such a snapshot when peers first join the network. This allows the new nodes to immediately start participating on the network from the point in time when the snapshot was made, while the entire history of the blockchain is checked in the background. (Like Assumevalid, a similar shortcut, Assumeutxo does come with trust tradeoffs before the entire blockchain is checked, and should until then be used with these tradeoffs in mind.)

For a more extensive list of upgrades, also see the Bitcoin Core 0.20.0 release notes.

Thanks to Sjors Provoost for information and feedback.

The post Bitcoin Core 0.20.0 Released: What’s New appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/bitcoin-core-0-20-0-released-whats-new?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=bitcoin-core-0-20-0-released-whats-new

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Aave hits record $288 high as demand for flash loans and staking increases

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Aave (AAVE) price has been on an absolute tear for weeks and today the DeFi-token rallied to a new all-time high at $288.90. 

The decentralized finance protocol is one of the most popular in the market and the recent rally in the DeFi sector is one of the driving forces behind AAVE’s rally.

AAVE/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

At the start of 2021, AAVE price was trading at $83 and the recent rally appears to have bolstered the protocol’s surging total value locked, increasing buy volume on spot and derivatives exchanges and the continued development of Aave’s lending platform and flash loan issuance.

TVL soars to a new high

Data from DeFi Pulse shows that Aave’s TVL rose from $2.03 billion on Jan. 1 and as (BTC) and Ether (ETH) price went parabolic Aave’s TVL also surged.

Total value locked on AAVE. Source: DeFi Pulse

Currently, Aave’s TVL sits at a new all-time high of $3.75 billion, making the platform the second-largest DeFi platform by TVL behind Maker (MKR).

The steady addition of new tokens to the lending and borrowing protocol increases the likelihood that its TVL will continue to rise and help AAVE retain its standing as one of the top DeFi projects in the cryptocurrency space.

Staking drives demand for AAVE token

AAVE’s trading volume also surged at the beginning of 2021, increasing from $200 million on Jan. 3 to a high of $928 million on Jan. 16.

AAVE price vs. Reported trading volume. Source: TheTIE

As AAVE price reached a new high, it’s 24-hour trading volume notched a record $1.06 billion. This volume surge is partially driven by investors acquiring more tokens for staking, with 26.8% of the total supply of AAVE currently staked on the platform earning an APY of 6.1%

Flash loans attract investors

Another reason for AAVE’s recent surge is the growth of its flash loans.

Flash loans allow cryptocurrency holders to collatoralize their portfolio to fund other purchases or new crypto purchases. The loans also help investors utilize the value in their tokens without the need to sell see them and create a taxable event.

Since launching flash loans less than 12 months ago, more than $1.7 billion have been issued and it’s expected that this figure will increse as the crypto bull market progresses.

Total flash loan issuance to date on AAVE. Source: Messari

As can be seen in the chart above, the most dominant token requested for flash loans is the DAI stablecoin, followed by USDC and ETH. Data from Messari shows that Aave issued $25 million in loans in the first half of 2020, $500 million in Q3, and nearly $1 billion in Q4, including $450 million in December.

The expansion of the flash loan concept will likely attract more users to Aave, especially since they can be used for arbitrage opportunities between DEXs, collateral swaps, self-liquidations and a variety of other applications within the DeFi sector.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/aave-hits-record-288-high-as-demand-for-flash-loans-and-staking-increases

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Blockchain-based-video-game

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Ethereum and the broader cryptocurrency market have seen mixed price action over the past few days and weeks. Ethereum Price is Surging Despite the selling pressure it has experienced at $1,200, ETH beat all odds and surged beyond $1,400, recording a new all-time high at $1,423.38.  At press time, the…

Source: https://btcmanager.com/Blockchain-based%20video%20game%20community%20and%20development%20platform,%20Enjin%20(ENJ)%20witnesses%20the%20launch%20of%20the%20highly-anticipated%20dark%20sci-fi%20action-adventure%20game,%20Age%20of%20Rust./

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Cryptocurrency makes World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda

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The World Economic Forum’s upcoming Davos Agenda will feature two separate sessions on cryptocurrency, offering another compelling sign that digital assets have permeated mainstream consciousness. 

The sessions, titled Resetting Digital Currencies, will be held on Monday and Thursday. The first session will feature five public speakers, including Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey and Hikmet Ersek, president and CEO of Western Union.

Thursday’s group features four speakers, including Tharman Shanmugaratnam, a senior minister for the government of Singapore, and Zhu Min, chairman of the Beijing-based National Institute of Financial Research.

“COVID-19 has accelerated the long-term shift from cash,” reads the prospectus for both sessions. “Meanwhile, central bank digital currencies are emerging, potentially transforming how people use money worldwide.”

It continues:

“What policies, practices and partnerships are needed to leverage the opportunities posed by the rise of digital currencies?”

Davos Agenda is a five-day summit featuring some of the world’s leading figures in finance and government. The cryptocurrency series falls under the summit’s “Fairer Economies” theme. Other themes include “Tech for Good,” “How to Save the Planet” and “Healthy Futures.”

The World Economic Forum is devoting more resources to understanding blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. The Geneva-based organization has even created a cryptocurrency working group, which only last month published its inaugural review focusing on the various use cases for digital assets “beyond price and speculation.”

The Forum’s research has cited blockchain technology as a key driver of “sustainable digital finance.” Blockchain and smart contract capability, the Forum’s researchers argue, can unlock “hidden values of legacy digital systems.”

Central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs, are one area of research the Forum has delved into over the past 18 months. In Jan 2020, the Forum announced it had developed a framework to help banks “evaluate, design and potentially deploy CBDC.” The framework was developed in conjunction with over 40 central banks, financial institutions and academic researchers.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/cryptocurrency-makes-world-economic-forum-s-davos-agenda

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