Thanks to six long months of hard work by more than a hundred developers, Bitcoin Core 0.20.0 is officially here! This marks the 28th time the first and continually most in-demand implementation for Bitcoin (BTC) gets such an upgrade.
According to its official blog post, this recent upgrade improves upon a long list of features to render the service more appealing to the public. Such upgrades include significant performance improvements, bug identification and fixes, and integration of brand new features and translations. They put heavy emphasis on the overview of a new IP mapping framework that has the potential to render the entire Bitcoin network more efficient and consistent.
The decision to remove both BIP and OpenSSL
They elaborated that in order to elevate Bitcoin Core, they would need to omit some of its existing features. One example of this is the removal of the Bitcoin improvement proposal or the BIP. The BIP is what allowed the node operators to broadcast the dubbed “reject messages” to their fellow operators in the instance that a transaction gets disallowed by their respective node. This feature has been with Bitcoin Core ever since its deployment on its version 0.19.0 and has generated conflicting views.
This feedback feature was initially developed in the effort to allow node operators to analyze throughput problems concerning the propagation of both blocks and transactions. However, as Marco Falke, a Bitcoin Core contributor, elaborated, network nodes do not necessarily exude trustworthiness regarding the sending of reject messages. In fact, he believes that the feature should only be used whenever connected to a particularly trusted node.
Since the feature is becoming more of a liability than a useful commodity, Bitcoin Core developers decided to disable the feature in the middle of the 0.19.0 life cycle. It has since been removed altogether in the newest 0.20.0.
With all that being said, what caught the attention of many is the decision to remove OpenSSL, the software library implemented by Satoshi Nakamoto himself ever since the conception of Bitcoin.
This controversial omission of such an ancient feature may be driven by the discovery that the OpenSSL has been the source for many performance issues, emergency releases, and various bugs for such a long time now. A post by a BitMEX researcher earlier this year explained that ever since the version 0.12.0 of Bitcoin Core came out, developers have been steadily eliminating OpenSSL and has been using the more recent and finely-tuned secp256k instead.
Just like the BIP, developers have decided to drop OpenSSL entirely in version 0.20.0 as they firmly believe that doing so shall lead to a more protected system.