New Bitcoin Core Release: TimeLocks, Scripts, and Other Features of v 0.12.1

News and Analysis

Bitcoin Core developers have announced they release the new version of Bitcoin network client numbered 0.12.1. The release features a new mechanism of soft-fork deployment BIP9, which in turn activates proposals BIP68, BIP112, and BIP113.

More About the BIPs

BIP68 allows miners to prohibit a transaction until a specified moment in time or until the transaction has reached a certain age. The proposal’s description on GitHub reads:

“This, among other uses, allows bi-directional payment channels as used in Hashed Timelock Contracts (HTLCs) and BIP112.”

BIP112 implies a new operation code dubbed “CHECKSEQUENCEVERIFY” enabling scripting within nSequence field.

“By making the nSequence field accessible to script, it becomes possible to construct code pathways that only become accessible some minimum time after proof-of-publication. This enables a wide variety of applications in phased protocols such as escrow, payment channels, or bidirectional pegs,” the proposal’s description reads.

BIP113 changes semantics for determination of whether a temporarily blocked transaction may be incorporated in a block. According to the description found on GitHub, the proposal is set to exclude any transaction age manipulations by miners to ensure safe execution of BIP112.

Those proposals are to be activated simultaneously. However, the activation time has been postponed for two weeks so that all users could update their clients with the protocol’s new version. BIP112 is also required in order to launch Lightning Network.

What About Segwit?

Meanwhile, the developers apparently intend to launch Segregated Witness in a short while. At least, one may suggest that from Bitcoin Core’s open chat:

Thus, SegWit may be launched even under the twelfth version of the protocol.

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