The new version of popular client Bitcoin Core (v 22.0) has just been released. It includes support for the upcoming Taproot update, scheduled for November.
Bitcoin Core 0.21.1 was the first version to include capabilities to enable the Taproot update. However, Bitcoin Core 22.0 is the first version to actually support the upgrade itself.
Bitcoin Core 22.0 will be able to fully validate transactions according to the new rules. In addition, the users of the software will be able to create new version addresses. Support for more complex types of smart contracts, which will be possible on Bitcoin Core thanks to Taproot, will appear later.
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Taproot is the biggest Bitcoin upgrade since Segregated Witness was activated back in 2017.
Support for hardware GUI wallets
While Bitcoin Core has supported hardware wallets since version 0.18.0, the connection was made via the command line. In version 0.20.0, GUI support has been partially added, but this did not exempt from using the command line when signing transactions. Bitcoin Core 22.0 is the first version of the client with full support for hardware wallets in a graphical interface. Thus, users can connect devices from Ledger, Trezor, BitBox, KeepKey and Coldcard.
Support for I2P
Invisible Internet Project (I2P) is a decentralized peer-to-peer network for connecting anonymously to Internet services. Previously, Bitcoin Core users could already use the Tor network to hide IP addresses when connecting nodes, however, they now have a new alternative.
Support for larger multiple signatures
Addresses with multiple signatures allow users to spend Bitcoins if they have multiple private keys. Prior to this, Bitcoin Core software supported up to 16 keys in an address, although no such restrictions exist in the Bitcoin protocol itself. In Bitcoin Core 22.0, the limit has increased to 20 keys.