The Bitcoin Core development team has released client Version 0.16.0, which includes the full GUI implementation of Segregated Witness (SegWit) and makes it the default for new addresses, on Monday, February 26.
The Github announcement states that “this is a new major version release, including new features, various bugfixes and performance improvements, as well as updated translations”
This update provides full support for native SegWit addresses (BIP173/Bech32) on the Bitcoin network.
SegWit, which promises a network expansion for reduced transaction fees and processing times, has been activated since August 24, 2017; however major companies and wallet providers have been slow to adopt it, leading to continued frustrations among Bitcoin users.
This mass adoption of SegWit allows for various scalability solutions to finally go into full effect and provides the foundation for more “revolutionary” upgrades such as the much anticipated Lightning Network.
The Lightning Network is a “second layer” to the Bitcoin network that offers users the ability to conduct off-chain transactions, with the Bitcoin blockchain used only as a settlement service. This network may be able to process up to 100,000 transactions according to some estimates.
Bitcoin Pizza Day #2: Laszlo Hanyecz, who completed the world’s first documented Bitcoin transaction for a physical item on May 22, 2010 (10,000 BTC for two pizzas) attempted and successfully completed a purchase of two additional pizzas on February 25th, 2018 through the Lightning Network (this time, spending .00649 BTC). Hanyecz was not the first to purchase a real world item this time around, with the first physical transaction on the new Lightning Network credited to a reddit user purchasing a VPN router on January 20 of this year.