Bitcoin Core has released its latest version 0.12.0 which includes a host of new features and sets the way for future block size scaling. You can download the latest client from the Bitcoin.org website.
After several release candidate versions, and plenty of testing, the development team felt the Bitcoin Core 0.12.0 client was ready for the public. A lot of time and effort went into this release, so it is no wonder it contains a laundry list of new features and improvements.
I have highlighted a few of the more significant changes below, but for those interested the the full list of changes can be viewed in the Release Notes.
Users who run a full node will be happy they now have the option to limit the upload traffic generated by the software client. Much of the upload traffic is from sending block history to other nodes. By using a new parameter,
-maxuploadtarget, the upload data is cut by not serving historic blocks (those older than one week). This is not intended as a hard limit but a threshold to minimize the outbound traffic.
Opt-in Replace-by-fee Transactions
Sent a low fee transaction that is taking forever to get confirmed? Opt-in Replace-by-Fee is a new feature that lets senders configure transactions which can be replaced later on with a higher fee. This will allow users to minimize senders fees by trying to send with a lower fee initially while reducing the risk of a “forever” trapped transaction that doesn’t want to confirm.
Users running Tor version 0.2.7.1 or higher now have the ability to have the Bitcoin client detect whether Tor is running and if it is it will automatically create Tor hidden services and connect to other nodes through the Tor network. This is all automated and on by default, no manual configuration is required.
Reduced Disk Usage for Wallets
Recently the data storage requirements of the Bitcoin Core wallet are getting quite high (60 GB and rising) when running a full node. Those users who want to use a wallet with a full node and may have limited disk space can now run their wallet in pruned mode. This works by having the node only keep track of unspent outputs and ignoring previously-processed blocks as well as outputs that have been spent. The end result is that users will be able to run a full node while only needing to store around 2 GB of data.
Other new features include improvements to reduce client crashes, relay transactions in a more efficient way, and giving miners the ability to assemble blocks faster.
How to Upgrade
If you are running an older client, shut it down. Wait until the client has completely
shut down and the warning window has closed (this may take several minutes for older clients).
Then run the installer (on Windows) or just copy over /Applications/Bitcoin-Qt (on Mac) or
bitcoind/bitcoin-qt (on Linux).
If you are pointing to a different data directory, make sure to update your launch string to include
-datadir=G:\Bitcoin where in this case “G:\Bitcoin” is the drive letter and directory you keep the block-chain and dat files.
You can read more information from the following links: