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Bitcoin Core 0.15.1 Released

Bitcoin Core version 0.15.1 is now available from:

https://bitcoincore.org/bin/bitcoin-core-0.15.1

or

https://bitcoin.org/bin/bitcoin-core-0.15.1

This is a new minor version release, including various bugfixes and
performance improvements, as well as updated translations.

Please report bugs using the issue tracker at GitHub:

https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/issues

To receive security and update notifications, please subscribe to:

https://bitcoincore.org/en/list/announcements/join/

How to Upgrade

If you are running an older version, shut it down. Wait until it has completely
shut down (which might take a few minutes for older versions), then run the
installer (on Windows) or just copy over /Applications/Bitcoin-Qt (on Mac)
or bitcoind/bitcoin-qt (on Linux).

The first time you run version 0.15.0 or higher, your chainstate database will
be converted to a new format, which will take anywhere from a few minutes to
half an hour, depending on the speed of your machine.

The file format of fee_estimates.dat changed in version 0.15.0. Hence, a
downgrade from version 0.15 or upgrade to version 0.15 will cause all fee
estimates to be discarded.

Note that the block database format also changed in version 0.8.0 and there is no
automatic upgrade code from before version 0.8 to version 0.15.0. Upgrading
directly from 0.7.x and earlier without redownloading the blockchain is not supported.
However, as usual, old wallet versions are still supported.

Downgrading warning

The chainstate database for this release is not compatible with previous
releases, so if you run 0.15 and then decide to switch back to any
older version, you will need to run the old release with the -reindex-chainstate
option to rebuild the chainstate data structures in the old format.

If your node has pruning enabled, this will entail re-downloading and
processing the entire blockchain.

Compatibility

Bitcoin Core is extensively tested on multiple operating systems using
the Linux kernel, macOS 10.8+, and Windows Vista and later. Windows XP is not supported.

Bitcoin Core should also work on most other Unix-like systems but is not
frequently tested on them.

Notable changes

Network fork safety enhancements

A number of changes to the way Bitcoin Core deals with peer connections and invalid blocks
have been made, as a safety precaution against blockchain forks and misbehaving peers.

  • Unrequested blocks with less work than the minimum-chain-work are now no longer processed even
    if they have more work than the tip (a potential issue during IBD where the tip may have low-work).
    This prevents peers wasting the resources of a node.

  • Peers which provide a chain with less work than the minimum-chain-work during IBD will now be disconnected.

  • For a given outbound peer, we now check whether their best known block has at least as much work as our tip. If it
    doesn't, and if we still haven't heard about a block with sufficient work after a 20 minute timeout, then we send
    a single getheaders message, and wait 2 more minutes. If after two minutes their best known block has insufficient
    work, we disconnect that peer. We protect 4 of our outbound peers from being disconnected by this logic to prevent
    excessive network topology changes as a result of this algorithm, while still ensuring that we have a reasonable
    number of nodes not known to be on bogus chains.

  • Outbound (non-manual) peers that serve us block headers that are already known to be invalid (other than compact
    block announcements, because BIP 152 explicitly permits nodes to relay compact blocks before fully validating them)
    will now be disconnected.

  • If the chain tip has not been advanced for over 30 minutes, we now assume the tip may be stale and will try to connect
    to an additional outbound peer. A periodic check ensures that if this extra peer connection is in use, we will disconnect
    the peer that least recently announced a new block.

  • The set of all known invalid-themselves blocks (i.e. blocks which we attempted to connect but which were found to be
    invalid) are now tracked and used to check if new headers build on an invalid chain. This ensures that everything that
    descends from an invalid block is marked as such.

Miner block size limiting deprecated

Though blockmaxweight has been preferred for limiting the size of blocks returned by
getblocktemplate since 0.13.0, blockmaxsize remained as an option for those who wished
to limit their block size directly. Using this option resulted in a few UI issues as
well as non-optimal fee selection and ever-so-slightly worse performance, and has thus
now been deprecated. Further, the blockmaxsize option is now used only to calculate an
implied blockmaxweight, instead of limiting block size directly. Any miners who wish
to limit their blocks by size, instead of by weight, will have to do so manually by
removing transactions from their block template directly.

GUI settings backed up on reset

The GUI settings will now be written to guisettings.ini.bak in the data directory before wiping them when
the -resetguisettings argument is used. This can be used to retroactively troubleshoot issues due to the
GUI settings.

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