A new version 0.12.0 of the Bitcoin Core has been officially released amidst the ongoing debate about the way to increase the size of bitcoin block.

The users who choose to upgrade their nodes to the released version will get 22 new features including 7 times faster validation and much quicker block assembly for miners, the announcement claims. The development team has called the new version “a major move forward for the Bitcoin Core client.” The changes will make possible the increase of the block size through SegWit upcoming this April.

On 11 February Bitcoin Classic version 0.11.2 went public developed by Gavin Andresen doubling transaction capacity of the bitcoin digital currency. It includes a change of consensus rule that increases the block size limit from 1 to 2 Mb. A number of key players signed a letter urging the community to abstain from embracing Andresen's version and wait until Segregated Witness is out.

The consensus on the SegWit hard fork solution was achieved by the bitcoin community on Sunday 21 February. The participants agreed that after the release of SegWit they would develop a hard-fork solution in three month time and pass it on to the Bitcoin Core developers to be implemented within the Bitcoin Core. However, a group of important bitcoin players including Xapo and Coinbase chose to support Bitcoin Classic. The version continues to find its followers: SlushPool, a Czech-based bitcoin mining pool accounting for 5.7 percent of hashing power on the Bitcoin network, has recently joined the group.

The latest version of Bitcoin Core will set Tor by default as the tool for anonymising the Bitcoin Network. The Onion Router will encrypt data making it more difficult to track bitcoin transactions. The 0.12.0 version will also limit memory pools which store unconfirmed transactions to prevent the nodes running out of memory and crashing.