A team of software developers is releasing a new bitcoin client, designed as an alternative to the original software that implemented the Bitcoin protocol. The new software, called btcd, solves several issues that they say made it difficult to port the software to new operating systems, and will be showcased at the Bitcoin 2013 conference later this week.
Bitcoind was the original Bitcoin client implementing the bitcoin protocol, and was partly developed by Satoshi, the mysterious inventor of the Bitcoin algorithm. It was developed as a ‘daemon’ – a program designed to be started and manipulated via instructions typed into a command line. The software, which was portable across Windows, Mac, and Linux systems, was particularly useful for administering remotely. It is useful for integrating into other bitcoin client software, or into payment systems.
However, the Conformal team identified areas for improvement in bitcoind after trying to port it to its own operating system, which was based on an open source system called OpenBSD. There were several programming functions that were not portable from one system to another, and the firm also had problems with testing the source code.
“After seeing these issues with the porting, I felt that the bitcoin ecosystem could use an alternative to bitcoind,” said Jake Yocom-Piatt, CEO at Conformal.
Bitcoind was developed in C++, but the development team used Go, a programming language developed by Google, which was designed to support large numbers of concurrent operations.
The company has released source code for the first part of its system, called btcwire, on the collaborative programming site GitHub. It handles the delivery of messages to the bitcoin network.
“Our goal is to continue releasing packages from btcd as we increase test coverage and bring them up to a professional level,” said Conformal developer David Collins, who will be talking at the bitcoin 2013 conference on Saturday May 18.
The team has vowed to add more functionality to its software, including handling wallets, and connecting to Tor, which is a network for anonymous online communication.