One hour ago, at 1:58 p.m. UTC on Jan. 14, 2021, the new version of Bitcoin Core came to existence. It was announced by Bitcoin Core lead maintainer Wladimir J. Van Der Laan on Linux Foundation's forum.
Version v0.21.0 is the first release in 2021: when Taproot?
According to the official changelog of the new release, the most numerous updates are made in terms of network performance, RPCs (in-blockchain commands) and wallet specifications.
In this release, the mempool checks whether transactions initiated by wallets and RPCs are broadcasted successfully. Unbroadcasted transactions are announced every 10-15 minutes. Then, some anti-spam mechanisms are implemented: to "dump" a large batch of transactions, the node operator's IP should be whitelisted.
This release brings Bitcoin Core one step closer to the much-anticipated release of Taproot mechanisms: the proposed Taproot consensus rules are implemented without activation in mainnet. Bitcoin enthusiasts can experiment with it in a signet testing environment.
Also, automatically opened interactions with Tor Network now rely on the Tor v3 service instead of Tor v2.
No more automated wallet creation
Also, starting from this release, Bitcoin Core will no longer create new Bitcoin (BTC) wallets automatically. It will load existing wallets and, if specified wallets do not exist, the system will log errors instead of creating new wallets with new keys.
Meanwhile, new wallets can still be created with a graphic user interface—with the commands "bitcoin-cli createwallet" or "bitcoin-wallet create" in the command line interface or the "createwallet" RPC.
Finally, the 0.21.0 release introduces a brand new type of wallet—Descriptor Wallets—that has a number of technical differences from the "default" Bitcoin (BTC) wallets.