Libbitcoinkernel is an ambitious project that aims to untangle the code of Bitcoin Core, the main software underlying Bitcoin. The goal is to separate the “security-critical” code from the rest of the code, making it easier for developers to experiment with changes to Bitcoin and introduce new features.
By extracting the security-critical code into a separate library, developers can focus their efforts on reviewing and improving that specific part of the code. This allows them to work more efficiently and spend less time worrying about accidentally causing issues in the consensus code. With less time spent on ensuring the stability of the code, developers can dedicate more time to developing new features and addressing bugs.
The project has broader implications for the Bitcoin ecosystem as well. Currently, Bitcoin Core is the main implementation of Bitcoin’s code, but Libbitcoinkernel opens up the possibility of multiple Bitcoin clients. This could lead to different implementations prioritizing features differently and serving different user needs. It also increases the resiliency of the network, as if one implementation is affected by a bug, others can continue to operate unaffected, thus enhancing Bitcoin’s decentralization.
The concept of extracting the consensus code is not new, but previous attempts have been abandoned or failed to reach completion. However, the Libbitcoinkernel project takes a more iterative and cautious approach, respecting the magnitude of the work. Developers have been contributing pull requests to the project on GitHub, but it is expected to take several release cycles to complete.
Overall, Libbitcoinkernel has the potential to make significant improvements to the Bitcoin codebase, allowing for easier experimentation, faster feature development, and increased network resiliency. It is a long-term project that could have far-reaching consequences for the Bitcoin ecosystem, benefiting both developers and users alike.