Bitcoin is guaranteed to take a significant step towards evolution with its v0.9 release. Apparently, there will be new features, created to increase merchant and customer usability. There are four particular areas – ease of payment, recurring payments, dispute resolution and immediate-feedback transactions – that will improve greatly.
The release will implement a new type of payment messages, which allows the merchant to send a signed request with the specific amount to be paid and the transaction description. After receiving the information, the customer can pay to the merchant and receive a “receipt”, called PaymentACK.
The v0.9 update will also bring an improved form of signed transactions to the table: the release will use X.509 certificates (issued by a central authority to a specific receiver and frequently used to sign website sessions) to sign the payment request and prove its authenticity. These certificates are a simpler and quicker way to manage payments and most sites have already used them, so they seem like a neat addition to the Bitcoin world.
The new release will create a description field that can identify the transaction with more details. Add to this the ability to provide a refund address to the act of paying, allowing a refund to be sent to a different address than the coins were sent from. So, no more worrying whether your money can find its way back.
As you can see, one of the greatest improvements brought by the v0.9 release is in the usability field. If you’re a merchant or a buyer, it will be easier to deal with Bitcoin. Recurring payments will also be easier to implement, providing the possibility of billing customers at regular intervals, something that was relatively hard to do. Even the option of automatic billing can be implemented with the customer’s consent.
Another feature that will be clearer is related to the dispute resolution: after the end of the transaction, the customer receives a signed receipt, providing clear evidence that the transaction was successful for both parties. The v0.9 update will also generate an immediate feedback, through a message embedded in PaymentACK, avoiding the blockchain’s unnecessary growth.
Sure, like everything, this update also brings some concerns, like the fact that X.509 certificates are issued by central authorities, making Bitcoin less decentralized. Besides, it will be more difficult to check for revoked certificates. But Bitcoin has to evolve in some direction and, for now, this one brings more benefits than disadvantages.