The developers behind Bitcoin ABC, a software implementation for bitcoin cash, have published the new CashAddr update in their latest release.
CashAddr is designed to prevent users from mixing up BTC and BCH addresses, protecting their funds by changing how BCH addresses look.
Bitcoin cash and bitcoin had identical address formats after BCH’s hard fork last year, which meant that some users would accidentally send funds in one currency to an address on the other currency’s chain.
This, in turn, meant these users would lose their funds, either temporarily or permanently, as a result. Bitcoin ABC lead developer Amaury Sechet announced last November that he was working on a new address format to prevent this issue from happening, describing this as a “pressing need.”
“Using a new format will prevent users from mistakenly sending money on the wrong chain. It also accept payloads up to 512 bits which ensures we can deploy more secure way of doing multiparty smart contract in the future. Finally, it uses a version field ensuring we can encode new features in these addresses in the future without having to use a new format.”
On Tuesday, the new software version was published, which included CashAddr.
The change is mostly cosmetic. Implementing the new address requires exchanges, merchants and wallet providers to upgrade their software, but does not require a hard fork or for every node to also update to the new version.
The group also released a conversion tool to help users adjust to the format change.
In his initial announcement, Sechet proposed January 14 as a reasonable date for vendors to update their software.
Along with ending the address confusion, CashAddr includes more efficient error detection and allows for easier encoding of the new address format – specifically, users can now encode addresses into QR codes, making them easier to share.