This week’s newsletter contains a warning about backdoored VM images. Also included are our regular sections with summaries of notable improvements to clients and services, announcements of releases and release candidates, and changes to popular Bitcoin infrastructure software.

Action items

  • Backdoored VM images: a user on Reddit posted about losing funds after using an AWS image that came with a Bitcoin full node already installed and synced to a recent block. Although the source of the loss was not fully determined in the thread, it was suggested that virtual machine images or other curated collections of software, especially those designed for Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, provide an effective mechanism for delivering backdoored software to valuable servers. This is a reminder that you should only install software from trustworthy sources. Additionally, please remember that your VM provider and their support staff can likely access any private keys on your server even if you perfect every other aspect of your security. In short, please consider performing extra diligence on any software or service to which you will entrust the creation of non-reversible Bitcoin transactions.


No significant Bitcoin technical news this week.

Changes to services and client software

In this monthly feature, we highlight interesting updates to Bitcoin wallets and services.

  • Sparrow Wallet adds payment batching and payjoin: Sparrow’s recent 0.9.6 and 0.9.7 releases added payment batching and payjoin capabilities respectively.

  • Nunchuk open sources Bitcoin Core backed multisig library: The team that developed the Nunchuk desktop application has announced libnunchuk, a C++ multisig library that leverages Bitcoin Core’s existing codebase.

Releases and release candidates

New releases and release candidates for popular Bitcoin infrastructure projects. Please consider upgrading to new releases or helping to test release candidates.

  • C-Lightning 0.9.2rc1 is a release candidate for the next maintenance version of C-Lightning. It contains new features, updated options, and bug fixes.

Notable code and documentation changes

Notable changes this week in Bitcoin Core, C-Lightning, Eclair, LND, Rust-Lightning, libsecp256k1, Hardware Wallet Interface (HWI), Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs), and Lightning BOLTs.

  • C-Lightning #4168 adds the ability for a plugin to specify that a hook be run before or after that of another plugin. Plugin authors wishing to ensure their plugin’s relative load ordering in this way should amend their getmanifest method’s response as shown here.

  • C-Lightning #4171 updates the hsmtool command with a new dumponchaindescriptors parameter that prints the output script descriptors for the keys and scripts used by C-Lightning’s onchain wallet. These descriptors may then be imported into a watch-only wallet to track any onchain transactions made by the LN node. This feature was requested to help improve integration between BTCPay Server’s default hot wallet and the optional LN server.

  • Eclair #1599 makes spending more intelligent when considering sending a multipath payment to a channel counterparty. When the receiver shares a direct channel with the spender, the spender knows exactly how much money is available to be sent in that channel. With this change, up to that amount can be allocated to the initial part of the payment instead of splitting it across multiple paths. Any remainder that still needs to be sent can still use other paths.

  • LND #4715 adds a --reset-wallet-transactions configuration parameter that will remove all onchain transactions from LND’s wallet and then start a rescan of the block chain to repopulate the wallet.

  • BOLTs #808 adds a warning that nodes must not release their own HTLC preimages unless they’re the final receiver of a payment. This warning may help new implementations avoid the premature release of preimages which caused CVE-2020-26896 (see Newsletter #121).