1.3 Beta Release

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We at Chia have been working hard to bring many of our new features together into one easy-to-use release. Today, we’re proud to announce the beta release of our 1.3 client. Because this release is still in beta, we recommend that you only install it on non mission-critical systems. If you are running a large farm, you should wait for the full 1.3 release before upgrading. This is coming… Soon™

That said, here are some of the new features included in version 1.3:

New GUI startup screen

When you run version 1.3 for the first time, you’ll be given the option to use Wallet Mode or Farming Mode.

Wallet mode is the lightweight version of our client; it doesn’t run a full node, and it doesn’t enable plotting or farming. Farming Mode will look familiar to those of you who have run previous versions of Chia. It runs a full node, and it includes plotting and farming, as well as the light wallet.

More information about how these modes work, as well as use-cases for both, can be found in our FAQs. Speaking of the light wallet, you’ll notice that the 1.3 wallet syncs much quicker than in previous versions, which leads us to the next new feature…

Light wallet integration

Over the last 10+ months, Chia’s blockchain has grown to over 1.5 million blocks, with around 4608 blocks continuing to be added every day. The stability of the chain is one of Chia’s strengths, but that does mean the full node’s wallet needs quite a long time to sync from genesis. Enter the light wallet.

Chia’s original light wallet was a standalone client that could not be used for farming. For 1.3, we have integrated the light wallet into Chia’s main client application. Our documentation site has the technical details of how the light wallet works, but the main point you need to know is that your wallet can now sync by only downloading a small fraction of the blocks in Chia’s blockchain. Sync times will vary depending on how many previous transactions your wallet has had; you can expect the process to take around the same amount of time as it did with the standalone light wallet.

Observer key change

The new wallet comes with a new set of keys. Prior to version 1.3, Chia only used non-observer keys. Those keys are secure, and the new wallet is fully backwards compatible with keys from previous versions. However, non-observer keys do have some drawbacks, as discussed in a previous blog post. For the reasons outlined in that post, Chia will begin to use observer keys in version 1.3.

After you upgrade Chia, all new funds that enter your wallet will automatically be stored using observer keys. The coins that were already in your wallet before the upgrade will be converted as they are spent. (One exception to this rule is farming rewards – if you have configured your rewards to be sent to a non-observer address, they’ll continue to be sent there until you change the address manually.)

The main advantage of observer keys is that they enable view-only wallets. One drawback of using these keys is that they are not compatible with older versions of Chia’s wallet. Third-party wallets will also need to add support for these keys in order to detect them.

If you have an older version of Chia or a third-party wallet installed elsewhere, it might not display the correct balance. To avoid this issue, we recommend that you upgrade all of your computers at once. Unfortunately for those of you running Chia farms, this also means that you should wait for the full release of version 1.3 before upgrading.

Key derivation tool

Along with the new keys, version 1.3 also includes a new command line tool that allows you to search for derived keys or wallet addresses. This tool has support for many different types of keys, of both the observer and non-observer varieties. The technical details for this tool are documented in the CLI reference of our wiki.

CATs and offers

These features have previously been implemented only in our standalone light wallet, and we’ve noticed how popular they’ve become. They are now available in the integrated light wallet. Keep the offers coming!

Database Version 2.0

Last but not least, Chia 1.3 also introduces version 2 of its blockchain database. This new version still uses SQLite, but its code has undergone a series of optimizations, as well as significant compression. This has resulted in an approximately 45% reduction in the size of the database, as well as a slight improvement in its performance.

Note that if you are upgrading Chia from a previous version, your database will remain at version 1 until you run chia db upgrade from the command line. We recommend that you have at least 40 GB of free space on your system before upgrading your database. If you do not have this much space, you can create your new database on a separate disk and move it later. The commands required to do this are documented in the CLI reference of our wiki.

If you’re installing Chia 1.3 on a new system, it will automatically use version 2 of the database from the get-go.

For technical details of the database upgrade, as well as some additional options for advanced users, see our FAQ.