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Google releases open source Bitcoin client

Accepting Bitcoins for online services would be ideal outcome

A Google engineer has released an open source Java client for the Bitcoin peer-to-peer currency system, simply called BitcoinJ.

Bitcoin is an Internet currency that uses a P2P architecture for processing transactions avoiding the need for a central bank or payment system.

The BitcoinJ client is available under the Apache 2 license at Google’s code repository:

Bitcoin community member with the avatar “mike” made the announcement earlier this month, stating BitcoinJ is not an “official” Google project, but something developed in the 20 per cent of time Google allows its staff to spend on personal projects.

Commenting on the release, Gavin Andresen, technical lead for the Bitcoin project, said BitcoinJ is exciting because Google is a “big, trusted brand name”.

“I think Bitcoin support in many of their products would make perfect sense,” he said.

BitcoinJ implements the native Bitcoin P2P protocol, which allows it to maintain a wallet and send and receive transactions without needing a local copy of the official implementation.

Read the full interview with Bitcoin technical lead, Gavin Andresen.

The project aims to be easier to understand than the C++ implementation, and be suitable for usage on constrained devices such as mobile phones.

Indeed, some of the software “mike” used to develop BitcoinJ was renamed to avoid conflicts on Android.

BitcoinJ implements the "simplified payment verification" mode so it stores what it needs in order to verify transactions with the aid of an untrusted peer node.

Andresen said Google is more likely to adopt Bitcoin if the company has an in-house implementation of the client software like BitcoinJ.

“And a second implementation of Bitcoin is very good for network diversity and robustness,” he said.

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