The big news, at least from the armchair-observer perspective, is the addition of BIP-70 support, something only a handful of wallets have dared tackle. One of the biggest advantages of BIP-70 is that it allows a payment experience that is much more intuitive than the current manual entry of BTC amounts and mining fees to the random string of characters used for bitcoin addresses. A fully BIP-70 enabled system would be human readable, identifying both parties in the transaction to the extent both were comfortable, and automating the invoice and payment process completely. In effect, a bitcoin wallet could be as intuitive to use as PayPal or Facebook.
While the new system does rely on a “client<->server” model, the implementation doesn’t mean that BitPay has abandoned the decentralized ideals behind bitcoin.
Keep your seats. This doesn’t mean Bitcoin is no longer distributed. It allows a server to decide how many bitcoins you need to pay, and where you need to pay them. After that, the server broadcasts your transaction for you. Most importantly, it solves the problem of verifying identity in Bitcoin by using an X.509 Certificate Chain. In the spirit of a distributed system, anyone can make a Payment server or client. We wanted to make that last part easily possible.
The developers note that Copay system isn’t built to rely on X.509, and that the development of a “superior decentralized system of identity verification” would be welcome.
“We want to do the hard things that no one has done before, and we want to make the complicated parts of Bitcoin as easy to implement as possible,” BitPay said in their announcements. “More wallets, more implementations, by more people, is always a good thing for Bitcoin. That is what a distributed protocol like Bitcoin is all about.”