BitCoin Core – BitCoin Wallet – Download BitCoin Core

BitCoin Core Features


Full validation

Imagine a scientist reading about an experimental result and then repeating the experiment for herself. Doing so allows her to trust the result without having to trust the original scientists.

Bitcoin Core checks each block of transactions it receives to ensure that everything in that block is fully valid—allowing it to trust the block without trusting the miner who created it.

This prevents miners from tricking Bitcoin Core users into accepting blocks that violate the 21 million bitcoin limit or which break other important rules.

Users of other wallets don’t get this level of security, so miners can trick them into accepting fabricated transactions or hijacked block chains.

Why take that risk if you don’t have to? Bitcoin Core provides the best possible security against dishonest miners along with additional security against other easier attacks (see below for details).

How Validation Protects Your Bitcoins

and put your bitcoins at increased risk of being stolen. That risk may be acceptable for small values of bitcoin on mobile wallets, but is it what you want for your real wallet?

Click any row below for more details about that attack

Attack Bank Wallet SPV Wallet Bitcoin Core
Direct theft
Bait and switch
Fabricated transactions
Chain hijacking
Transaction withholding
Chain rewrites

Note that although all programs—including Bitcoin Core—are vulnerable to chain rewrites, Bitcoin provides a defense mechanism: the more confirmations your transactions have, the safer you are. There is no known decentralized defense better than that.

Help Protect Decentralization

The bitcoin currency only works when people accept bitcoins in exchange for other valuable things. That means it’s the people accepting bitcoins who give it value and who get to decide how Bitcoin should work.

When you accept bitcoins, you have the power to enforce Bitcoin’s rules, such as preventing confiscation of any person’s bitcoins without access to that person’s private keys.

Unfortunately, many users outsource their enforcement power. This leaves Bitcoin’s decentralization in a weakened state where a handful of miners can collude with a handful of banks and free services to change Bitcoin’s rules for all those non-verifying users who outsourced their power.

Users of Bitcoin banks
Trust bankers
Users of P2P lightweight wallets
Trust miners
Users of client lightweight wallets
Trust “free” services
Users of Bitcoin Core
Enforce the rules

Unlike other wallets, Bitcoin Core does enforce the rules—so if the miners and banks change the rules for their non-verifying users, those users will be unable to pay full validation Bitcoin Core users like you.

As long as there are many non-verifying users who want to be able to pay Bitcoin Core users, miners and others know they can’t effectively change Bitcoin’s rules.

But what if not enough non-verifying users care about paying Bitcoin Core users? Then it becomes easy for miners and banks to take control of Bitcoin, likely bringing to an end this 7 year experiment in decentralized currency.

History of Bitcoin

If you think Bitcoin should remain decentralized, the best thing you can do is validate every payment you receive using your own personal full node such as Bitcoin Core.

We don’t know how many full validation users and business are needed, but it’s possible that for each person or business who validates their own transactions, Bitcoin can remain decentralized even if there are ten or a hundred other non-verifying users. If this is the case, your small contribution can have a large impact towards keeping Bitcoin decentralized.

Do You Validate Your Transactions?

Some people confuse supporting the network with helping to protect Bitcoin’s decentralization.

To improve your security and help protect decentralization, you must use a wallet that fully validates received transactions. There are three ways to do that with Bitcoin Core right now:

  1. Use the built-in wallet’s graphical mode. If you request payment using the following screen in Bitcoin Core, your received transactions will be fully validated.Bitcoin Core request payment
  2. Use Bitcoin Core as a trusted peer for certain lightweight wallets. Learn more on the user interface page. If you use a secure connection to your personal trusted peer every time you use the wallet, your received transactions will be fully validated.
  3. Use the built-in wallet’s CLI/API interface. This is meant for power users, businesses, and programmers. The user interface page provides an overview, the installation instructions can help you get started, and the RPC/REST documentation can help you find specific commands. If you’re usinggetnewaddress to create receiving addresses, your received transactions will be fully validated.

Bitcoin Core ensures every block and transaction it accepts is valid, increasing not only your security but also helping prevent miners and banks from taking control of Bitcoin.

Learn about full validation

Better Privacy

Bitcoin Core provides exclusive privacy features that can make it hard for anyone to link you to your transactions.

Excellent privacy

What if every time you spent or received cash, all the transaction details were published to your Twitter or Facebook feed for all your friends to see? You probably wouldn’t want to use cash any more.

Every confirmed Bitcoin transaction is published to the block chain where anyone can see it. So why do people still use Bitcoin? And why do many of them believe that Bitcoin is a private way of sending money?

One reason is that Bitcoin Core and some other Bitcoin software tries to avoid associating your real-world identity with the transactions you make. The difference looks like this:

Privacy difference: pseudonymous transactions

The second type of transaction (a pseudonymous transaction) only provides practical privacy if nobody can figure out that “5a35b” is really Alice. It’s up to your wallet to prevent anyone from making that connection. See below for how Bitcoin Core’s privacy compares to other wallets.

No Sign-Up Required

Third-party Bitcoin services can both increase and decrease your privacy. They can increase it by mixing your transactions with those of other users; they can decrease it by tracking your activity and directly associating it with your real name or other identifying information.

Click an entry below to show it:

Who knows your information? Just you or also a service provider?
Bitcoin Core Coinbase
Your real name
Your bitcoin balance
Who you pay, and/or who pays you (in some cases)
How much you spend and/or receive
The IP address your connection came from
Who can guess your information? Just you or also people you trade with?
Bitcoin Core Coinbase
Other transactions you made or received

Perfect Privacy for Received Transactions

There are 100 million transactions on the Bitcoin block chain. How do you find which ones pay you? Here are some common options:

Ask bankers
They’ll monitor your every transaction

Ask random nodes
Some of which sell your data

Ask a free service
(Actually, some do care about privacy)

Get all 100 million transactions
For perfect receiving privacy

Bitcoin Core

Bitcoin Core downloads all 100 million transactions on the Bitcoin block chain and processes them to find which transactions pay you.

This currently takes about 4 hours the first time you start Bitcoin Core and about 5 minutes a day to keep updated, but it gives you what scientists call against eavesdroppers for received transactions.

Strong Privacy for Sent Transactions

To put a transaction on the block chain, you must send it publicly—but how you send it can make a big difference.

Sending privacy

Can you guess who made which transactions? Nearly all peer-to-peer lightweight clients today make no attempt to obscure their sent transactions. They simply send them to some or all of their peers.

Bitcoin Core does much better. By default, it relays transactions for all of its peers—thousands of separate transactions a day under common conditions—which allows it both support the peer-to-peer network and confuse anti-privacy organizations that try to track your transactions.

Tor Compatible

The Tor anonymity network helps disassociate your online activity from your IP address (which is often closely associated with your real name). This significantly increases your ability to confound anti-privacy organizations.

Once you setup Tor, using it with Bitcoin Core is easy. If you also setup a Tor hidden service, you will be able to connect mobile clients to your Bitcoin Core full node for increased security and privacy wherever you go.

Start using Tor today

Decentralized Peer Discovery

The first time any Bitcoin program connects to the peer-to-peer network, it has to ask a centralized authority for a list of recommended peers.

Once the program gets on the network, it can ask its peers for more recommendations in a fully decentralized way—but lightweight wallets don’t bother.

P2P Lightweight Wallets Bitcoin Core
Asks the same centralized services every time program is restarted. This can be faster. Uses the peer-to-peer network to independently discover new peers. Uses found peers on restart.

This allows the centralized authority to connect lightweight wallets to dishonest peers that can completely destroy lightweight transaction privacy. Those dishonest peers can work with dishonest miners to weaken lightweight security too.

Bitcoin Core prefers decentralized peer discovery, so after the first time it starts, it no longer has to trust the centralized authority. Isn’t that worth occasionally starting up a few seconds slower?

Warning: Better Security Has Costs

Bitcoin Core uses more resources than other wallets, but it’s still convenient to run on most computers and Internet connections.

System requirements & warnings

A Better User Interface

Bitcoin Core wallet has features most other wallets don’t have. But if you don’t need them, you can use several other wallets on top of Bitcoin Core without losing Bitcoin Core’s security and privacy benefits.

Bitcoin Core User Interface

Bitcoin Core has a built in wallet with graphical and command line/API modes. It can also simultaneously support multiple lightweight wallets with similar security andprivacy to its built-in wallet.

Multiple wallet support

Warning: you only get the security and privacy benefits in supported lightweight wallets if they make a secure and private connection to your Bitcoin Core every time you use them. This usually requires special configuration.

Bitcoin Core Wallet GUI (Graphical)


  • See your current balance and recent transactions

  • Easily choose between low fees and fast confirmation

  • Enhance privacy or save money by choosing your inputs

  • Generate QR codes to receive payment

  • Easily track who paid you

  • Use Tor or a proxy for privacy

  • Track how much bandwidth you use

  • Track bitcoins stored safely offline

Bitcoin Core Wallet RPC/REST (CLI)


  • Get a new address for receiving payment

  • Instantly see your available Bitcoin balance

  • Send a single payment to multiple addresses

  • See what received transactions you can spend

  • Create and send raw transactions

  • Be notified of new blocks and transactions

Learn more: documentation for the RPC and REST interfaces

Lightweight Wallets Using Bitcoin Core

Lightweight wallets usually connect to several random full nodes (like Bitcoin Core) to send and receive all of their data. In the process they leak private data and make themselves more vulnerable to attacks.

Non-private connection

But it’s also possible to connect certain lightweight wallets solely to your own Bitcoin Core full node, called a trusted peer. If you do this with a secure and private connection every time you use that lightweight wallet, you’ll get most of the security and privacy benefits of a full node as well as help protect decentralization.

Secure and private connection

Trusted Peer Support

The following wallets can securely connect to a trusted peer.

Armory

GreenBits

mSigna

mSigma screenshot

mSIGNA is an advanced yet easy-to-use wallet featuring speed and simplicity, enterprise-level scalability, and strong security. It supports BIP32, multisignature transactions, offline storage, multidevice synchronization, and encrypted electronic and paper backups.

No configuration necessary: just install Bitcoin Core on the same computer you plan to use mSigna, wait for Bitcoin Core to sync the block chain, and then start mSigna—it will automatically connect to your Bitcoin Core full node.

Support The Network

Bitcoin Core helps support other peers. This isn’t as useful as helping to keep Bitcoin decentralized, but it’s an easy way for broadband users to contribute to less well-connected users.