Bitcoin Core GUI: A Separate Repository for the Graphical User Interface on GitHub
Bitcoin-qt is a graphical user interface (GUI) for the Bitcoin Core software, which is the reference implementation of the Bitcoin protocol. Bitcoin Core connects to the Bitcoin peer-to-peer network to download and fully validate blocks and transactions. It also includes a wallet and a graphical user interface, which can be optionally built.
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Using bitcoin-qt, you can interact with the Bitcoin network, send and receive transactions, and manage your wallet. You can also access some advanced features such as coin control, message signing, and raw transaction creation. By running bitcoin-qt, you are also helping to support the network by relaying transactions and blocks to other nodes.
Bitcoin-qt is one of the most popular and trusted Bitcoin clients, as it is developed by a team of experienced developers who follow high standards of coding and security. However, it also has some drawbacks, such as requiring a lot of disk space and bandwidth to store and verify the entire blockchain, which is over 300 GB as of June 2023. It also takes a long time to sync with the network for the first time, which can take several hours or days depending on your connection speed.
In this article, we will show you how to download, install, and use bitcoin-qt on your computer. We will assume that you have some basic knowledge of Bitcoin and how it works. If not, you can check out our guide for beginners.
The first step to use bitcoin-qt is to download the latest version of the software for your operating system. You can get it from the official Bitcoin Core website at . You can choose between Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, or ARM Linux versions.
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The website will provide you with a link to download a .exe file for Windows, a .dmg file for Mac OS X, or a .tar.gz file for Linux. You can also verify the integrity of the file by checking its cryptographic signature or hash value against the ones provided on the website.
Alternatively, you can get the source code from the Bitcoin Core GitHub page at . You can then compile it yourself using the instructions provided in the doc folder.
Once you have downloaded the file for your operating system, you can run the installer and follow the steps to set up bitcoin-qt on your computer. The installation process may vary slightly depending on your operating system, but generally it involves choosing a destination folder, agreeing to the terms of service, and clicking next until it finishes.
After the installation is complete, you will see a shortcut icon for bitcoin-qt on your desktop or in your applications folder. You can double-click it to launch the program.
When you launch bitcoin-qt for the first time, it will start downloading and validating the blockchain from scratch. This may take several hours or days depending on your connection speed and hardware. You will see a progress bar on the bottom right corner of the window that shows how many blocks have been downloaded and verified.
You can still use some functions of bitcoin-qt while it is syncing with the network, such as creating a new wallet or importing an existing one. However, you will not be able to send or receive transactions until it is fully synced.
To create a new wallet, you can click on the File menu and select Create Wallet. You will be asked to choose a name for your wallet and a password to encrypt it. You can also choose to make it the default wallet or not. After you create your wallet, you will see it listed on the left side of the window under Wallets.
To import an existing wallet, you can click on the File menu and select Open Wallet. You will be asked to locate the wallet file on your computer, which usually has a .dat extension. You can also choose to make it the default wallet or not. After you open your wallet, you will see it listed on the left side of the window under Wallets.
You can switch between different wallets by clicking on them on the left side of the window. You can also create or open more wallets by clicking on the plus icon next to Wallets.
Sending and receiving transactions
To send and receive transactions, you need to create and manage addresses. An address is a string of letters and numbers that represents a destination for a Bitcoin payment. You can have multiple addresses for different purposes, such as receiving donations, paying bills, or saving for a goal.
To create a new address, you can click on the Receive tab and then click on the Request Payment button. You will see a window that shows your new address, a QR code, and some options to customize your request. You can enter a label, an amount, and a message for your request. You can also choose to reuse an existing address or generate a new one every time.
To manage your addresses, you can click on the File menu and select Receiving Addresses. You will see a list of all your addresses, their labels, and their balances. You can edit, copy, or delete any address by right-clicking on it.
To send bitcoins to someone else, you need to know their address. You can either scan their QR code using your webcam or enter their address manually. To do so, you can click on the Send tab and then click on the Send button. You will see a window that allows you to enter the recipient's address, the amount, and a fee. You can also enter a label and a message for your payment. You can add more recipients by clicking on the Add Recipient button.
To view your transaction history, you can click on the Transactions tab. You will see a list of all your transactions, their status, date, amount, and fee. You can filter them by type, date range, or amount range using the options on the top of the window. You can also view more details about any transaction by double-clicking on it.
Managing your wallet
To manage your wallet, you need to encrypt, backup, and restore it. Encrypting your wallet means protecting it with a password so that only you can access it. Backing up your wallet means saving a copy of it in a safe place so that you can recover it in case of loss or theft. Restoring your wallet means loading a backup copy of it into bitcoin-qt so that you can access your funds again.
To encrypt your wallet, you can click on the Settings menu and select Encrypt Wallet. You will be asked to enter a password and confirm it. You will also see a warning message that tells you to remember your password and backup your wallet, as you will lose access to your funds if you forget it or lose your wallet file. After you enter and confirm your password, you will see a message that tells you to restart bitcoin-qt for the encryption to take effect.
To backup your wallet, you can click on the File menu and select Backup Wallet. You will be asked to choose a location and a name for your backup file, which usually has a .dat extension. You should save your backup file in a secure place, such as an external hard drive, a USB flash drive, or a cloud storage service. You should also make multiple copies of your backup file and update them regularly.
To restore your wallet, you need to have a backup file of your wallet. You can either replace the existing wallet file in the bitcoin-qt data directory with your backup file, or use the -wallet option to specify the location of your backup file when launching bitcoin-qt. You can find the bitcoin-qt data directory by clicking on the Help menu and selecting Debug Window. You will see the data directory under the Information tab.
Some advanced features that you can use with your wallet are coin control and message signing. Coin control allows you to select which coins or outputs to use when creating a transaction, giving you more control over your privacy and fees. Message signing allows you to prove that you own a certain address by signing a message with its private key, which can be verified by anyone using bitcoin-qt or other tools.
To use coin control, you need to enable it in the Options menu under the Wallet tab. You will then see a checkbox next to each output in the Send tab, which you can check or uncheck to include or exclude it from your transaction. You can also right-click on any output to see more details about it, such as its amount, address, confirmations, and age.