Download Bitcoin Core
- Created: Tuesday, 30 January 2024 00:42
Bitcoin Core is the main software required for interacting with the blockchain of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. The development of Bitcoin and its forks (altcoins) began with this program. The initial forks (Litecoin, Feathercoin, Dogecoin) borrowed the code almost entirely from Bitcoin Core, making only minor changes such as the name, mining algorithm, block time, and block size. Even now, 15 years after the inception of the first cryptocurrency, the majority of new crypto projects utilize the BTC source code. However, it's worth noting that Bitcoin also incorporates innovations previously tested in other projects, such as smart contracts and NFTs, which gained popularity with the advent of Ethereum.
Bitcoin Core is primarily used to create a Bitcoin Node, a server supporting the operation of the BTC blockchain. This node can be used to create various services, including wallets, mining pools, block explorers, and numerous other services built on blockchain analytics.
While Bitcoin Core is considered essential for professional tasks, ordinary users who simply want to store their Bitcoin may choose from dozens, if not hundreds, of different solutions. Options range from lightweight Bitcoin wallets like Electrum to multi-currency solutions with hardware wallet integration, available for Windows, Linux, MacOS, Android, iOS, and even as a browser extension.
Incomplete list of existing crypto wallets
The array of choices is vast, making it challenging to decide, especially considering that your private keys could be stored elsewhere without your knowledge. Recall the case of Ledger, a leader in hardware wallets, admitting that it could recover private keys. This raises concerns about the security of crypto savings, as the company might, under a court order, surrender private keys to government authorities, similar to procedures with traditional bank deposits. Moreover, there is the human factor, where an employee might surreptitiously steal private keys, or a server breach could leave thousands of customers empty-handed.
To ensure maximum security and prevent private key exposure, many opt for Bitcoin Core as their Bitcoin wallet, installed on a dedicated computer or laptop. However, this solution has the drawback of requiring a spacious SSD to store the entire cryptocurrency blockchain. As of early 2024, you would need at least a 1000GB SSD, as the blockchain itself exceeds 580GB in size. For long-term storage, it's advisable to consider even larger capacities, such as 2TB or more. The wallet has a feature to trim the blockchain to 600MB, but doing so prevents changing the Wallet.dat file, where all your BTC wallet keys are stored. If you replace Wallet.dat, you'll have to resynchronize the entire blockchain and then trim it again, a process that could take a month or more.
The need to replace Wallet.dat might arise if there's a risk of data leakage due to hacking, viruses, or unauthorized access to the computer. Even if your Wallet.dat is password-protected, having it allows checking for Bitcoin holdings, and depending on the password's complexity, it could be hacked in a relatively short time frame. For instance, passwords with 6-8 characters might be cracked within a week.
Where to Download Bitcoin Core
To popularize the first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, the domain (website) Bitcoin.org was registered in August 2008, and people used it until third parties unrelated to Bitcoin code development became its domain owners. Currently, the Bitcoin.org website presents an old version of Bitcoin Core 25.0 from May 2023, although newer versions exist. Another reason not to use this site is its blockade in Russia since 2016.
The primary and reliable place to download the latest version of Bitcoin Core (as of January 2024, version 26.0 is current) is the Github repository.
There is one issue with this repository – it lacks precompiled versions for different operating systems. On Github, you can only download the source code, which you can compile yourself. If this is a challenge, Bitcoincore.org provides all Bitcoin Core options for different OS versions.
Currently, BitcoinCore.org is the official site where developers upload all the latest wallet versions. The link to this site is provided in the Github repository.
Another site, Bitcoin.com, also exists, but it is less trusted. It was created even before Bitcoin.org but has faced skepticism because, in 2017, its owner Roger Ver actively promoted his Bitcoin Cash alternative on the site and later sold it to a commercial organization. Currently, Bitcoin.com offers a Web3 crypto wallet supporting not only BTC but also various other cryptocurrencies. This wallet is a commercial product not directly related to Bitcoin development and support, posing reliability questions about storing private keys.
Conclusion: For long-term storage of Bitcoin, it is preferable to choose Bitcoin Core as the wallet. It's not necessary to keep Bitcoin Core online all the time; you can store only the wallet.dat file or even the private key on paper. If needed, you can install Bitcoin Core or any other wallet supporting wallet import via a private key.