Bitcoin Core

Bitcoin Core–formerly Bitcoin-Qt–is a Bitcoin codebase based on the original code and framework published by Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin Core is currently run by more than 70% of Bitcoin nodes and all miners.

Purpose & Goals

Bitcoin Core is full node software and a wallet for Mac, Windows, and Linux. Full nodes validate and store the entire Bitcoin blockchain. Wallets paired with full node clients like Bitcoin Core are considered more private and secure.

In a statement published on January 7, 2016, the Bitcoin Core team announced its most important development goals:

  • to expand the flexibility of the system to work efficiently at extremely high scale while maintaining security and the core properties of decentralization that make Bitcoin unique
  • protecting and improving the privacy of Bitcoin users

Development

Bitcoin Core is open source and hosted on GitHub. Contribution guidelines are available for anyone who wishes to submit code or peer-review.

Developers

Wladimir van der Laan is the Lead Maintainer of Bitcoin Core. He has direct commit access to the Core Github repo and is responsible for merging pull requests, moderation, and the release cycle.

More than 350 developers have contributed to the project.

The profiles of the most active developers are listed below:

Cory Fields
Bitcoin Core Developer
Eric Lombrozo
Co-CEO, Ciphrex
Gregory Maxwell
CTO, Blockstream
Jonas Schnelli
Co-founder, Digital Bitbox
Luke Dashjr (Luke-Jr)
Bitcoin Core Developer
Mark Friedenbach
Co-founder, Blockstream
Peter Todd
Bitcoin Core Developer
Pieter Wuille
Bitcoin Core Developer
Wladimir van der Laan
Lead Maintainer, Bitcoin Core

BIPs

New feature proposals for Bitcoin Core are submitted as Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs). BIPs are hosted on GitHub and maintained by Bitcoin Core developer Luke Dashjr.

BIP 1 outlines BIP guidelines, rules, formatting, and workflow.

Download

Bitcoin Core is available for download from bitcoin.org. The latest version is 0.12.

Controversy

Bitcoin stands to uproot, alter, or damage existing financial institutions, governments, payment networks, and currencies. Like with any groundbreaking technology, not every user agrees on how/which features should be implemented, or who should control the protocol.

Bitcoin’s block size debate brought Bitcoin Core into the spotlight. Many claim that the Core development team should raise the block size from 1 MB to add more space for on-chain Bitcoin transactions. The Bitcoin Core team prefers to address scaling with protocols built on top of Bitcoin, like Lightning Network and sidechains.

Alternate implementations like the failed Classic and XT projects led by Gavin Andresen attempted to dangerously hard fork the Bitcoin network away from Bitcoin Core but ultimately died out after failing to reach consensus among miners, exchanges, developers, businesses and users.