In the cryptocurrency world, nothing has made its mark quite like Bitcoin. The network Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency BTC itself have become synonymous with the term crypto, but the interchangeable names sometimes make it difficult to determine exactly what is being talked about.
If you’ve heard the term ‘Bitcoin Core,’ you may be confused about what it means and how it’s different from the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Bitcoin Core is essentially the client software for the Bitcoin network, which contains a wallet that can be used to mine coins.
Below, we’ve covered the basics of Bitcoin Core — from what it is to its features, how it works, and more.
Bitcoin, Bitcoin (BTC), and Bitcoin Core — The Difference
Generally, when people use the term Bitcoin, they are referring to the organization and blockchain software behind Bitcoin (BTC), which itself refers to the cryptocurrency that users buy and sell on platforms like bitcoin.com.au.
When Bitcoin was first created by developer Satoshi Nakamoto, the first implementation of the network was known as ‘Satoshi client’ or ‘Bitcoin.’ Since then, it has been significantly modified and improved to become what we now know as ‘Bitcoin Core.’
Bitcoin Core is essentially the reference implementation of the Bitcoin system, meaning it is the authority on how different aspects of the technology should be implemented. It powers nearly all the nodes on the Bitcoin network and implements all aspects of Bitcoin, including a transaction and block validation engine, wallets, and a full-network node in the Bitcoin network.
As it is an open-source code, anyone is free to view, comment, and propose alterations to it. This essentially means that no one entity or individual controls Bitcoin — and everyone can take part in running the software.
The developers are responsible for improving the software, but they cannot force a change in the rules of the Bitcoin protocol as the ultimate control lies with Bitcoin users all around the world.
Who Started Bitcoin Core?
Bitcoin Core is the implementation of Bitcoin, created by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. Nakamoto served as the original maintainer of Bitcoin Core until late 2010, after which several individuals took over the job.
Project maintainers have limited access and are responsible for merging patches from contributors and ensuring the patches are safe and aligned with the project goals. The role of the maintainer is taken voluntarily, and maintainers can be removed from the position if they lose the trust of the Bitcoin community.
Features of Bitcoin Core
Bitcoin Core consists of full node software to validate the blockchain and bitcoin wallet. Here is a deeper look at some of the characteristic features of Bitcoin Core.
- As the Bitcoin Core software is open source, it is open for everyone to review and suggest changes in its development.
- It allows for the creation of a high-security wallet of any type (multi-signature or single) by automatically generating a key tree that the user can access.
- Bitcoin Core has its own library called Bitcoinj, with an easy-to-use graphical interface for greater accessibility.
- The Bitcoin Core software allows users to download the Bitcoin blockchain (in part or entirely) and turn their computer into a node of the broader Bitcoin network.
- While the wallet is free of cost, there are some charges users have to pay, such as the cost of bandwidth and transaction fees.
How Does Bitcoin Core Work?
Bitcoin Core is basically a client that runs on the Bitcoin protocol. While users don’t have to use Core to send or receive coins, it is possible to do so. The Bitcoin Core Wallet can also be used to transfer or store coins as users please.
If you’re interested in using the Bitcoin Core wallet, there are some things you should keep in mind.
Firstly, the wallet requires quite a lot of space (400 gigabytes for the first-time download and an additional 5 to 10 gigabytes per month), so make sure your computer has enough storage space.
You will also have to synchronize your wallet to the Bitcoin Network, which can take up to two days to complete. After the synchronization process, you’ll be able to use the wallet how you wish.
Can You Mine With Bitcoin Core?
Your Bitcoin Core wallet can be used to mine Bitcoin to generate profits on the side.
Here is how to do so:
- Open your Bitcoin Core wallet.
- Click on ‘Help,’ select the Debug Window, and click on the Console tab.
- To start mining with one of your cores, type setgenerate true 1.
- To stop mining, type setgenerate false.
Is Bitcoin Core Secure?
Ultimately, the Bitcoin Core network and Wallet are only as secure as the computer used to access them.
The Bitcoin team recommends that users backup their keys and ensure their wallet is secure. Also, make sure to take general anti-hacking precautions to safeguard your computer, and watch for security notifications.
You should also set up an offline wallet if you’re mining a significant number of Bitcoins and comply with computer system requirements.