Is Bitcoin a fully decentralized network, or how do clients connect to the network?


The various approaches the core client takes are described in some detail on the Bitcoin wiki. Once you're connected to the network, your peers can tell you about more peers, so the big question is, how do you get the first peer?

There are some hardcoded IP addresses and DNS names in the client that point to mostly-stable Bitcoin nodes. If all of these were suddenly taken offline, new users would only be able to join the network by finding one peer via other means, e.g. asking a person who is on the Bitcoin network their IP via a forum, email, or in-person.

If you're wondering if a government (or other entity) could shut down the Bitcoin network by taking out a few (say, 1-10) "central Bitcoin servers", the answer is no. They could, at best, be disruptive to the network. Just to take out the DNS lookup, they'd need the cooperation of (or the ability to DDOS the servers of) the IANA (root DNS servers), or those in charge of all four of the .org (Public Internet...

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The Bitcoin client has a number of sources that it uses to locate the network on initial startup. In order of importance:

1) The primary mechanism, if the client has ever run on this machine before and its database is intact, is to look at its database. It tracks every node it has seen on the network, how long ago it last saw it, and its IP address.

2) The client can use DNS to locate a list of nodes connected to the network. One such seed is The client will resolve this and get a list of Bitcoin nodes.

3) The client has a list of semi-permanent nodes compiled into it.

4) The client can connect to a well-known IRC network,, and find other nodes that way. (This method has been removed as of version 0.8.2)

5) It takes IP addresses from the commandline...

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Although the network is flat, and all nodes are equal, some nodes or computers perform a different task.

A full node does routing, holds a full copy of the blockchain database, performs mining and provides wallet services. Any node has to provide the routing function to participate in the network. Routing is just another way of saying that the node validates and passes on transactions and block as well as discovering and maintaining connections to other nodes, whether they are full nodes or not.

Some nodes don’t hold a full copy of the blockchain and verify transactions by using the Simplified Payment Verification, or SPV.

Mining nodes, that run specialised application specific integrated chips to solve the proof of work algorithm. Some of the mining nodes are full nodes whilst others are lightweight participating in pool mining and using a pool server to maintain a full node.

Wallets can be a full node – as is the case...

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With current social networks, you are not the client. You are the product being sold.

The value you create by being a part of the network flows upwards immediately, reaching only a select few: those in control of the network. With Synereo, a completely decentralized and distributed network, you are in control. The value you create stays in your hands.

Synereo is a next-gen social network that puts security, identity, and community management directly under your purview, respecting your attention and rewarding you for your activity on the network.

Synereo: Syn=Together; Rheo=Flow


The beauty of recent developments based on the innovative Bitcoin blockchain technology is that they allow the public to claim control over previously centralized endeavours. By creating automated, trustless interactions over the network, we can now build systems that do not require concentrated power to maintain order. Rather, the power is spread throughout...

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Core Functions

Is Bisq safe and Open Source?
There are already other decentralized exchanges. How is Bisq different?
Which payment methods are supported?
Which altcoins are supported?
How can I get support for my favorite altcoin?

Trading Details

When will I be able to buy or sell real bitcoins?
How does Bisq protect my privacy?
How long does a trade take?
How much does it cost to trade on Bisq?
Why do I need to keep my application online when I have an open offer?
How can I edit my offer?
Will my bank know I’m buying bitcoins?

Dispute Resolution

What is an arbitrator?
How does the arbitration process work?
How is collusion between arbitrators and traders prevented?
What happens if the person buying bitcoin does a chargeback on their national currency after the bitcoin has been released from the multisig escrow?
Wouldn’t a pure reputation system among traders make arbitrators...

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Bitcoin’s health largely depends on how many people run the decentralized peer-to-peer network globally by participating as a ‘Bitcoin node,’ which vary in size. A node might represent a single individual with a laptop, a company running a single node for mostly symbolic purposes or even a massive Bitcoin mining farm harnessing a large percentage of Bitcoin’s overall hashing power. In short, Bitcoin nodes keep the Bitcoin blockchain’s peer-to-peer network running.

A full bitcoin node fully validates transactions and blocks. It also helps the network to accept transactions and blocks from other full nodes, as well as validate transactions and blocks, and relay them to other nodes. Perhaps their most useful functionality, other than helping to maintain a healthy Bitcoin network, full nodes generally also have built-in wallet functionality.

Related: Adds Stash Node Pro to its Online Store

To run a node today, one needs generally 125 gigabytes of free...

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The Bitcoin network is a peer to peer network (P2P) or a decentralised network with no central point of failure or command. All the nodes, or computers, that participate in the network are equal – there is no hierarchy – or no topology as the network is flat.

The Bitcoin network is a collection of nodes running the Bitcoin P2P protocol with other protocols such as stratum, used for lightweight mobile wallets (where the full block chain is not downloaded) or for mining.

Although the network is flat, and all nodes are equal, some nodes or computers perform a different task.

A full node does routing, holds a full copy of the blockchain database, performs mining and provides wallet services. Any node has to provide the routing function to participate in the network. Routing is just another way of saying that the node validates and passes on transactions and block as well as discovering and maintaining connections to other nodes, whether they are full nodes or...

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Throughout the past century, centralized exchanges have again and again proven to be not only unreliable, but also untrustworthy. Whether it is Mt.Gox, MF Global, Cryptsy or Bitstamp, many people have been defrauded simply because they trusted a third party, or an intermediary, to store their funds. No matter how big these funds are, or how many insurers, regulators or auditors are involved, every form of theft, deception and fraud can take place. These transgressions take place rather frequently with centralized retail banks and exchanges all over the world. Bitshares BTS represents the first ever decentralized exchange.

What Are Bitshares BTS?

Bitshares represents an innovative cryptocurrency, that was designed to utilize the blockchain technology in trading of various digital as well as tangible assets. BitShares’s platform is structured to handle a trading volume as big as that of NASDAQ’s, with a scalability that settles orders the second they are...

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Bitcoin is the currency of the Internet: a distributed, worldwide, decentralized digital money. Unlike traditional currencies such as dollars, bitcoins are issued and managed without any central authority whatsoever: there is no government, company, or bank in charge of Bitcoin. As such, it is more resistant to wild inflation and corrupt banks. With Bitcoin, you can be your own bank.

If you are new to Bitcoin, check out We Use Coins and You can also explore the Bitcoin Wiki:

How to buy bitcoins worldwide
Buying Reddit Gold with bitcoin

Will I earn money by mining bitcoin?

Security guide for beginners - (WIP)

Community guidelines

Do not use URL shortening services: always submit the real link. Begging/asking for bitcoins is absolutely not allowed, no matter how badly you need the bitcoins. Only requests for donations to large, recognized charities are allowed, and only if there is good reason to believe that the person...
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2017 Addy Yeow (PGP) 1LofEDL5bV6JG2R5em9oN4HXFthvSUwXz

About Bitnodes

Bitnodes is currently being developed to estimate the size of the Bitcoin network by finding all the reachable nodes in the network. The current methodology involves sending getaddr messages recursively to find all the reachable nodes in the network, starting from a set of seed nodes. Bitnodes uses Bitcoin protocol version 70001 (i.e. >= /Satoshi:0.8.x/), so nodes running an older protocol version will be skipped. The crawler implementation in Python is available from GitHub (ayeowch/bitnodes) and the crawler deployment is documented in Provisioning Bitcoin Network Crawler.

The crawler maintained by Bitnodes connects from these IP addresses:,, 2a01:4f8:212:3b1f::2

Bitnodes API v1.0·Live Map·Network Map·New Transactions·Leaderboard·Bitcoin Client Status

Bitnodes API v1.0

Live Map

Network Map

New Transactions


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That the block chain cannot be easily forked represents one of the central security mechanisms of Bitcoin. Given the choice between two block chains, a Bitcoin miner always chooses the longer one - that is to say, the one with the more complex hash. Thusly, it ensures that each user can only spend their bitcoins once, and that no user gets ripped off.

As a consequence of the block chain structure, there may at any time be many different sub-branches, and the possibility always exists of a transaction being over-written by the longest branch, if it has been recorded in a shorter one. The older a transaction is though, the lower its chances of being over-written, and the higher of becoming permanent. Although the block chain prevents one from spending more Bitcoins than one has, it means that transactions can be accidentally nullified.

A new block chain would leave the network...

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Table of contents


What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a consensus network that enables a new payment system and a completely digital money. It is the first decentralized peer-to-peer payment network that is powered by its users with no central authority or middlemen. From a user perspective, Bitcoin is pretty much like cash for the Internet. Bitcoin can also be seen as the most prominent triple entry bookkeeping system in existence.

Bitcoin is the first implementation of a concept called crypto-currency", which was first described in 1998 by Wei Dai on the cypherpunks mailing list, suggesting the idea of a new form of money that uses cryptography to control its creation and transactions, rather than a...

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Jameson Lopp is a software engineer at BitGo, creator of and founder of He enjoys building web services and is intrigued by problems of scale.

In this feature, Lopp examines the causes of the diminishing number of bitcoin nodes across the network and discusses what it might take to reverse the trend.

Decentralization is, I would argue, the most important property of the bitcoin network. Without it, many of bitcoin’s other properties, such as its ability to facilitate transactions without a third party or provide a permissionless platform for innovation, would be compromised.

There are many facets that contribute to bitcoin's decentralization, the most important of which is the network of nodes that comprise bitcoin’s infrastructure by holding copies of the blockchain and sharing block and transaction data across the network.

And yet, despite their importance, the number of nodes has been dwindling for years,...

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Since its launch, Bitcoin Classic's node count has steadily increased. The latest release of the alternative Bitcoin implementation even topped the charts, with almost 3,000 Bitcoin Classic 0.12 nodes reachable on the network.

But a closer look at these statistics reveal some odd details.

First, IP-data suggests that many Bitcoin Classic nodes might not really be many Bitcoin Classic nodes at all. Instead, a single node could use multiple IP addresses to spoof total node count. This possibility appears more likely in light of the observation that very few Bitcoin Classic nodes seem to be replacing existing Bitcoin Core nodes, indicating that these are new nodes, rather than node operators actually make the switch.

That said, it is theoretically possible that many new users are simply firing up (and shutting down) Bitcoin Classic nodes in the same geographical area simultaneously.

However, it is certain that a lion’s share of all Bitcoin Classic nodes...

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The need for trading cryptocurrency on a safe exchange means a lot to the digital currency community, especially after the failure of many businesses. Compromised exchanges, either by hacks or “exit scams,” have plagued the Bitcoin space for a while now. A decentralized exchange is one concept that has been introduced to the discussion and is currently being developed by a few people within the crypto-environment. These operations use techniques that keep users’ funds away from a centralized location at all times; some of them also offer various degrees of anonymity as well.

Also read: 4 Platforms That Believe the Future is Decentralized recently got together with Manfred Karrer the founder and developer of a decentralized exchange in the making called Bitsquare. He gives our readers an in-depth look at the project he’s creating and why decentralized applications will fit best with this new technology. Karrer also tells us his feelings concerning...

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(This article was republished on on 2016-07-12)

When bitcoin launched, a lot of people thought they finally had decentralised digital cash. We saw people using bitcoins for ideological reasons, but also for the presumed anonymous properties. You didn’t need to provide any identity information to create a wallet or send a transaction. Anonymous magic internet money. Cool, right?

Over the years, it became more clear that bitcoin isn’t anonymous at all. All transactions can be traced on the blockchain. If you transact with a stranger at a bitcoin meetup, he could start guessing your total bitcoin balance in your wallet. When you interact with regulated bitcoin businesses, you are required to provide ID information. And you can be sure that this company will couple your customer data to your blockchain fingerprint. This data can be handed over to law enforcement upon request, and be used to analyse the blockchain and associate more activity with you,...

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