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Does electrum wallet "sit on top of" bitcoin-cli? Or is it an abstraction of some other software? I have already learned that Electrum's gui is not a wrap around their cli and there are some things that you can do in its gui, like bumping fees, that you cannot from their cli. Does their core library utilize bitcoin-cli under the hood?

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No - electrum does not use bitcoin-cli under the hood. Although they use it in their tests. bitcoin-cli is part of bitcoind (bitcoin core). You can find electrums implementation of the wallet here.

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