I recently installed Bitcoin-Qt on my laptop and it started performing the synchronisation with the network since a couple of weeks. And it's not finished.

Why do the Bitcoin-Qt application have to do so? If I am right, this application is just a Bitcoin client... I mean, it have not to check transaction integrity such as a miner, right?

Also, I would know if according to you, in 10 years (with some imaginations), having a lot of transaction every days, this synchronisation could take some months or even more.

Thanks for your lights!

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    FYI, as of today, the full blockchain takes up ~16 GB of disk space. – Totor Dec 29 '13 at 17:37

The main reason to run Bitcoin-Qt is to help the bitcoin network by relaying transactions and blocks as well as verifying the blockchain. Bitcoin is a distributed protocol and relies on its users for validation. You can download an initial blockchain so that your client doesn't need to get it from a peer node (your download will be limited by the upload bandwidth of the peer node). Once synchronized, the network load is around 144 MBytes/day depending on the number of connections and the needs of your peer nodes (your upload bandwidth can be saturated for hours if another node needs to download the blockchain from you).

That said, if you just want to use bitcoins without participating in the network, you should use a light client such as Multibit, Electrum, or Armory. Check here for more information.

  • Considering Bitcoin-Qt participating in the network, does it mean it could act such a miner and collect some bit coins? What is the main difference between Bitcoin-Qt and a miner application? – Zag zag.. Dec 7 '13 at 20:44
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    The miner application (BFGMiner, etc) communicates with the local bitcoin client using the RPC interface. The bitcoin client provides the block to be solved to the miner. The miner does the hashing until it gets a solution and then tells the bitcoin client. The client then broadcasts the block to the network. – ScripterRon Dec 7 '13 at 22:18

It is a good question. Bitcoin-Qt was the first client written. It was written to download the entire blockchain, which is probably not optimal.

You are correct that this is problematic, and it will become even more so over time.

There are so-called thin clients, such as MultiBit, for instance, that you might want to look at.

  • This is not quite true. The client before Bitcoin-QT was called WxBitcoin. It is deprecated now. – Maciej Mączko Dec 7 '13 at 16:57
  • I would not call this problematic, but the only way to grant real crypto security. – LukeLR May 3 '17 at 17:30

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