I want to start playing around a bit with the technical side of Bitcoins (thinking of setting up an exchange). So I built a bitcoind (daemon) binary from source and now the docs say that when I run that, it will start downloading the blockchain, which is several GBs large and takes a couple hours.

The only thing I want to do however, is create a simple wallet and make transactions from and to it. And because I ultimately want to deploy this to a server, I would prefer to not download several GBs.

So do I really need to download the whole blockchain in order to get a simple bitcoin wallet? Or is there a smarter way than deploying a wallet on a server using the bitcoin daemon?

  • 2
    Without the blockchain, there's no way to know what payments you've received, nor what funds you have already spent. Dec 20, 2013 at 11:09
  • But I recently just downloaded a simple wallet app on my android phone, and received bitcoins on that, and that didn't download gigabytes of blockchain files..
    – kramer65
    Dec 20, 2013 at 16:59
  • The android wallet connects to it's own cloud service, where it has the blockchain.
    – ChrisW
    Feb 2, 2014 at 19:39

1 Answer 1


There are "lightweight" wallets, such as Electrum and mobile wallets, that do not require the blockchain to run. In exchange for this convenience however, their users rely on a centralized server (or servers) to host the blockchain, which is a bit of a security compromise.

bitcoind is the "Satoshi client" and is not a lightweight wallet. It won't work without the blockchain.

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