A couple of days ago I installed bitcoin-qc and loaded the latest block from eu1.bitcoincharts.com/blockchain/. Then to test it out I withdrew a small amount of BTCs from my mtgo account to the address that appeared in the client upon install. Not having received anything yet, I today went to blockexplorer.com and search for that address. The record shows "First seen?: Block 164269 (2012-01-28 19:37:08)" and "Received transactions: 1", but also says "Public key?: Unknown (not seen yet)". The client says today, "Catching up... Downloaded 164146 blocks of transaction history. Last received block was generated 2 days ago". Do I have to send a public key separately? If so, how do I do it? Thanks for taking the time for a beginner.

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    This question probably would be better worded as "How do I find out whether the bitcoin-qc client has completed the block chain download?" – Highly Irregular Jan 30 '12 at 3:23
  • @HighlyIrregular - I think the block chain download is only part of the question. It also deals with the interesting topic of public keys and "what do I need to do in order to get my Bitcoins in my wallet?", which might not be obvious to everyone. – ThePiachu Jan 30 '12 at 4:03
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    I'm not sure that this is a coherent, non-duplicate question. Thoughts? – ripper234 Feb 1 '12 at 10:47
  • @ripper234 I think it raises a new problem, but it could be better if it was to be a token question for this problem. I'd personally try to solve this problem first, then close the question and create a new exemplary question about such issue. – ThePiachu Feb 1 '12 at 15:23

Your client won't show the transaction until it's received the block the transaction was included in. This website has the block count in the header: http://bitcoincharts.com/charts/

Right this moment, there are 164472 blocks (and I'm responding to your question quickly) so there's clearly still some downloading to do. Try to determine whether the block download is still occurring, and work from there. There should be a percentage complete figure for the block download in the bitcoin-qc client.


You have to wait until the client catches up to the current block (or at least to the block when you sent your transaction). Then the transaction will appear in your wallet.

As for the public key, in most cases it will not be known to anyone until you actually spend some Bitcoins. Details as to why are a bit complicates (you can find them here), but the general idea is quite simple.

When you generate your Bitcoin address, first you generate a private key. From that, you can calculate the public key, but the calculations are designed, so they would be one-way (you can't calculate the private key from the public key). Then, the public key is transformed using SHA-256 and some manipulations into the canonical "Bitcoin Address", and those operations too are one-way. But in order to spend coins, you have to sign a transaction with your private key, and show everyone your public key so they can decode it (this is when your public key becomes known). At that moment anyone can verify what address that public key belongs to (to know if it has any coins), and that you issued the Bitcoin transaction.

In short, wait until your client fully synchronises and you will see your transaction. No action is required on your part in order to receive Bitcoins once the transaction is sent.

  • @high - My first install bitcoin-qt was taking forever to collect the blocks. After reading the FAQs for the client I reinstalled, first putting the then-latest block and bitindex.dat into my AppDAta\roaming\bitcoin folder (I working in Vista x64). But that reinstall didn't show a progress bar, only the "Catching up.." note in the tray at lower rt. of the GUI. And it's stalled at 164146 blocks; it made a jump on one restart yesterday, but nothing since. Clearly something's amiss. I hate to reinstall as I'd lose the address that does show up at blockexplorer. – user1000 Jan 30 '12 at 6:02
  • @high - Correction: I meant to say that after I reinstalled, I put blk0001.dat & blkindex.dat into my AppData\Roaming\Bitcoin forlder, and then restarted the client. That's when I saw the progress bar was missing. – user1000 Jan 30 '12 at 6:11
  • @user1000 As long as you keep the wallet.dat file, you will have the correct addresses. Personally, I haven't tried using a pre-downloaded blockchain, so can't help you with that asides purging the Bitcoin data folder (without wallet.dat) and trying over. – ThePiachu Jan 30 '12 at 15:30

[The site doesn't seem to be accepting my comments tonight, so I'll try this.] I found that loading the last block build was masking the real problem. Starting from a fresh install, with appdata empty, I got the progress bar back. But I see that the client was not just slow, it was making no connections at all. Fixed that by setting the port properly in my router/modem firewall as well as the machine firewall. Now bitcoin-qt tells me that it's up to date. Pasting the previous wallet.dat over the new one shows my received coins address as expected. Yet I still don't see the received coins, even though blockexplorer.com shows them to be in the blockchain. Sorry to be still so dim, but what to do next? As I say, the client has been up to date for a day now, through several restarts of bitcoin-qt.

  • You can always edit your own questions though, even at 6 reputation. – ripper234 Feb 1 '12 at 10:47
  • Arrgh - So I just paid myself another tiny test amount - this one wnet though i a few seconds as expected. I guess recovering past depostis to the wallet by loading the old wallet.dat into appdata doesn't work, at least on my machine... – user1000 Feb 1 '12 at 10:47
  • From what I understand, you first downloaded the blockchain and then put the wallet.dat in the data directory. That won't make Bitcoin automatically scan the blockchain for your transactions (it was checking for them when downloading it), you need to start it with -rescan flag as far as I know. – ThePiachu Feb 1 '12 at 15:21

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