As the title said, what is the difference between the bitcoin wallet and the bitcoin core, do i have to install both of them to work? Can I just have a bitcoin wallet?

  • The blockchain is the history of ALL transactions, and a wallet just keeps/unlocks your own personal bitcoins. So they are two totally different things, and you can have a wallet (for example with Multibit) without downloading the whole blockchain
    – Mathias711
    Commented Oct 4, 2014 at 17:41
  • What is the point of downloading the blockchain then?
    – tommyip
    Commented Oct 4, 2014 at 17:43
  • You'll be a peer in the network I believe. In that way, the network becomes more reliable. But it has no real extra personal value.
    – Mathias711
    Commented Oct 4, 2014 at 17:44
  • The blockchain does have personal value. It allows you to independently verify the validity of the history. Commented Oct 4, 2014 at 17:50
  • @Red2awn for newbies there is no good reason to use Bitcoin Core since even with a bootstrap torrent download you're looking at 1-2 days before your txns sync up. This is a problem but not particular on topic Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 1:24

2 Answers 2


Here's the simplest way to visualise it:

  • the Blockchain is an accounting ledger showing daily spendings
  • a wallet is like a keychain, holding the keys to unlock your BTC from the safe
  • the key can be copied ie if you share your private key or the key is stolen then it can be used to open the lock (perhaps a 3D printer analogy where anyone can make use of your key would help)
  • if you have the keys for an address holding Bitcoin AND the Blockchain shows BTC at that address, then you can spend the ฿ as long as someone else hasn't used the same key to unlock it before you

As stated in comments, the blockchain is a public record of all bitcoin transactions. If a wallet is like a bank account, the blockchain is the currency system.

For a new or casual user, it might be easiest to use a remote web-based wallet, rather then one on your own device. In that case, you don't really need to worry about interacting with the blockchain. For more information on remote wallets you can use, go here https://bitcoin.org/en/choose-your-wallet Click the "web" icon and you will see seven options to consider.

  • Thanks, So if I use a non web base one I need to have the blockchain?
    – tommyip
    Commented Oct 5, 2014 at 9:40
  • @Red2awn, sort of, but I think a user-friendly offline wallet should pretty much take care of that for you. If you really want to get an offline wallet working, edit your original question to be more specific. What software are you trying to use, and exactly what problem are you running into with it?
    – Brian Z
    Commented Oct 5, 2014 at 10:32
  • Multibit and Electrum seem like two options to try, see: bitcoin.stackexchange.com/questions/8953/…
    – Brian Z
    Commented Oct 5, 2014 at 10:33

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