I am working on a bitcoin development environment in a box, and I've got the bitcoin reference implementation compiling and running so far in this vagrant environment: https://github.com/tlehman/bitcoin-vagrant

Another feature I would like to add is an optional script in /home/vagrant that can download the bootstrap.dat file to speed up downloading the blockchain. My first stab at this problem was to use transmission-cli to download https://bitcoin.org/bin/blockchain/bootstrap.dat.torrent, and then copy it to ~/.bitcoin/, and then fire up bitcoind for the first time. This works, but it fills up the virtual machine, and it still takes a long time to get imported. On top of that, a vagrant destroy command would blow away all the blockchain data, which is not desirable, I'd like to decouple the data from the program and it's dependencies.

The way I tried to solve this was to mount ~/.bitcoin/ as /vagrant/data/ (which is mounted to a folder in the host filesystem). The problem I am having is that when I run bitcoind -daemon, I get an error saying

Bitcoin server starting
vagrant@precise64:~$ : Error opening block database.

Do you want to rebuild the block database now?

My first guess was that the ~/.bitcoin/bootstrap.dat file was corrupted, but the SHA256 of the file is d05062052be4dd6fbaeac5f17598e52f7ad545f9f938acefaf7067ecce1d7b5a, which matches the SHA256 in the torrent's readme.

My second guess was that LevelDB needs some filesystem feature that isn't present in VirtualBox's synced directories, but I am not sure what that would be.

What can I do to fix this or work around it?

  • Can you create/edit files in that directory from the guest system? My hunch is that it doesn't have write permission.
    – Nick ODell
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 15:55
  • @NickODell Yes, I can create and delete files as vagrant user.
    – tlehman
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 17:22
  • are you running the vagrant box on a Windows machine or Linux? I've encountered strange problems before due to the difference in file-structures on the mounted directories
    – OACDesigns
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 9:48
  • @OACDesigns I'm running vagrant on Mac OS X, using HFS (case sensitive).
    – tlehman
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 17:12

1 Answer 1


With bitcoind 0.10 (current release candidate) you don't need bootstrap at all anymore as it downloads faster and more efficient than bittorrent would. Bootstrap is probably going to disappear soon. So you might not want to bother at all.

  • You don't say, I'll remove the bootstrap part anyway, since it's kind of awkward.
    – tlehman
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 0:50

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