I have Bitcoin-core on my mac, and currently it is syncing.

But what exactly is the point of having the entire blockchain downloaded onto your computer? Is it only there so that you can have an offline wallet?

Or, are there other benefits to having it on your computer...and if so, what would they be?

  • For individual users its not super important, but the network needs many people to have a "ledger" to maintain security. If say only 4 servers kept the blockchain they'd be easy targets and bitcoin wouldnt be decentralized.
    – Linef4ult
    Nov 21, 2015 at 15:40

1 Answer 1


Some good reasons to download the whole blockchain:

  1. You can verify the entire blockchain and confirm the longest chain. This means you literally have to trust nobody. You can verify everything.
  2. Along the same lines, you don't have to trust anyone about the actual balance in your wallet. It's impossible to know for certain unless you have the entire blockchain.
  3. You contribute to the bitcoin network by being a relay node that verifies transactions and passes on only what's standard or has enough fees for the age/size of the transaction.
  4. If you run SPV wallets elsewhere, this will mean you have a trusted place where you can find out about various addresses and transactions.

Basically, it comes down to, do you want to trust someone else or do you want to see it for yourself. Trusting others works if you have a big enough pool of other people, but it doesn't work if there's only a few, so that's why you would have the entire blockchain on your computer.

  • What is an SPV wallet? Please can you add a link to your answer?
    – tomh
    Nov 23, 2015 at 10:20
  • An SPV wallet is a wallet that doesn't download the blockchain but uses servers to get data that's needed. Electrum is an example.
    – Jimmy Song
    Nov 23, 2015 at 14:01
  • re 1: You still have to trust whichever person made the software that verifies the blockchain. Faking a blockchain is next to impossible, but faking the verification routine should be a breeze. And even if its originating server is genuine, is the entire path? How about your nation's firewall? Is your router sponsored by someone interested? Your CPU is likely provided by Intel, do they have a deal with certain organisations? Mar 20, 2018 at 20:46

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