What happens if I receive bitcoins when my computer or smartphone is not online or powered off?

  • 1
    My guess is that the transaction is processed in the ledger. When you go online and login, this transaction is read by your bitcoin client.
    – SPRBRN
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 10:12
  • So if I launch my wallet, it will download all blocks and catch up with any transactions it didn't already know about, right?
    – Suriyaa
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 10:15

4 Answers 4



This works fine.

The bitcoins will appear next time I start my wallet application. (Read tuxcanfly answer)

Bitcoins are not actually received by the software (wallet) on my computer, they are appended to a public ledger that is shared between all the devices on the Bitcoin network. (Read SPRBRN comment)

If someone sent bitcoins when my wallet client program is not running and I launch it later, it will download all blocks and catch up with any transactions it did not already know about, and the bitcoins will eventually appear as if they were just received in real time.

My wallet is only needed when I wish to spend bitcoins!

Helpful resources


The network contains those transactions (either in nodes' mempool or block) and you will receive your Bitcoins when you are back online.

  • So my wallet download all blocks automatically in the background?
    – Suriyaa
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 10:17
  • 1
    .......... Yes.
    – tuxcanfly
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 10:24

Yes. You can even send bitcoins to 'cold storage' or a 'brainwallet', which is pretty amazing IMHO!


Money (BTC transaction) is being send from one wallet to another,

that is being recorded in a book (public ledger),

which is written by many people (miners) and

kept securely by other people (BTC nodes)

Once written in the Book, it is never changed

When you open your wallet next time, what it does is, it simply checks this book, and reports to you how much balance you have, with an update if you received a new transaction between the last time you opened the book and now.

I hope this answers your query.

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