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In the last week I have decided to buy bitcoin. Before last week I knew nothing about it or blockchain technology. Now I have some idea of what it is and its future potential. So I decided to buy a couple of bitcoins for now and just hold on to them.

Unfortunately it has been a bad experience. First I downloaded the Armory wallet since the reviews I read said that it was the most secure, and security is of course a big priority.

Then the Armory app constantly told me that it could not load the database. After a while I realized it meant the blockchain itself and so I went to bitcoin.org and downloaded Bitcoin Core, which as I'm sure you know downloads the entire blockchain, all 150gb of it, plus the Bitcoin Core wallet.

After restarting Armory it finally started to read the database and now seems to be working, although the bitcoins I purchased a few days ago have not appeared and I'm starting to fear I may have lost my money. But what I want to know is this:

WHY do I have to download the entire blockchain just to have an Armory wallet?

Now I am a blockchain node, which I never wanted to be. 150gb, that will only get larger and larger until my computer has no diskspace left.

All I wanted to do was download a wallet and get a couple of bitcoins. Secondly if everyone downloads the whole blockchain, that is forever growing, won't a time come when the entire Internet is nothing but blockchain!

So I went to Armory's website and their contact page and sent an email to contact@armorybitcoin.com but what do you know, I get a return email telling me the address doesn't exist. Hardly fills me with confidence. Anyway, enough of my rant, if any of you who are more knowledgeable and savvy than me can offer some advice or guidance I would greatly appreciate it.

I do believe this is the future, but the way I see it, if they don't develop the technology and make it more simple and user-friendly to set up a wallet and buy bitcoins then the general masses are not going to get into this. It's just too complicated and frustrating.

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First let me answer your main question. You have to download and maintain the entire blockchain, because the security and privacy goals for which Armory was designed require an archival full node to be present on the same system.

Obviously, this is not the question that you really want to be answered. I think that one is: Where can I learn more about various wallets, to pick one that better fits my needs? I suggest that you take a look at Choose your Wallet on bitcoin.org.

  • If you want the security of a full node without keeping the complete blockchain around, you can try using Bitcoin Core in pruning mode.
  • If you want a lightweight wallet that runs on your own computer, I suggest that you give Electrum a whirl.
  • If you want to store a large amount of bitcoins, you might want to take a look at hardware wallets.

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