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Questions tagged [blockchain]

This tag should be used for questions pertaining to the blockchain. The blockchain is a list of all transactions that have occurred using the Bitcoin currency. It consists of blocks which are linked to each other, and each block consists of transactions. DON'T USE THIS FOR THE SERVICE NAMED 'blockchain.info'!

70
votes
7answers
66k views

Can I download the whole block chain from somewhere?

Every time I turn on the Bitcoin client it takes days to catch up with the block chain. Are there alternatives to getting it trickling through the peer-to-peer network? Can I just download it ...
61
votes
9answers
25k views

How anonymous are Bitcoin transactions?

I read some sources that say Bitcoin transactions are anonymous, some that say they are semi-anonymous, and some that say they are not anonymous at all. In what ways are the transactions anonymous ...
58
votes
2answers
90k views

Can someone explain how the Bitcoin Blockchain works?

I'm trying to figure out how the blockchain works and how to read it via blockchain.info website. Is there a laymen way of explaining how the block chain works and how to read the blockchain to trace ...
51
votes
6answers
52k views

What is the Merkle root?

The Bitcoin wiki Vocabulary article explains why the Merkle root exists: Every transaction has a hash associated with it. In a block, all of the transaction hashes in the block are themselves ...
44
votes
1answer
6k views

What do the different .dat files contain?

What data do different Bitcoin .dat files contain? How about the other files in the same folder? The wallet.dat file is somewhat documented and there are some ways to convert it to human-readable ...
40
votes
7answers
86k views

Where are the user's bitcoins actually stored?

On the person's computer? On bitcoin.org? :) Where does that information reside that tells others and me how much bitcoins I have? I assume it can't be on my PC because I could easily hack the file ...
40
votes
4answers
41k views

How do I see the IP address of a bitcoin transaction?

How do I see the IP address that someone used to send or receive bitcoins with? Is it stored in the blockchain?
37
votes
3answers
23k views

How can I run bitcoind in pruning mode?

I read this comment: You could consider running a pruning node, which is practically the same as a full node (including security), except it throws away some of the old history. Version 0.11 ...
36
votes
5answers
8k views

How do I reduce the size of the block chain data on my machine?

The block chain file is getting rather large, ~500MB. Is there a way to trim it or clean up, or maybe configure it to be limited in the future? I am using the stock Bitcoin client on Ubuntu.
35
votes
9answers
19k views

How is it possible to launder bitcoins?

Some services, such as bitcoinlaundry.com, claim that they can launder your bitcoins. Since all bitcoin transactions are publicly logged, how is this done? Wouldn't it be possible to trace back the ...
34
votes
3answers
7k views

What are checkpoints?

I often read that checkpoints protect the network from a 51% attack because an attacker cannot reverse transactions made before the last checkpoint. How exactly does this checkpoint mechanism work? ...
33
votes
2answers
11k views

What are the keys used in the blockchain levelDB (ie what are the key:value pairs)?

I am wondering if I can use node.js and levelup to access a copy of the blockchain database directly. But from what I can see, I need to know the name of the key(s) before I can get any data, as this ...
33
votes
5answers
51k views

How to make a new blockchain from scratch

In the same vein as setting up a private DNS root server and using whatever domain names you want, how do you generate your own blockchain and mine your own coins? P.S. I don't want any answers ...
32
votes
10answers
25k views

How to check if the block chain is up to date using bitcoind or json-rpc?

I read the full api method list and did not seem to find one. I suppose there is no command specifically for that purpose, so what is the general way of doing this? I would consider checking the ...
31
votes
2answers
6k views

Are there any studies into the size of the blockchain scaling over time?

After watching some of one of the 28c3 talks, It got me thinking about just how scalable Bitcoin really is. With the size of the blockchain currently, given the number of transactions/users, will the ...
29
votes
7answers
9k views

Is a private blockchain better in any sense than a database?

Since the banks appear to be currently looking into the idea of "blockchains" but don't want to be dealing with "Bitcoin", it seems that there is a lot of hype for private blockchains out there like ...
28
votes
1answer
10k views

What is the database for?

I see the block chain is stored according to the block chain format specification. But I also see there is a database, which is currently a leveldb database. Why is the block chain stored in two ...
28
votes
5answers
2k views

What would happen if a portion of the Bitcoin network was separated from the rest of the network?

Yesterday I asked a question over at SuperUser, so that I could have my facts straight before asking this question. The scenario sets the basis for this question. Regarding bitcoin, what would ...
27
votes
4answers
30k views

Where do I find the *actual* blockchain size?

Okay, my hard drive is a bit cramped, and the Blockchain for my Bitcoin client is completely sucking up my free space. I want to know how much room I need to be prepared to lose. This isn't a ...
26
votes
2answers
7k views

How many Bitcoin addresses are/have been carrying a balance?

Bitcoin addresses can be generated at will, and the theoretical limit to their number is high. Addresses are constantly being generated to receive funds or balance transactions, but they are also ...
25
votes
2answers
9k views

When and how did Bitcoin start?

Exactly when was the first block mined and the first bitcoins generated? How many people knew about the project at this point? Had the project been publicly announced before the first block was mined ...
24
votes
2answers
6k views

What is the block maturation time?

I was reading the wiki article about the blockchain and I didn't understand the part in bold: When a block becomes an orphan block, all of its valid transactions are re-added to the pool of ...
24
votes
3answers
35k views

What is a double spend?

What is a double spend? As someone who uses Bitcoin, what do I need to know about how the Bitcoin system prevents double spends? Are there still circumstances where they can occur?
24
votes
1answer
14k views

What is a hard fork?

When people talk about possible changes to how Bitcoin works they sometimes say a particular change would require a hard fork. What does that mean? Can a hard fork cause problems?
23
votes
4answers
3k views

Why don't the timestamps in the block chain always increase?

The timestamps starting at block 145044 are: 145044: 2011-09-12 15:46:39 145045: 2011-09-12 16:05:07 145046: 2011-09-12 16:00:05 // ~5 minutes before prior block 145047: 2011-09-12 15:53:36 // ~...
22
votes
1answer
5k views

How is the whitepaper decoded from the blockchain (Tx with ~1000x m of n multisig outputs)

The whitepaper is apparently encoded at 54e48e5f5c656b26c3bca14a8c95aa583d07ebe84dde3b7dd4a78f4e4186e713, which is an m of n multisig Tx with 947 outputs (just under the scriptsig limit of 20kB!). ...
22
votes
4answers
18k views

Is bitcoin mining itself compromising the security of SHA256

Following good scientific practice I propose a Theory/Hypothesis and now ask you to test it. Initially this is a "thought" experiment but may progress to real testing depending on your thoughts. Back ...
20
votes
2answers
11k views

What does the term “Longest chain” mean?

What does the term "Longest chain" mean, as there is only one 'right' blockchain exists? How another longer chain would make the 'right' chain invalid?
19
votes
1answer
2k views

When was block 210000 generated and who solved it?

When was block 210000, the first block to feature halved 25BTC reward, generated and who solved it?
19
votes
4answers
12k views

Reliable, efficient way to parse the blockchain into a SQL database

I need to generate a SQL database (preferably SQLite3) of every transaction that has occurred in the blockchain. Is there an efficient way to do this using open-source software? I'm attempting to do ...
19
votes
3answers
1k views

How would the Bitcoin protocol be impacted if nodes only stored the blocks they cared about?

Right now, full clients of the Bitcoin network store every block ever generated (while "thin" clients instead rely on a node which does so). This greatly increases first-time initialisation for the ...
18
votes
6answers
6k views

Why can't we fight Bitcoin thieves by not accepting payments from hacked accounts?

Why won't we simply stop accepting payments from hacked accounts? We know their public addresses, right? Sure, hackers still will be able to compromise user's accounts, but at last that money won't be ...
18
votes
2answers
3k views

How does a client decide which is the longest block chain if there is a fork?

Is it only the block height or is it the effort that went into the forks? In other words: does this decision account for different difficulties?
18
votes
1answer
2k views

Is the timestamp in the genesis block relevant?

Bitcoin's genesis block contains this text published in The Times on January 3rd, 2009: The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks According to the Bitcoin Wiki, this ...
18
votes
4answers
5k views

What is the “blockchain”?

What is the blockchain? I keep hearing about other "blockchain technologies", does this mean other cryptocurrencies or what?
18
votes
3answers
1k views

Countrywide Internet isolation, inevitable fork

Many countries around the world have provisions for shutting off the Internet as well as isolating itself from the Internet (where networking within borders still flourishes), any transaction ...
17
votes
2answers
3k views

Is “Reclaiming Disk Space” already implemented? How effective will it be?

Some people are concerned about the scalability of Bitcoin. The blockchain already has reached nearly 1 GB to download and store, which is not exactly in the spirit of a modern thin client, especially ...
17
votes
3answers
27k views

Knowing a single transaction can you track down a Bitcoin user?

I have used this transaction to donate to Wikileaks. I have applied no special techniques to obsure my identity. How much information can find out about me on the blockchain. What tools would you use? ...
17
votes
5answers
996 views

How do you create a planet-specific cryptocurrency that will ignore longer block chains from other planets?

I'm sure that cryptocurrencies will play a huge part of the economy across the solar system, when we have colonized many different planets, moons, and asteroids. But there are problems with using a ...
16
votes
4answers
15k views

Why does each block store a Merkle root?

I understand how a Merkle root is calculated and stored in the block. But how do miners verify a transaction using the Merkle root? Here are 18 conditions that verify a transaction. None of them uses ...
16
votes
4answers
21k views

How are transactions broadcast to the rest of the network?

If a person sends a transaction to another person, and Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer application, how will the transaction get to the rest of the Bitcoin community? How does everyone have the same ...
16
votes
3answers
4k views

“Blockchain Explorer” software?

I've been going to blockchain.info frequently to check addresses, transactions, blocks, etc. But since I've already got the blockchain on my hard drive, this seems kind of pointless. Is there any ...
16
votes
1answer
3k views

Should an end-user download the whole blockchain? Or is a “lightweight” client sufficient?

The average user normally doesn’t want to host a 3+GB file on his machine and wait for hours for it to download. What are the security risks of running a lightweight client? And how does this affect ...
16
votes
1answer
912 views

Peergroup download of the blockchain stalls?

I'm using bitcoinsharp to build my client. I try to download the blockchain in a peergroup network. Download starts, but when progress is 98%, the download is stopped & the client is waiting (2 ...
15
votes
7answers
9k views

How to check Bitcoind block chain download progress level

I have installed bitcoind on ubuntu server, and when I run screen -x for btc it says error -10 blockchain is downloading. How do I know the progress level? currently 125600 blocks are downloaded, but ...
15
votes
1answer
3k views

Can private keys remain offline for their entire life?

I am new to Bitcoin and this question is based on 3 assumptions that may be incorrect. Assumption 1: If I understand correctly, the Bitcoin address is generated algorithmically independent of the ...
15
votes
3answers
18k views

What is the fastest possible way to download the blockchain?

How to download the blockchain with full bandwidth? How to download the blockchain fast?
14
votes
8answers
981 views

bitcoins from the future

It is likely that the Galaxy Note 2 will be launched in August. As it has taken two weeks to mine my very first bitcoin, it seems unlikely that I will have mined enough to purchase a Note upon ...
14
votes
3answers
6k views

How often does a block have only one transaction?

I was looking at blocks on blockchain.info, and came across this one with only one transaction in it: (the mining reward one) https://blockchain.info/block-index/512049/...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Bitcoin usage charts

There is a lot of data out there about BTC prices, but are there any simple charts which show how much is Bitcoin really used? Something like number of Bitcoin transactions per day/week, or daily ...