Bitcoin Core Definition
What is Bitcoin Core?
Bitcoin Core refers either to the client software that serves as the reference implementation of
the Bitcoin network, or to the open source project which maintains and releases this client
software. The addition of “Core” intentionally distinguishes Bitcoin Core from other bitcoin
related projects and forks, such as Bitcoin Classic, Bitcoin Cash, and Bitcoin Unlimited.
Bitcoin Core is a direct descendant of Satoshi Nakamoto’s original bitcoin software client, which
was released after the bitcoin white paper was published. It consists of a bitcoin wallet as well
as the full-node software used to validate the blockchain.
Unpacking Bitcoin Core
The client software is designed to determine which blockchain contains valid transactions. As a
result, Bitcoin Core users only accept transactions for that specific blockchain, making it the
main bitcoin blockchain.
The overarching purpose of this system is to keep the bitcoin network decentralized, free from
the control of a single party. Each individual runs his or her own Bitcoin core full node, with
every node following the exact same rules. The shared agreement between nodes, called
consensus, is what allows users to only accept valid bitcoin transactions.
By design, no voting or corruptible processes are involved. This ensures the integrity of the
decentralized system, no matter where in the world it is being accessed. Individual software
clients follow identical rules to evaluate blocks and reach identical conclusions about a blocks
validity. The entire network either accepts or rejects the transactions in sync– this is the power of
In addition, the project is open source, so anyone can contribute. The main source code can be
found on GitHub. The open source nature of the software avoids programming centralization as
well as fostering innovation.