Clients

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Overview

A bitcoin client is the end-user software that facilitates private key generation and security, payment sending on behalf of a private key, and optionally provides:

  • Useful information about the state of the network and transactions.
  • Information related to the private keys under its management.
  • Syndication of network events to other peer clients.

This table compares the features of the different clients. All of the listed clients are open-source.

Feature key

Wallet Security 
How well the client protects your private keys from people with access to the machine the wallet is stored on. The private keys can be encrypted, for example. The private keys can also be either stored on your device or on a remote server.
Network Security 
Clients which more fully implement the Bitcoin network protocol are safer -- they can't be as easily tricked by powerful attackers. A client which fully implements the protocol will always use the correct block chain and will never allow double-spends or invalid transactions to exist in the block chain under any circumstances. Clients which only partially implement the protocol typically trust that 50% or more of the network's mining power is honest. Some clients trust one or more remote servers to protect them from double-spends and other network attacks.
Setup Time 
Some clients require that you download and verify a large amount of data before you can send or receive BTC.
Maturity 
When the project was started.

Table

Client Get Started Audience Wallet Security Network Security Backups Setup Time Disk Space Maturity Multi-user Available for
Armory Download Power users Encrypted, on-device Addon One-time Varies 6+ GB Jul 2011 Multi-wallet Ico-linux.pngIco-win.png
Bitcoin Wallet Google Play BlackBerry World End-users Isolated, on-device Partial Manual Instant 15 MB Mar 2011 on JB tablets Ico-android.png Ico-blackberry.png
Bitcoin-Qt Download End-users Encrypted, on-device Full Manual Hours 6+ GB May 2011 No Ico-linux.pngIco-mac.pngIco-win.png
bitcoind Download Programmers Encrypted, on-device Full Manual Hours 6+ GB Aug 2009 Virtual accounts Ico-linux.pngIco-win.png
Electrum Download Power users Encrypted, on-device Minimal Memorized Minutes 5 MB Nov 2011 No Ico-linux.pngIco-mac.pngIco-win.png
GreenAddress Web ChromeApp Google Play Everyone Encrypted, on-device Remote Memorized/Manual Instant None Apr 2013 Yes Ico-android.pngIco-linux.pngIco-mac.pngIco-win.png
MultiBit Download End-users Encrypted, on-device Partial Automatic (local) Seconds 50 MB Jul 2011 Multi-wallet Ico-linux.pngIco-mac.pngIco-win.png
My Wallet Web-based Everyone Encrypted, on a server Remote Automatic Minutes None Dec 2011 Yes Ico-android.pngIco-ios.pngIco-linux.pngIco-mac.pngIco-win.png
Gocoin Build yourself Power users Designated offline PC Full Memorized Hours 6+GB May 2013 Multi-wallet Ico-linux.pngIco-mac.pngIco-win.png


For developers

This table shows additional information about various Bitcoin clients that may be relevant to developers.

Client Website Source Code License Discussion Architecture
Armory Link Github AGPLv3 Bitcointalk Integrated
Bitcoin Wallet Link Github Google Code GPLv3 Google+ community / Bitcointalk SPV
Bitcoin-Qt / bitcoind Link Github MIT Sourceforge Integrated
Electrum Link Gitorious GPLv3 Sourceforge SPV
GreenAddress Link Github LGPLv3 Bitcointalk Server-Client+SPV(Electrum)
MultiBit Link Github MIT Google Groups SPV
My Wallet Link Github BSD* None Server-Client
bits of proof Link Github Apache 2.0 Bitcointalk Server-Client
Gocoin Link Github  ? Bitcointalk Integrated
btcd Link Github ISC irc Server-Client

See Also