Running a full bitcoin node on OSX

29 November 2018

blah Running a full bitcoin node on osx is a good way to familiarize yourself with blockchain administration. You can explore the ledger locally and you don’t suffer any of the risks Simple Payment Verification nodes suffer from. You can “Be your own Bank” or so they say. If you have ~300 GB of free disk space you should try it out.

The steps below will walk you through installing and running a bitcoin node on your osx computer. You will get a copy of the source code, compile it, configure it, install it to run on startup and verify it’s running. For those installing bitcoin on a secondary harddrive there are some extra steps. If you are not using the default location you have to specify the install directory when using the commands, e.g. bitcoin-cli -datadir=<data location> getblockchaininfo. The configuration file will be read from the install directory. Note if you choose to run a lightweight node, you cannot look up arbitrary bitcoin transaction info. These instructions build upon the instructions in github.

  • Clone bitcoin core
  • Run brew install automake berkeley-db4 libtool boost miniupnpc openssl pkg-config protobuf python qt libevent qrencode
  • Run ./contrib/ .
  • Run ./
  • Run ./configure
  • Run make (may take > 15 minutes to compile)
  • Run sudo make install. You’ll now have bitcoind and bitcoin-cli in /usr/local/bin.
  • Decide where you want to store the blockchain. The default location is /Users/<user name>/Library/Application Support/Bitcoin. This will be your <data location> as used in the rest of these instructions. I used /Volumes/secondDisk/Bitcoin because I had a large secondary disk.
  • Verify you can run bitcoind this will also begin constructing the configuration files. (If you are not using the default location specify the data location as an argument, i.e., bitcoind -datadir=<data location>.)
  • Add file bitcoin.conf to your data location.
  • If you want to run a full node populate bitcoin.conf with:
rpcpassword=<your password>
  • If you want to run a light node populate bitcoin.conf with:
rpcpassword=<your password>

To learn more about configuring bitcoin see configuring.

  • Daemonize bitcoin cp contrib/init/org.bitcoin.bitcoind.plist ~/Library/LaunchAgents
  • If you are not using the default data location add an extra line to the plist file you just copied, <string>-datadir=/Volumes/<data location>/Bitcoin/</string> as shown below:
  <string>-datadir=/Volumes/<data location>/Bitcoin/</string>
  • Load and start the service launchctl load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/org.bitcoin.bitcoind.plist
  • Verify it’s running, run ps aux | grep bitcoind if you see an entry like: admin 83592 69.5 1.5 4592184 247812 ?? R 1:20AM 0:20.46 /usr/local/bin/bitcoind it means it’s running.
  • If for whatever reason the service errors out (check launchctl list) edit the config and reload with launchctl unload ~/Library/LaunchAgents/org.bitcoin.bitcoind.plist and launchctl load ~/Library/LauchAgents/org.bitcoin.bitcoind.plist
  • Once you have a full copy of the blockchain (may take a day or two with decent internet speeds) you can use the cli to inspect the blockchain bitcoin-cli -datadir=<data location> getrawtransaction 10d7c4e022f35288779be6713471151ede967caaa39eecd35296aa36d9c109ec
  • To verify a lightweight node is working try bitcoin-cli getblockchaininfo

To stop the bitcoin launchctl unload ~/Library/LaunchAgents/org.bitcoin.bitcoind.plist.

Let me know if these instructions work for you!

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