Learning Bitcoin From The Command Line

A complete course for learning Bitcoin programming and usage from the command
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Learning Bitcoin from the Command Line 2.2.0

by Christopher Allen and Shannon Appelcline

Learning Bitcoin from the Command Line is a tutorial for working with Bitcoin (and Lightning) that teaches direct interaction with the servers themselves, as the most robust and secure way to begin cryptocurrency work.

NOTE: This is a draft in progress, so that I can get some feedback from early reviewers. It is not yet ready for use.

This tutorial assumes that you have some minimal background of how to use the command line interface. If not, there are many tutorials available, and I have one for Mac users at ChristopherA/intro-mac-command-line.


If you'd like to make your own translation, please see Contributing, below.

Table of Contents


Status: Finished. Updated for 0.20.


Status: Finished. Updated for 0.20.


Status: Finished. Updated for 0.20 and btcdeb.


Status: Finished.


Status: Finished.


Status: Finished.


Status: Finished.

Status - Beta

v2.1.0 of Learning Bitcoin from the Command Line is feature complete and has undergone full editing and integration. It is ready for learning

We are also tentatively considering what we could include in a v3.0 of the course. If you'd like to support work of that sort, become a GitHub Sponsor or support us at our BTCPay Server, and let us know that Learning Bitcoin was the reason why.

Version History

2.2.0 (November 17, 2021)

2.1.0 (October 12, 2021)

  • New chapter 15 (i2p).
  • Added fixes to wallet usage from 0.21
  • Updated install to new Bitcoin Scripts for 22.0
  • Incorporated numerous fixes revealed by first translation projects

2.0.1 (June 15, 2021)

  • Numerous small patches following 2.0
  • Intended as baseline for translations (2.2.0), but 2.1.0 material on i2p slipped in

2.0.0 (November 3, 2020)

  • Second major release of Learning Bitcoin
  • Added material on Segwit, Tor, hardware wallets, lightning, regtest
  • Completely previous unfinished work on programming using a variety of languages

1.0.0 (pre-2020)

  • Original, extensive but incomplete version
  • Contained comprehensive sections on setup, bitcoin-cli, and scripting

Origin, Authors, Copyright & Licenses

Unless otherwise noted (either in this /README.md or in the file's header comments) the contents of this repository are Copyright 2020 by Blockchain Commons, LLC, and are licensed under CC-BY.

Financial Support

Learning Bitcoin from the Command Line is a project of Blockchain Commons. We are proudly a "not-for-profit" social benefit corporation committed to open source & open development. Our work is funded entirely by donations and collaborative partnerships with people like you. Every contribution will be spent on building open tools, technologies, and techniques that sustain and advance blockchain and internet security infrastructure and promote an open web.

To financially support further development of Learning Bitcoin from the Command Line and other projects, please consider becoming a Patron of Blockchain Commons through ongoing monthly patronage as a GitHub Sponsor. You can also support Blockchain Commons with bitcoins at our BTCPay Server.


We encourage public contributions through issues and pull requests! Please review CONTRIBUTING.md for details on our development process. All contributions to this repository require a GPG signed Contributor License Agreement.

if you would like to provide a translation of Learning Bitcoin into another language, please additionally see TRANSLATING.md.


The best place to talk about Blockchain Commons and its projects is in our GitHub Discussions areas.

Blockchain Commons Discussions. For developers, interns, and patrons of Blockchain Commons, please use the discussions area of the Community repo to talk about general Blockchain Commons issues, the intern program, or topics other than those covered by the Gordian Developer Community or the Gordian User Community.'

Other Questions & Problems

As an open-source, open-development community, Blockchain Commons does not have the resources to provide direct support of our projects. Please consider the discussions area as a locale where you might get answers to questions. Alternatively, please use this repository's issues feature. Unfortunately, we can not make any promises on response time.

If your company requires support to use our projects, please feel free to contact us directly about options. We may be able to offer you a contract for support from one of our contributors, or we might be able to point you to another entity who can offer the contractual support that you need.


The following people directly contributed to this repository. You can add your name here by getting involved. The first step is learning how to contribute from our CONTRIBUTING.md documentation.

Name Role Github Email GPG Fingerprint
Christopher Allen Lead Author @ChristopherA <[email protected]> FDFE 14A5 4ECB 30FC 5D22 74EF F8D3 6C91 3574 05ED
Shannon Appelcline Lead Author @shannona <[email protected]> 7EC6 B928 606F 27AD

Additional contributions are listed below:

Role Names
Contributors: gg2001 (Go, Node.js sections), gorazdko (Rust section), Javier Vargas (C, Java, Lightning, Tor sections), jodobear (Appendix: Compiling Bitcoin, Python section), Prayank (i2p sections)
Reviewers: Glen Willem @gwillem
Sponsors: Blockstream Corporation

Translation Credits

Thanks to the volunteers who spent extensive time writing and reviewing other-language translations of the original English-language course.

Portuguese Translation

Name Role Github
Namcios Translator & Reviewer @namcios
Korea Translator & Reviewer @KoreaComK
Luke Pavsky Translator & Reviewer @lukedevj
hgrams Translator & Reviewer @hgrams

Spanish Translation

Name Role GitHub
Ian Culp Translator & Reviewer @icculp
Maxi Goyheneche Translator @maxcrowar
Said Rahal Translator @srahalh
Csar A. Vallero Translator & Reviewer @csralvall
Javier Vargas Translator & Reviewer @javiervargas

Responsible Disclosure

We want to keep all of our software safe for everyone. If you have discovered a security vulnerability, we appreciate your help in disclosing it to us in a responsible manner. We are unfortunately not able to offer bug bounties at this time.

We do ask that you offer us good faith and use best efforts not to leak information or harm any user, their data, or our developer community. Please give us a reasonable amount of time to fix the issue before you publish it. Do not defraud our users or us in the process of discovery. We promise not to bring legal action against researchers who point out a problem provided they do their best to follow the these guidelines.

Reporting a Vulnerability

Please report suspected security vulnerabilities in private via email to [email protected] (do not use this email for support). Please do NOT create publicly viewable issues for suspected security vulnerabilities.

The following keys may be used to communicate sensitive information to developers:

Name Fingerprint
Christopher Allen FDFE 14A5 4ECB 30FC 5D22 74EF F8D3 6C91 3574 05ED

You can import a key by running the following command with that individuals fingerprint: gpg --recv-keys "<fingerprint>" Ensure that you put quotes around fingerprints that contain spaces.

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