How to Setup bitcoin Wallet Headless on Debian or Ubuntu Linux

By | 2013/09/09

It is pretty easy to get started with bitcoin all via the command line, including creating your bitcoin wallet. Here is a quick how-to!

Note: Before proceeding, note that this will require about ~2GB of disk space and take 8 or more hours to complete. You may wish to start a screen session before beginning. This is also very disk and CPU intensive!

Also, this is a pretty geeky way to do it. You may wish to alternatively consider for an easy way to get into bitcoin!

1. First, install bitcoin:

$ sudo apt-get install bitcoind

2. Then, just run bitcoind with no options:

$ bitcoind

This command will provide no output. Leave the prompt open and running for 8+ hours until it completes.

During this process bitcoin will create a .bitcoin directory in your home directory and fetch all needed database and other files. This also creates your wallet automatically.

To see the progress, you can open up a new shell and type ‘bitcoin getinfo’:

$ bitcoind getinfo
    "version" : 32400,
    "balance" : 0.00000000,
    "blocks" : 118488,
    "connections" : 8,
    "proxy" : "",
    "generate" : false,
    "genproclimit" : -1,
    "difficulty" : 82345.64411297,
    "hashespersec" : 0,
    "testnet" : false,
    "keypoololdest" : 1378223204,
    "paytxfee" : 0.00000000,
    "errors" : ""

When the block count (blocks) reaches the current count, your bitcoin is ready.

To use bitcoind, first start the daemon:

$ bitcoind -daemon

Then regular commands can be run.


$ bitcoind listreceivedbyaddress   (to show your bitcoin address)

$ bitcoind getbalance

When finished, stop the daemon as follows:

$ bitcoind stop

It is not necessary to run bitcoin 24/7.

How to get notified for bitcoin payments

While there are many fee-based notification services out there, offers a free RSS feed that monitors the bitcoin network. No setup is needed, just modify this url with your bitcoin address: