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BitShares Core

Build Status:

master develop hardfork testnet bitshares-fc

BitShares Core is the BitShares blockchain implementation and command-line interface. The web browser based wallet is BitShares UI.

Visit to learn about BitShares and join the community at

Information for developers can be found in the BitShares Developer Portal. Users interested in how BitShares works can go to the BitShares Documentation site.

Getting Started

Build instructions and additional documentation are available in the Wiki.


We recommend building on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (64-bit)

Build Dependencies:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install autoconf cmake make automake libtool git libboost-all-dev libssl-dev g++ libcurl4-openssl-dev doxygen

Build Script:

git clone
cd bitshares-core
git checkout master # may substitute "master" with current release tag
git submodule update --init --recursive
mkdir build
cd build
cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release ..

Upgrade Script: (prepend to the Build Script above if you built a prior release):

git remote set-url origin
git checkout master
git remote set-head origin --auto
git pull
git submodule update --init --recursive # this command may fail
git submodule sync --recursive
git submodule update --init --recursive


  • BitShares requires a 64-bit operating system to build, and will not build on a 32-bit OS. Tested operating systems:

    • Linux (heavily tested with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS)
    • macOS (various versions)
    • Windows (various versions, Visual Studio and MinGW)
    • OpenBSD (various versions)
  • BitShares requires Boost libraries to build, supports version 1.58 to 1.69. Newer versions may work, but have not been tested. If your system came pre-installed with a version of Boost libraries that you do not wish to use, you may manually build your preferred version and use it with BitShares by specifying it on the CMake command line.

    Example: cmake -DBOOST_ROOT=/path/to/boost ..

  • BitShares requires OpenSSL libraries to build, supports version 1.0.2 to 1.1.1. If your system came pre-installed with a version of OpenSSL libraries that you do not wish to use, you may manually build your preferred version and use it with BitShares by specifying it on the CMake command line.

    Example: cmake -DOPENSSL_ROOT_DIR=/path/to/openssl ..

Run the node software

After Building, the node software witness_node can be launched with:


The node will automatically create a witness_node_data_dir directory with some config files. The blockchain data will be stored in the directory too. It may take several hours to fully synchronize the blockchain.

You can exit the node using Ctrl+C. Please be aware that the node may need some time (usually a few minutes) to exit cleanly, please be patient.

IMPORTANT: By default the node will start in reduced memory mode by using some of the commands detailed in Memory reduction for nodes. In order to run a full node with all the account histories (which is usually not necessary) you need to remove partial-operations and max-ops-per-account from your config file. Please note that currently(2018-10-17) a full node will need more than 160GB of RAM to operate and required memory is growing fast. Consider the following table as minimal requirements before running a node:

Default Full Minimal ElasticSearch
150G HDD, 16G RAM 640G SSD, 64G RAM * 120G HDD, 4G RAM 1TB SSD, 32G RAM

* For this setup, allocate at least 500GB of SSD as swap.

To use the command-line wallet or other wallets / clients with the node, the node need to be started with RPC connection enabled, which can be done by starting the node with the --rpc-endpoint parameter, E.G.

./programs/witness_node/witness_node --rpc-endpoint=

or configure it in the config file by editing witness_node_data_dir/config.ini as follows:

rpc-endpoint =

You can run the program with --help parameter to see more info:

./programs/witness_node/witness_node --help

Run the command-line wallet software

To start the command-line wallet, in a separate terminal you can run:


IMPORTANT: The cli_wallet or API interfaces to the witness node wouldn't be fully functional unless the witness node is fully synchronized with the blockchain. The cli_wallet command info will show result head_block_age which will tell you how far you are from the live current block of the blockchain.

To check your current block:

new >>> info

To query the blockchain, E.G. get info about an account:

new >>> get_account <account_name_or_id>

If you need to transact with your account but not only query, firstly set your initial password and unlock the wallet:

  • For non-Windows operating systems, you can type the commands and press [ENTER], then input the password and press [ENTER], in this case the password won't show:

    new >>> set_password [ENTER]
    Enter password:
    locked >>> unlock [ENTER]
    Enter password:
    unlocked >>>
  • For Windows, or you'd like to show the password, type the commands with the password:

    new >>> set_password <PASSWORD>
    locked >>> unlock <PASSWORD>
    unlocked >>>

To be able to transact with your account, import the corresponding private keys:

unlocked >>> import_key <ACCOUNT_NAME> <WIF_KEY>

The private keys will be encrypted and stored in the wallet file, the file name is wallet.json by default. The private keys are accessible when the wallet is unlocked.

unlocked >>> dump_private_keys

Use lock command to make the private keys inaccessible. There is no auto-lock feature so far.

unlocked >>> lock

To import your initial (genesis) balances, import the private keys corresponding to the balances:

unlocked >>> import_balance <ACCOUNT_NAME> [<WIF_KEY> ...] true

Use help to see all available wallet commands.

>>> help

Use gethelp <COMMAND> to see more info about individual commands. E.G.

>>> gethelp get_order_book

The definition of all commands is available in the wallet.hpp souce code file. Corresponding documentation can be found in the Doxygen documentation.

You can run the program with --help parameter to see more info:

./programs/cli_wallet/cli_wallet --help

There is also some info in the Wiki.


Technical support is available in the BitSharesTalk technical support subforum.

BitShares Core bugs can be reported directly to the issue tracker.

BitShares UI bugs should be reported to the UI issue tracker.

Up to date online Doxygen documentation can be found at

Using the API

Node API

The witness_node software provides several different API's, known as node API.

Each API has its own ID and a name. When running witness_node with RPC connection enabled, initially two API's are available:

  • API 0 has name "database", it provides read-only access to the database,
  • API 1 has name "login", it is used to login and gain access to additional, restrictable API's.

Here is an example using wscat package from npm for websockets:

$ npm install -g wscat
$ wscat -c ws://
> {"id":1, "method":"call", "params":[0,"get_accounts",[["1.2.0"]]]}
< {"id":1,"result":[{"id":"1.2.0","annotations":[],"membership_expiration_date":"1969-12-31T23:59:59","registrar":"1.2.0","referrer":"1.2.0","lifetime_referrer":"1.2.0","network_fee_percentage":2000,"lifetime_referrer_fee_percentage":8000,"referrer_rewards_percentage":0,"name":"committee-account","owner":{"weight_threshold":1,"account_auths":[],"key_auths":[],"address_auths":[]},"active":{"weight_threshold":6,"account_auths":[["1.2.5",1],["1.2.6",1],["1.2.7",1],["1.2.8",1],["1.2.9",1],["1.2.10",1],["1.2.11",1],["1.2.12",1],["1.2.13",1],["1.2.14",1]],"key_auths":[],"address_auths":[]},"options":{"memo_key":"GPH1111111111111111111111111111111114T1Anm","voting_account":"1.2.0","num_witness":0,"num_committee":0,"votes":[],"extensions":[]},"statistics":"2.7.0","whitelisting_accounts":[],"blacklisting_accounts":[]}]}

We can do the same thing using an HTTP client such as curl for API's which do not require login or other session state:

$ curl --data '{"jsonrpc": "2.0", "method": "call", "params": [0, "get_accounts", [["1.2.0"]]], "id": 1}'

When using an HTTP client, the API ID can be replaced by the API name, E.G.

$ curl --data '{"jsonrpc": "2.0", "method": "call", "params": ["database", "get_accounts", [["1.2.0"]]], "id": 1}'

The definition of all node API's is available in the source code files including database_api.hpp and api.hpp. Corresponding documentation can be found in Doxygen:

Wallet API

The cli_wallet program can also be configured to serve all of its commands as API's, known as wallet API.

Start cli_wallet with RPC connection enabled:

$ ./programs/cli_wallet/cli_wallet --rpc-endpoint=

Access the wallet API using an HTTP client:

$ curl --data '{"jsonrpc": "2.0", "method": "info", "params": [], "id": 1}'
$ curl --data '{"jsonrpc": "2.0", "method": "get_account", "params": ["1.2.0"], "id": 1}'

Note: The syntax to access wallet API is a bit different than accessing node API.


  • When RPC connection is enabled for cli_wallet, sensitive data E.G. private keys which is accessible via commands will be accessible via RPC too. It is recommended that only open network connection to localhost or trusted addresses E.G. configure a firewall.
  • When using wallet API, sensitive data E.G. the wallet password and private keys is transmitted as plain text, thus may be vulnerable to network sniffing. It is recommended that only use wallet API with localhost, or in a clean network, and / or use --rpc-tls-endpoint parameter to only serve wallet API via secure connections.

Accessing restrictable node API's

You can restrict node API's to particular users by specifying an api-access file in config.ini or by using the --api-access /full/path/to/api-access.json startup node command. Here is an example api-access file which allows user bytemaster with password supersecret to access four different API's, while allowing any other user to access the three public API's necessary to use the node:

   "permission_map" :
            "password_hash_b64" : "9e9GF7ooXVb9k4BoSfNIPTelXeGOZ5DrgOYMj94elaY=",
            "password_salt_b64" : "INDdM6iCi/8=",
            "allowed_apis" : ["database_api", "network_broadcast_api", "history_api", "network_node_api"]
            "password_hash_b64" : "*",
            "password_salt_b64" : "*",
            "allowed_apis" : ["database_api", "network_broadcast_api", "history_api"]

Passwords are stored in base64 as salted sha256 hashes. A simple Python script, is avaliable to obtain hash and salt values from a password. A single asterisk "*" may be specified as username or password hash to accept any value.

With the above configuration, here is an example of how to call add_node from the network_node API:

{"id":1, "method":"call", "params":[1,"login",["bytemaster", "supersecret"]]}
{"id":2, "method":"call", "params":[1,"network_node",[]]}
{"id":3, "method":"call", "params":[2,"add_node",[""]]}

Note, the call to network_node is necessary to obtain the correct API identifier for the network API. It is not guaranteed that the network API identifier will always be 2.

The restricted API's are accessible via HTTP too using basic access authentication. E.G.

$ curl --data '{"jsonrpc": "2.0", "method": "call", "params": ["network_node", "add_node", [""]], "id": 1}' http://bytemaster:supersecret@

Our doxygen documentation contains the most up-to-date information about API's for the node and the wallet.


  • Is there a way to generate help with parameter names and method descriptions?

    Yes. Documentation of the code base, including APIs, can be generated using Doxygen. Simply run doxygen in this directory.

    If both Doxygen and perl are available in your build environment, the CLI wallet's help and gethelp commands will display help generated from the doxygen documentation.

    If your CLI wallet's help command displays descriptions without parameter names like signed_transaction transfer(string, string, string, string, string, bool) it means CMake was unable to find Doxygen or perl during configuration. If found, the output should look like this: signed_transaction transfer(string from, string to, string amount, string asset_symbol, string memo, bool broadcast)

  • Is there a way to allow external program to drive cli_wallet via websocket, JSONRPC, or HTTP?

    Yes. External programs may connect to the CLI wallet and make its calls over a websockets API. To do this, run the wallet in server mode, i.e. cli_wallet -s "" and then have the external program connect to it over the specified port (in this example, port 9999). Please check the "Using the API" section for more info.

  • Is there a way to access methods which require login over HTTP?

    Yes. Most of the methods can be accessed by specifying the API name instead of an API ID. If an API is protected by a username and a password, it can be accessed by using basic access authentication. Please check the "Accessing restrictable node API's" section for more info.

    However, HTTP is not really designed for "server push" notifications, and we would have to figure out a way to queue notifications for a polling client. Websockets solves this problem. If you need to access the stateful methods, use Websockets.

  • What is the meaning of a.b.c numbers?

    The first number specifies the space. Space 1 is for protocol objects, 2 is for implementation objects. Protocol space objects can appear on the wire, for example in the binary form of transactions. Implementation space objects cannot appear on the wire and solely exist for implementation purposes, such as optimization or internal bookkeeping.

    The second number specifies the type. The type of the object determines what fields it has. For a complete list of type ID's, see GRAPHENE_DEFINE_IDS(protocol, protocol_ids ...) in protocol/types.hpp and GRAPHENE_DEFINE_IDS(chain, implementation_ids ...) in chain/types.hpp.

    The third number specifies the instance. The instance of the object is different for each individual object.

  • The answer to the previous question was really confusing. Can you make it clearer?

    All account ID's are of the form 1.2.x. If you were the 9735th account to be registered, your account's ID will be 1.2.9735. Account 0 is special (it's the "committee account," which is controlled by the committee members and has a few abilities and restrictions other accounts do not).

    All asset ID's are of the form 1.3.x. If you were the 29th asset to be registered, your asset's ID will be 1.3.29. Asset 0 is special (it's BTS, which is considered the "core asset").

    The first and second number together identify the kind of thing you're talking about (1.2 for accounts, 1.3 for assets). The third number identifies the particular thing.

  • How do I get the network_add_nodes command to work? Why is it so complicated?

    You need to follow the instructions in the "Accessing restrictable node API's" section to allow a username/password access to the network_node API. Then you need to pass the username/password to the cli_wallet on the command line.

    It's set up this way so that the default configuration is secure even if the RPC port is publicly accessible. It's fine if your witness_node allows the general public to query the database or broadcast transactions (in fact, this is how the hosted web UI works). It's less fine if your witness_node allows the general public to control which p2p nodes it's connecting to. Therefore the API to add p2p connections needs to be set up with proper access controls.


BitShares Core is under the MIT license. See LICENSE for more information.

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