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Client Installation and Configuration

Jonathan Chappelow edited this page Jun 25, 2023 · 5 revisions

Client Installation and Configuration

Client Quick Start Installation

The DEX client can be installed in one of the following ways. Download the application from just one of the following locations:

  • Download the standalone DEX client for your operating system for the latest release on GitHub. Extract the "dexc" executable from the archive and run it. Open any web browser to the link shown by the application. You may also put the dexc executable's folder on your PATH.
  • Use Decrediton, the official graphical Decred wallet, which integrates the DEX client, and go to the DEX tab.
  • (Legacy users) Use the Decred command line application installer, dcrinstall. This is no longer recommended.
  • Build the standalone client from source.

WARNING: If you decide to build from source, use the latest release branch, not master.

Important Note on External Wallets

If using external wallet software (e.g. dcrd+dcrwallet, bitcoind, Electrum, etc.), they must remain running while the DEX client is running. Do not shut down, lock, unlock, or otherwise modify your wallet settings while the client is running. Also, only send funds from within the DEX application, not directly from the external wallet's own controls. Finally, do not manually lock or unlock any coins while the DEX client is running.

Client Configuration

These instructions assume you've obtained the DEX client as described in the Client Quick Start Installation section.


If you use the standalone DEX client, you will need a web browser to open the DEX client user interface as described in the next section.

Most users will use the native wallets that are already built into the DEX client. Depending on the asset, you may be able to choose from: (1) a native wallet, (2) an external full node wallet, or (3) an Electrum-based wallet. Consult the following table for a summary of wallet support. If there is a checkmark in the "native" column, no external software is required.

Coin native full node Electrum notes
Bitcoin v0.21-v24 v4.2.x
Decred v1.7-1.8 x
Ethereum geth IPC/http/ws N/A see
Litecoin v0.21.2.2 v4.2.x may require a bootstrap peer
Bitcoin Cash v24+ x use only Bitcoin Cash Node for full node
Dogecoin x v1.14.5+ x
Zcash x v5.4.2 x

NOTE: The Electrum option is less mature and provides less privacy than the other wallet types. Some manual configuration of the Electrum wallet's RPC server is also necessary (example).

Synchronizing Wallets

If using the native wallets that are integrated with the DEX client (see above), you can skip this section.

If you choose to use an external wallet (full node or Electrum), you must start and synchronize them with their networks before running the DEX client.

Note that Bitcoin Core and most "clones" support block pruning, which can keep your blockchain storage down to a few GB, not the size of the full blockchain, but a large size should be used to avoid full reindexing if used infrequently. Also, for good network fee estimates, the full node should be running for several blocks.

Initial Setup

  1. Start the client. For the standalone client (dexc), open a command prompt in the folder containing the dexc application and run it. e.g. ./dexc on Mac and Linux, or dexc.exe on Windows. To avoid the command prompt on Windows, dexc-tray.exe may be run instead. If using Decrediton instead of dexc, just click the "DEX" tab and skip to step 3.

  2. In your web browser, navigate to http://localhost:5758. Skip this step if using Decrediton.

  3. Set your new client application password. You will use this password to perform all future security-sensitive client operations.

    NOTE: Checking the "Remember my password" box only applies to the current session. It is easiest for most users to have it checked.

  4. Choose the DEX host that you would like to use. Either click one of the pre-defined hosts, or enter the address of a known host that you would like to use.

    NOTE: If you just want to view the markets without being able to trade, check the "No account" box. You will have an opportunity to create an identity later, but the remaining steps assume you are preparing to trade.

  5. The DEX host will show all offered markets, and a choice of assets with which you can lock in a bond to enable trading. Select the asset you wish to use.

    NOTE: A dedicate wiki page describing time-locked fidelity bonds will be created, but in short, fidelity bonds are funds redeemable only by you, but in the future. Having a potential trader lock some amount of funds before placing orders is an anti-spam mechanism to combat disruptive behavior like backing out on swaps.

  6. Choose the type of wallet to use. In this screenshot, we choose a native BTC wallet and click "Create!". The wallet will begin to synchronize with the asset's network.

    NOTE: This is your own self-hosted wallet. The wallet's address keys are derived from the DEX application's "seed", which you may backup from the Settings page at any time. Further, no central wallet backend service is involved, only the nodes on the coin's decentralized network.

  7. The next form will show you synchronization progress, and give you the first deposit address for the wallet and the minimum amount you should deposit to be able to create your first bond in the next step, which is required to place orders. This is your wallet, so deposit as much as you like! After sending to your address, the transaction must confirm (i.e. be mined in a block) before the form will update your balance. This form will be skipped if the wallet is already funded and synchronized.

    IMPORTANT: This is your own local wallet, and you can send as much as you like to it since only the amount required for the bond will be spent in the next step. The remaining amount, minus a small reserve for future bond transactions, will be in your available balance. For example, you can send yourself 5 BTC and only the required amount (0.0014 BTC in the case pictured above) will be spent to create the bond in the next step, with an equivalent amount plus fees in reserves. The remainder goes to your available balance, which can then be traded, sent, or simply held in the wallet.

    You may disable future bonds at any time by changing the "Target Tier" to 0 in the "Update Bond Options" form accessible from DEX host settings form accessible from the Settings page. This will return any reserves to the available balance. Any active bonds will automatically be refunded when their lock time expires (currently 2 months after creation).

    NOTE: The native Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash wallets connect to full nodes on the blockchain network that have "compact block filters" enabled. It may take time for the wallet to crawl the network until it finds such nodes. Be patient; otherwise you can bootstrap the process using a known seed node such as the Litecoin nodes on this list.

  8. Once the wallet is synchronized and has at least enough to create your time-locked fidelity bond, the form will update, and you should click the button to create and broadcast your bond transaction.

    After proceeding, the available balance will be the amount you deposited in the previous step minus this bond amount and transaction fees.

  9. You will then be taken to the Markets page, where you must wait for confirmations on your bond transaction:

    While waiting, you may create additional wallets either directly from the displayed market or on the Wallets page accessible from the navigation bar at the top. This is also a good time to retrieve your application "seed", as described in the next step.

    After the transaction is confirmed, the application will submit the bond for validation and you will be ready to trade:

    It is recommended to export bond information whenever they are created since they are not automatically restored from just the application seed. Do this using the "Export Account" button of the DEX host settings accessible from the Settings page. If you restore from seed in the future: create the same wallets, add the same DEX host, and then import the bonds from this backup.

  10. At any time you can go to the Settings page via the "gears" icon in the top navigation bar to retrieve the application seed that was generated when initializing the application in the first dialog. This seed is used to restore your DEX accounts and any native wallets, so keep it safe.

  11. That's it! Use the Buy/Sell form on the Markets page to begin placing orders. Go to the Wallets page to obtain addresses for your wallets so that you can send yourself funds to trade.

Advanced Client Installation


  1. Go 1.19 or 1.20
  2. (optional) Node 18 or 20 is used to bundle resources for the browser interface. It's important to note that the DEX client has no external JavaScript dependencies. The client doesn't import any Node packages. We only use Node to lint and compile our own JavaScript and css resources. This build step is not required if building from a release branch such as release-v0.6.
  3. At least 2 GB of available system memory.

Build from Source

Build the web assets from client/webserver/site/.

If building from the master branch, bundle the CSS and JavaScript with Webpack:

npm clean-install && npm run build

Build and run the client from client/cmd/dexc.

go build

Connect to the client from your browser at localhost:5758.

While dexc may be run from within the git workspace as described above, the dexc binary executable generated with go build can be copied into a different folder (e.g. /opt/dcrdex/dexc).


Build the docker image

docker build -t user/dcrdex -f client/Dockerfile .

Create docker volume

docker volume create --name=dcrdex_data

Run image

docker run -d --rm -p -v dcrdex_data:/root/.dexc user/dcrdex