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Blockstack Browser screenshot

Blockstack Browser CircleCI License Slack

The Blockstack Browser allows you to explore the Blockstack internet.

Table of contents


Download the latest release


Blockstack Browser requires a local instance of Blockstack Core to run. To get started, first install Blockstack Core and then proceed with the installation of Blockstack Browser.


Blockstack for macOS contains a Blockstack Core API endpoint & a CORS proxy.

Please note these instructions have only been tested on macOS 10.13

  1. Download and install the latest release of Blockstack for Mac.
  2. Start Blockstack
  3. Option-click the Blockstack menu bar item and select "Enable Development Mode"
  4. Clone this repo: git clone
  5. Install node dependencies: npm install
  6. Click the Blockstack menu bar item and select "Copy Core API password"
  7. Run npm run dev
  8. When prompted in your browser, enter the Core API password and click save.


Part 1: Install & configure Blockstack Core

  1. Install Blockstack Core. Please follow the instructions in Blockstack Core's repository.
  2. Setup the Blockstack Core wallet: blockstack setup. You will be prompted to select a wallet password. Skip this step if you already have a Core wallet
  3. Start the Blockstack Core API: blockstack api start --api_password <core-api-password> --password <wallet-password> where <core-api-password> is a String value you select and <wallet-password> is the wallet password you selected previously.
  4. Make sure there's a local Blockstack Core API running by checking http://localhost:6270/v1/names/ to see if it returns a response.

Part 2: Install Blockstack Browser

  1. Clone this repo: git clone
  2. Install node dependencies: npm install
  3. Run npm run dev-proxy to start the CORS proxy
  4. Run npm run dev
  5. When prompted in your browser, enter the Core API password you selected in part 1.

Note: npm dev runs a BrowserSync process that watches the assets in /app, then builds them and places them in /build, and in turn serves them up on port 3000. When changes are made to the original files, they are rebuilt and re-synced to the browser frames you have open.

Building for macOS

  1. Make sure you have a working installation of Xcode 9 or higher & valid Mac Developer signing certificate
  2. Make sure you have an OpenSSL ready for bottling by homebrew by running brew install openssl --build-bottle
  3. Make sure you have hg installed by running brew install hg
  4. Run npm install nexe -g to install the "node to native" binary tool globally
  5. Open the Blockstack macOS project in Xcode and configure your code signing development team (You only need to do this once)
  6. Run npm run mac to build a debug release signed with your Mac Developer certificate

Note: You only need to run nexe once but the first build will take a while as nexe downloads and compiles a source copy of node. Then it creates and copies the needed proxy binaries into place and copies a built version of the browser web app into the source tree.

Note: This has only been tested on macOS High Sierra 10.13

Building a macOS release for distribution

  1. Ensure you have valid Developer ID signing credentials in your Keychain. (See for more information)
  2. Follow the instructions in the above section for building for macOS.
  3. Open the Blockstack macOS project in Xcode.
  4. Select the Product menu and click Archive.
  5. When the archive build completes, the Organizer window will open. Select your new build.
  6. Click "Export..."
  7. Click "Export a Developer ID-signed Application"
  8. Choose the development team with the Developer ID you'd like to use to sign the application.
  9. Click "Export" and select the location to which you would like to save the signed build.

Building for the Web

  1. Make sure you've cloned the repo and installed all npm assets (as shown above)
  2. Run npm run web


We do project-wide sprints every two weeks and we're always looking for more help.

If you'd like to contribute, head to the contributing guidelines. Inside you'll find directions for opening issues, coding standards, and notes on development.


The Browser uses log4js for logging. The macOS app uses macOS's unified logging API, os_log for logging.


On macOS, the Browser sends log events to the macOS app's log server. These are then included in macOS's unified logging API. You can view logs by starting

To see only Blockstack process logs, filter by process by typing process: Blockstack in the search box. You can also filter for only log entries proactively generated by the BLockstack project using this query: subsystem:org.blockstack.portal subsystem:org.blockstack.core subsystem:org.blockstack.mac If you'd like to see more detail, enable the inclusion of Info and Debug messages in the Action menu. Please note that in our experience, doesn't always show debug messages in real time and only shows them when doing a log dump as described below.

Sending logs to developers

Blockstack logs are included in macOS's unified logging system. This allows us to easily collect a large amount of information about the user's system when we need to troubleshoot a problem while protecting their privacy.

  1. Press Shift-Control-Option-Command-Period. Your screen will briefly flash.
  2. After a few minutes, a Finder window will automatically open to /private/var/tmp
  3. Send the most recent sysdiagnose_DATE_TIME.tar.gz file to your friendly developers.

The most important file in this archive is system_logs.logarchive, which will include recent system logs including Blockstack's logs. You can open it on a Mac using The other files include information about your computer that may help in diagnosing problems.

If you're worried about inadvertently sending some private information, you can select the log entries you'd like to send inside and copy them into an email or github issue. To help us debug your problem, we ask that at a minimum you enable Info and Debug messages and filter by process: Blockstack.

More technical users (with admin permission) can use the sysdiagnose command to generate a custom dump of information.

Tech Stack

This app uses the latest versions of the following libraries:

Along with many Gulp libraries (these can be seen in either package.json, or at the top of each task in /gulp/tasks/).


  1. If you haven't already, follow steps 1 & 2 above
  2. If you haven't already run npm run dev or npm run build at least once, run npm run build
  3. Run all tests in the tests/ directory with the npm run test command
  • A single file can be run by specifing an -f flag: npm run test -f <PATH_TO_TEST_FILE>
    • In the PATH_TO_TEST_FILE, it is possible to omit the tests/ prefix, as well as the .test.js suffix. They will be automatically added if not detected.

Note: When running tests, code coverage will be automatically calculated and output to an HTML file using the Istanbul library. These files can be seen in the generated coverage/ directory.

App Development

Run the browser in the Blockstack Test Environment

When developing apps, the browser can be run in a docker test environment that is backed by the regtest bitcoin network, hence no real money involved.

The easiest way to get that setup is through docker containers for the api, the browser and the cors-proxy. There is a docker-compose.yaml file published in the Blockstack todo app repo that does this. To use it, first install Docker and stop any running Blockstack applications (blockstack-browser or blockstack api) then:

$ docker-compose up -d

This brings up

  1. a blockstack-core api node that is backed

    • by a bitcoind instance running regtest and
    • by a blockstack-core node built from the test chain.

    The initialization script generates 50 BTCs for the core wallet.

  2. a blockstack-browser node. It uses bitcoin addresses that are mapped to regtest bitcoin addresses.

  3. a cors-proxy to bypass origin policy issues.

The easiest way to work with this setup is in Incognito mode in your browser. Once the images have been pulled down and the containers are started you can open http://localhost:8888.

Choose the Advanced Mode setup and enter the API Password as blockstack_integration_test_api_password

Common Tasks

  • You can send bitcoins from the core wallet to the browser wallet by opening the hidden url http://localhost:8888/wallet/send-core

  • You can inspect the mapped bitcoin addresses from the browser node to the regtest address by looking into the log file of the api node (execute bash in the api container and look at /tmp/blockstack-run-scenario.blockstack_integration_tests.scenarios.portal_test_env/client/api_endpoint.log).

  • You can inspect the api password by looking into the client.ini file of the api node (execute bash in the api container and look at /tmp/blockstack-run-scenario.blockstack_integration_tests.scenarios.portal_test_env/client/client.ini)

  • You can verify the blockstack version of the api node by running curl localhost:6270/v1/node/ping

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