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A Bitcoin-without-Blockchain client w/ RPC that can fetch any block or transaction

travis coveralls rtd PyPI version PyPI version

Interested in spruned development ? Join the telegram group

What's this?

spruned is a bitcoin client for lightweight systems.
it doesn't need to store the blockchain on the disk, just the headers.
128mb ram & 500mb hdd should be fairly enough to keep it up & running.

Supports both Bitcoin Mainnet and Testnet

The RPC API is able to support:

  • c-lightning
  • LND (zeromq must be enabled)
  • btc-rpc-explorer
  • ...many more, open an issue if you need other API calls.

Dive into spruned by reading the documentation

How it works?

spruned downloads and store the bitcoin blocks on demand, when you need them, directly from the peer to peer bitcoin network.

there's a "bootstrap" functionality, to keep the last ~50 (default settings) blocks on the local storage, because fetch blocks may require also up to 10 seconds with slow connections, and this "bootstrap mode" reduces latencies on usage.

You can use bitcoin-cli, or any other RPC client, as if you had bitcoind up & running.

For the transactions related APIs and utxo tracking, spruned uses the electrum network.


spruned works with Python >= 3.5.2. Right now it should work only on Linux systems.

It make intensive usage of connectrum, pybitcointools and pycoinnet libraries. Thanks to mantainers & contributors!
Especially at this stage of development (but it would be better always), it is recommended to use virtualenv to run spruned.

Installation from pypi

$ cd ~/src
$ sudo apt-get install libleveldb-dev python3-dev virtualenv gcc g++
$ virtualenv -p python3.5 venv
$ . venv/bin/activate
$ pip install spruned

Installation from github

$ cd ~/src
$ sudo apt-get install libleveldb-dev python3-dev git virtualenv gcc g++
$ git clone
$ cd spruned
$ virtualenv -p python3.6 venv
$ . venv/bin/activate
$ pip install -r requirements.txt
$ python install


spruned options:

$ ~/src/spruned/venv/bin/spruned

usage: spruned    [-h] [--rpcuser RPCUSER] [--rpcpassword RPCPASSWORD]
                  [--rpcport RPCPORT] [--rpcbind RPCBIND] [--datadir DATADIR]
                  [--daemon] [--keep-blocks KEEP_BLOCKS]
                  [--network {bitcoin.mainnet,bitcoin.testnet}] [--debug]
                  [--cache-size CACHE_SIZE] [--proxy PROXY] [--tor]
                  [--no-dns-seeds] [--add-p2p-peer ADD_P2P_PEER]
                  [--max-p2p-connections MAX_P2P_CONNECTIONS]
                  [--add-electrum-server ELECTRUM_SERVER]
                  [--max-electrum-connections MAX_ELECTRUM_CONNECTIONS]
                  [--zmqpubhashblock ZMQPUBHASHBLOCK]
                  [--zmqpubrawtx ZMQPUBRAWTX] [--zmqpubhashtx ZMQPUBHASHTX]
                  [--zmqpubrawblock ZMQPUBRAWBLOCK]
                  [--mempool-size MEMPOOL_SIZE]

A Bitcoin Lightweight Client

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  --rpcuser RPCUSER     Username for JSON-RPC connections (default: rpcuser)
  --rpcpassword RPCPASSWORD
                        Password for JSON-RPC connections (default: passw0rd)
  --rpcport RPCPORT     Listen for JSON-RPC connections on <port> (default:
                        8332 or testnet: 18332) (default: None)
  --rpcbind RPCBIND     Bind to given address to listen for JSON-RPC
                        connections. (default:
  --datadir DATADIR     Specify data directory (default: /home/guido/.spruned)
  --daemon              Run in the background as a daemon and accept commands
                        (default: False)
  --keep-blocks KEEP_BLOCKS
  --network {bitcoin.mainnet,bitcoin.testnet}
  --debug               Enable debug mode (default: False)
  --cache-size CACHE_SIZE
                        Cache size (in megabytes) (default: 50)
  --proxy PROXY         Proxy server (hostname:port) (default: None)
  --tor                 Connect only to hidden services. Use proxy on
                        localhost:9050, if nothing else is provided with
                        --proxy (default: False)
  --no-dns-seeds        Disable DNS seeds for P2P peers discovery (default:
  --add-p2p-peer ADD_P2P_PEER
                        Add a P2P peer (default: None)
  --max-p2p-connections MAX_P2P_CONNECTIONS
                        How many P2P peers to connect (default: None)
  --add-electrum-server ELECTRUM_SERVER
                        Add an Electrum server (default: None)
  --max-electrum-connections MAX_ELECTRUM_CONNECTIONS
                        How many Electrum servers to connect (default: None)
                        Control P2P peers discovery (getaddr) (default: False)
                        Control electrum peers discovery (peer subscribe)
                        (default: False)
  --zmqpubhashblock ZMQPUBHASHBLOCK
                        Enable publish hash block in <address> (default: )
  --zmqpubrawtx ZMQPUBRAWTX
                        Enable publish raw transaction in <address> (default:
  --zmqpubhashtx ZMQPUBHASHTX
                        Enable publish hash transaction in <address> (default:
  --zmqpubrawblock ZMQPUBRAWBLOCK
                        Enable publish raw block in <address> (default: )
  --mempool-size MEMPOOL_SIZE
                        Set the mempool size in megabytes (0 = mempool
                        disabled, default) - VERY experimental (default: 0)

And, once you run spruned:

$ tail -f ~/.spruned/spruned.log # to see what's going on!

You'll see it will took about 15 minutes to sync block headers (up to 2 hours on a raspberry pi zero, I'm working on this.)

In sync ? Ok, see the list of available commands:

bitcoin-cli help

== Blockchain ==
getblock "blockhash" ( verbosity )
getblockhash height
getblockheader "hash" ( verbose )
gettxout "txid" n ( include_mempool )

== Rawtransactions ==
getrawtransaction "txid" ( verbose )
sendrawtransaction "hexstring" ( allowhighfees )

== Util ==
estimatefee nblocks
estimatesmartfee conf_target ("estimate_mode")

== Network ==

== Wallet ==

== Partially emulated for compatibility ==

or check the status*:

$ bitcoin-cli getblockchaininfo
  "mediantime": 1523387051,
  "blocks": 517579,
  "headers": 517579,
  "verificationprogress": 100,
  "chain": "main",
  "chainwork": null,
  "difficulty": null,
  "bestblockhash": "00000000000000000018e502dec1f93d32521674019a45d7d095cbd390279dff",
  "warning": "spruned 0.0.1a7, emulating bitcoind v0.16",
  "pruned": false

Download a block:

$ bitcoin-cli getblock `bitcoin-cli getblockhash 1`
  "bits": 486604799,
  "mediantime": 1231469665,
  "nextblockhash": "000000006a625f06636b8bb6ac7b960a8d03705d1ace08b1a19da3fdcc99ddbd",
  "tx": [
  "previousblockhash": "000000000019d6689c085ae165831e934ff763ae46a2a6c172b3f1b60a8ce26f",
  "version": 1,
  "chainwork": "Not Implemented Yet",
  "nonce": 2573394689,
  "time": 1231469665,
  "height": 1,
  "hash": "00000000839a8e6886ab5951d76f411475428afc90947ee320161bbf18eb6048",
  "versionHex": "Not Implemented Yet",
  "merkleroot": "0e3e2357e806b6cdb1f70b54c3a3a17b6714ee1f0e68bebb44a74b1efd512098",
  "difficulty": "Not Implemented Yet"

Or a transaction:

$ bitcoin-cli getrawtransaction 0e3e2357e806b6cdb1f70b54c3a3a17b6714ee1f0e68bebb44a74b1efd512098

Or in verbose mode:

$ bitcoin-cli getrawtransaction 0e3e2357e806b6cdb1f70b54c3a3a17b6714ee1f0e68bebb44a74b1efd512098 1
  "txid": "0e3e2357e806b6cdb1f70b54c3a3a17b6714ee1f0e68bebb44a74b1efd512098",
  "hash": "0e3e2357e806b6cdb1f70b54c3a3a17b6714ee1f0e68bebb44a74b1efd512098",
  "version": 1,
  "size": 134,
  "vsize": 134,
  "locktime": 0,
  "vin": [
      "coinbase": "04ffff001d0104",
      "sequence": 4294967295
  "vout": [
      "value": 50.0,
      "n": 0,
      "scriptPubKey": {
        "asm": "0496b538e853519c726a2c91e61ec11600ae1390813a627c66fb8be7947be63c52da7589379515d4e0a604f8141781e62294721166bf621e73a82cbf2342c858ee OP_CHECKSIG",
        "hex": "410496b538e853519c726a2c91e61ec11600ae1390813a627c66fb8be7947be63c52da7589379515d4e0a604f8141781e62294721166bf621e73a82cbf2342c858eeac",
        "reqSigs": 1,
        "type": "pubkey",
        "addresses": [
  "hex": "01000000010000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000ffffffff0704ffff001d0104ffffffff0100f2052a0100000043410496b538e853519c726a2c91e61ec11600ae1390813a627c66fb8be7947be63c52da7589379515d4e0a604f8141781e62294721166bf621e73a82cbf2342c858eeac00000000",
  "blockhash": "00000000839a8e6886ab5951d76f411475428afc90947ee320161bbf18eb6048",
  "confirmations": 522493,
  "time": 1231469665,
  "blocktime": 1231469665

And, eventually, broadcast one:

$ bitcoin-cli sendrawtransaction 01000000011cee4c0dd7f1a90ae80311c414d48f3a16596e9ea08fa3edfb793734e2b2a100010000006a47304402205a665616085b4f425cccfde5be2113258f3c104c2c53ef918866ada8f02f7caf0220458bdbc220a3f1017b65d9138e5121a9c63decc89550a2e64e914013d26cb93b0121029643906e277eae677134d40356dfb575a2dfbe09a18a1fd7fadfd853715a7242ffffffff0234e3e600000000001976a91410a71790c6bbc2694c74b6fee9a449a11f74123388ac444c5501000000001976a9148c9e0a9029bbce075e2b5aae90010905aa4c64b188ac00000000

* bitcoin-cli is not included

Emulated APIs as in bitcoind 0.16:

== Blockchain ==
- getbestblockhash
- getblock "blockhash" ( verbosity )
- getblockchaininfo
- getblockcount
- getblockhash height
- getblockheader "hash" ( verbose )

- getmempoolinfo [ may be disabled, see help, --mempoolsize ]
- getrawmempool [ may be disabled, see help, --mempoolsize ]

- gettxout "txid" n ( include_mempool )
- getrawtransaction "txid" ( verbose )
- sendrawtransaction "hexstring" ( allowhighfees )

- estimatefee nblocks
- estimatesmartfee conf_target ("estimate_mode")

- uptime
- getpeerinfo
- getnetworkinfo
- validateaddress
- getchaintxstats
- getmininginfo
- getnettotals


  • An internet connection
  • less than 500mb of disk space :-)
  • Python >= 3.5.2


  • Not fast as a full node: internet download is slower than a read from disk.
  • Doesn't help to keep the network healthy (I care about that, and this is really going to be addressed).
  • Privacy leaky if not behind Tor


  • Maintenance web ui
  • Wallet APIs (electrum-servers based utxo management)
  • sPRUNED P2P network layer with cached blocks to offload the P2P network
  • Distribution
  • Network bandwidth reduction

Support sPRUNED!

  • Donate BTC to 3FVGopUDc6tyAP6t4P8f3GkYTJ5JD5tPwV
  • Show your love. FOSS development is free, but time is scarce.


  • spruned is a unique client, and could be adapted to any cryptocurrency. Contact me on Twitter for requests.
  • Run Electrum servers and full nodes.
  • Write extensive spruned documentation and guides.
  • Help improving spruned support to third-party applications. (ask missing APIs).
  • Report about your usage!


A Bitcoin-without-Blockchain client w/ RPC that can fetch any block or transaction





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