What is Bitcoin Core?

The Bitcoin community consists of members that support the Bitcoin network by hosting a version of the blockchain and its entire history of transactions on their computers, which are called nodes.

Bitcoin Core is the software that enables these nodes to run on the Bitcoin network. If the Bitcoin blockchain is the spine of the network, and nodes the brain, then Bitcoin Core can be considered the nervous system. 

Any person with a computer can host a node. It’s this element that makes Bitcoin decentralised, and why it’s referred to as a peer-to-peer network. 

But there’s more to Bitcoin Core. The software allows members of the community to, yes, run a node, but it also gives nodes the ability to create a Bitcoin Core wallet and it’s used by developers to test network changes on the so-called testnet before implementing these changes to the Bitcoin blockchain. Running a node gives you voting power in deciding whether these changes should be implemented. 

In the past, certain prominent individuals of the Bitcoin Cash community have incorrectly referred to Bitcoin as Bitcoin Core, wanting to draw a clear distinction between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, a cryptocurrency that resulted from a disagreement between members of the Bitcoin community and resulted in a hard fork. It has led to some confusion about what Bitcoin Core actually is. To be clear, Bitcoin Core is the software that enables nodes to run on the Bitcoin blockchain. It is not a cryptocurrency.

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