Installing Bitcoin Core on Ubuntu

By Rich Apodaca | Updated

Ubuntu is often recommended as an alternative to Windows for running Bitcoin Core. Recent reports of a false postive virus signature in the block chain and an inappropriate response by Microsoft antivirus software reinforce this point. This guide shows how to install and run Bitcoin Core on a clean Ubuntu 14.04 system.


Ubuntu does not yet come pre-packaged with Bitcoin Core. As a result, the graphical Software Center utility can’t be used. Compiling from source offers one option, but involves many steps. A more direct route is to install a precompiled binary from the command line.

Terminal Icon
Searching for the Terminal application.

The method described here uses Terminal, an application into which text-based commands can be issued. Access Terminal by clicking on the swirl icon in the upper left of the screen and typing “terminal”. Click the leftmost icon labeled “Terminal” to launch the application.

Terminal Running
Running the Terminal application. Commands are entered after the dollar sign.

This installation method is more secure than many, but it’s not entirely without risk. Take a moment to become familiar with how Ubuntu mitigates the risks.

Install Bitcoin Core

Begin by adding the Bitcoin Personal Package Archive (PPA):

$ sudo apt-add-repository ppa:bitcoin/bitcoin

You’ll be prompted for a password. Enter the one you use to log into Ubuntu.

Next, update Ubuntu’s software package lists:

$ sudo apt-get update

Finally, install Bitcoin core itself. Enter “Y” when asked asked for permission to continue:

$ sudo apt-get install bitcoin-qt

This last command may take some time, during which both Bitcoin Core and all of its dependencies will be installed.

Run Bitcoin Core

Bitcoin Core can be started from the command line with:

$ bitcoin-qt

Alternatively, launch Bitcoin Core by clicking on the swirl icon and typing “bitcoin”.

The Bitcoin Core welcome screen.

If all goes well, the welcome screen should appear.