Bitcoin macOS Build Guide

Bitcoin macOS Build Guide
Photo by Lucas Kapla / Unsplash

It is possible to build a bitcoin node on MacOS by following a specific process. First, you need to install the Xcode Command Line Tools and the Homebrew package manager. Then, you can install the required dependencies for building Bitcoin Core from source, including automake, libtool, boost, pkg-config, and libevent. After that, you can clone the Bitcoin Core repository and install any optional dependencies that you want, such as Qt for the GUI, berkeley-db@4 for legacy wallet support, and miniupnpc and libnatpmp for port mapping. You may also want to install dependencies for the ZMQ notification system and the test suite. Finally, you can build Bitcoin Core by running the configure script, followed by the make command. It is important to note that building Bitcoin Core from source can be a resource-intensive process and may take a significant amount of time to complete.

If your a noobie who just want to run a node without building your own, check here:

For Developers Learning.. Start Here.

Updated for MacOS 11.2

This guide describes how to build bitcoind, command-line utilities, and GUI on macOS


The commands in this guide should be executed in a Terminal application. macOS comes with a built-in Terminal located in:


1. Xcode Command Line Tools

The Xcode Command Line Tools are a collection of build tools for macOS. These tools must be installed in order to build Bitcoin Core from source.

To install, run the following command from your terminal:xcode-select --install

Upon running the command, you should see a popup appear. Click on Install to continue the installation process.

2. Homebrew Package Manager

Homebrew is a package manager for macOS that allows one to install packages from the command line easily. While several package managers are available for macOS, this guide will focus on Homebrew as it is the most popular. Since the examples in this guide which walk through the installation of a package will use Homebrew, it is recommended that you install it to follow along. Otherwise, you can adapt the commands to your package manager of choice.

To install the Homebrew package manager, see:

Note: If you run into issues while installing Homebrew or pulling packages, refer to Homebrew's troubleshooting page.

3. Install Required Dependencies

The first step is to download the required dependencies. These dependencies represent the packages required to get a barebones installation up and running.

See for a complete overview.

To install, run the following from your terminal:brew install automake libtool boost pkg-config libevent

4. Clone Bitcoin repository

git should already be installed by default on your system. Now that all the required dependencies are installed, let's clone the Bitcoin Core repository to a directory. All build scripts and commands will run from this directory.git clone

5. Install Optional Dependencies

Wallet Dependencies

It is not necessary to build wallet functionality to run bitcoind or  bitcoin-qt.

Descriptor Wallet Support

sqlite is required to support for descriptor wallets.

macOS ships with a useable sqlite package, meaning you don't need to install anything.

Legacy Wallet Support

berkeley-db@4 is only required to support for legacy wallets. Skip if you don't intend to use legacy wallets.brew install berkeley-db@4

GUI Dependencies


Bitcoin Core includes a GUI built with the cross-platform Qt Framework. To compile the GUI, we need to install qt@5. Skip if you don't intend to use the GUI.brew install qt@5

Note: Building with Qt binaries downloaded from the Qt website is not officially supported. See the notes in #7714.


The GUI can encode addresses in a QR Code. To build in QR support for the GUI, install qrencode. Skip if not using the GUI or don't want QR code functionality.brew install qrencode

Port Mapping Dependencies


miniupnpc may be used for UPnP port mapping. Skip if you do not need this functionality.brew install miniupnpc


libnatpmp may be used for NAT-PMP port mapping. Skip if you do not need this functionality.brew install libnatpmp

Note: UPnP and NAT-PMP support will be compiled in and disabled by default. Check out the further configuration section for more information.

ZMQ Dependencies

Support for ZMQ notifications requires the following dependency. Skip if you do not need ZMQ functionality.brew install zeromq

ZMQ is automatically compiled in and enabled if the dependency is detected. Check out the further configuration section for more information.

For more information on ZMQ, see:

Test Suite Dependencies

There is an included test suite that is useful for testing code changes when developing. To run the test suite (recommended), you will need to have Python 3 installed:brew install python

Deploy Dependencies

You can deploy a .dmg containing the Bitcoin Core application using make deploy. This command depends on a couple of python packages, so it is required that you have python installed.

Ensuring that python is installed, you can install the deploy dependencies by running the following commands in your terminal:pip3 install ds_store mac_alias

Building Bitcoin Core

1. Configuration

There are many ways to configure Bitcoin Core, here are a few common examples:

Wallet (BDB + SQlite) Support, No GUI:

If berkeley-db@4 is installed, then legacy wallet support will be built. If berkeley-db@4 is not installed, then this will throw an error. If sqlite is installed, then descriptor wallet support will also be built. Additionally, this explicitly disables the GUI../ ./configure --with-gui=no

Wallet (only SQlite) and GUI Support:

This explicitly enables the GUI and disables legacy wallet support. If qt is not installed, this will throw an error. If sqlite is installed then descriptor wallet functionality will be built. If sqlite is not installed, then wallet functionality will be disabled../ ./configure --without-bdb --with-gui=yes

No Wallet or GUI./ ./configure --without-wallet --with-gui=no
Further Configuration

You may want to dig deeper into the configuration options to achieve your desired behavior. Examine the output of the following command for a full list of configuration options:./configure -help

2. Compile

After configuration, you are ready to compile. Run the following in your terminal to compile Bitcoin Core:make        # use "-j N" here for N parallel jobsmake check  # Run tests if Python 3 is available

3. Deploy (optional)

You can also create a  .dmg containing the .app bundle by running the following command:make deploy

Running Bitcoin Core

Bitcoin Core should now be available at ./src/bitcoind. If you compiled support for the GUI, it should be available at ./src/qt/bitcoin-qt.

The first time you run bitcoind or bitcoin-qt, it will start downloading the blockchain. This process could take many hours, or even days on slower than average systems.

By default, blockchain and wallet data files will be stored in:/Users/${USER}/Library/Application Support/Bitcoin/

Before running, you may create an empty configuration file:mkdir -p "/Users/${USER}/Library/Application Support/Bitcoin" touch "/Users/${USER}/Library/Application Support/Bitcoin/bitcoin.conf" chmod 600 "/Users/${USER}/Library/Application Support/Bitcoin/bitcoin.conf"

You can monitor the download process by looking at the debug.log file:tail -f $HOME/Library/Application\ Support/Bitcoin/debug.log

Other commands:./src/bitcoind -daemon      # Starts the bitcoin daemon../src/bitcoin-cli --help    # Outputs a list of command-line options../src/bitcoin-cli help      # Outputs a list of RPC commands when the daemon is running../src/qt/bitcoin-qt -server # Starts the bitcoin-qt server mode, allows bitcoin-cli control

Note: Building Bitcoin from source is a complex process and may require additional dependencies depending on your system. If you encounter any issues or errors during the build process, you may need to consult the Bitcoin documentation or seek help from the Bitcoin community.

GitHub - bitcoin/bitcoin: Bitcoin Core integration/staging tree
Bitcoin Core integration/staging tree. Contribute to bitcoin/bitcoin development by creating an account on GitHub.

To build a Liquid Elements node, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Install the required dependencies. This includes the following packages: autoconf, automake, bsdmainutils, build-essential, git, libboost-all-dev, libevent-dev, libssl-dev, libtool, pkg-config.
  2. Clone the Liquid Elements repository from GitHub.
  3. Run the configure script to prepare the build environment.
  4. Run the make command to build the software.
  5. Once the build is complete, you can run the Liquid Elements node by using the "elementsd" command.

It's recommended to also consult the official Liquid Elements documentation for more detailed instructions and information on additional options and configurations.

Elements - an open source, sidechain-capable blockchain platform.