How Are Changes Made to Bitcoin Core?

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A man sitting at a desk with several monitors explaining changes made to Bitcoin Core.
Table of Contents
A man sitting at a desk with several monitors explaining changes made to Bitcoin Core.

Are you curious about how changes are made to the Bitcoin core? Well, it’s not as complex as you might think. In this blog post, we will demystify the process by explaining key elements like Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs) and the roles of various actors in bringing these proposals to life.

Keep reading and navigate your cryptocurrency journey with confidence!

How Are Changes Made to Bitcoin Core?

Changes to Bitcoin Core, the primary software underpinning the Bitcoin network, follow a meticulous and collaborative process. Initially, developers propose modifications through Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs).

These proposals detail the suggested changes and offer both the reasoning behind them and technical specifics. The broader Bitcoin developer community then reviews, debates, and tests these BIPs.

Gaining consensus among the developers is crucial, as it ensures the change aligns with the network’s goals and values. Once there’s agreement, the modifications are integrated into the Bitcoin Core software.

However, for them to take effect on the network, a majority of nodes need to adopt the updated version, preserving the decentralized ethos of Bitcoin.

Key Takeaways

  • Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs) are plans to change Bitcoin that anyone can propose.
  • BIPs go through a review process, community voting, and require 95% majority vote for implementation.
  • Changes are made to the Bitcoin Core software by the Bitcoin Core team through collaboration with developers worldwide.

Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs)

Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs) are a crucial part of the process for making changes to Bitcoin Core.

What are BIPs and how do they work

Bitcoin Improvement Proposals, or BIPs, are plans to change Bitcoin. Anyone can make a new plan for this. They write the plan and send it to an editor. The editor checks the plan and says if it is good enough to move forward or not.

To become part of Bitcoin’s core system, 95% of people have to vote for the BIP. So most people must agree with the new idea before any changes happen. This keeps Bitcoin safe but also lets it grow better over time.

Creation and submission process

To propose changes to Bitcoin core, here is how it works:

  • Anyone can submit a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) to suggest changes to the Bitcoin protocol.
  • The proposal must be written and documented according to the BIP guidelines.
  • The proposal is then submitted to the Bitcoin Core GitHub repository for review.
  • An editor reviews the proposal and ensures that it meets the necessary criteria.
  • Once approved, the BIP goes through a voting process by the Bitcoin community.
  • A 95% majority vote is required for the proposal to be implemented.
  • If approved, the changes are integrated into future updates of the Bitcoin Core software.

Approval and implementation process

To make changes to Bitcoin core, there is an approval and implementation process that needs to be followed. Here are the steps:

  1. Submission: Anyone can submit a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) to propose changes to Bitcoin core.
  2. Review: The proposal goes through a review process by editors who check its quality and adherence to BIP guidelines.
  3. Discussion: The proposal is open for discussion among the Bitcoin community, including developers and stakeholders.
  4. Voting: A consensus must be reached through voting. For the proposal to be implemented, it needs a 95% majority vote.
  5. Implementation: Once approved, the proposed changes are developed and implemented into the Bitcoin codebase.
  6. Testing: The new code is thoroughly tested for bugs and compatibility with the existing Bitcoin software.
  7. Deployment: After successful testing, the updated Bitcoin Core software is released for users to upgrade their nodes.
  8. Adoption: Users can choose to adopt the new version of Bitcoin Core or continue using older versions if they prefer.
  9. Continuous Improvement: The Bitcoin development community continuously works on improving the protocol and addressing any issues that arise.
  10. Decentralized Governance: The entire process of proposing, reviewing, approving, and implementing changes is decentralized, involving various contributors in the Bitcoin community.

Who can propose changes to Bitcoin

Anyone can propose changes to Bitcoin, thanks to its open and decentralized nature. Developers, users, and stakeholders all have the opportunity to contribute their ideas for improving the protocol and software.

Open and decentralized nature of Bitcoin

Bitcoin is known for its open and decentralized nature. This means that anyone can participate in the development and governance of Bitcoin. It’s not controlled by a single entity or organization.

Instead, decisions are made collectively by developers, users, and stakeholders within the Bitcoin community. This allows for transparency and avoids centralization of power. Changes to the Bitcoin protocol are proposed through Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs), which can be submitted by anyone.

These proposals go through an approval process where they’re reviewed by editors and voted on by the community. The goal is to reach a consensus among participants, with 95% confidence needed for implementation.

This ensures that changes reflect the desires of the majority while still protecting against any potential abuse or manipulation of the system.

Involvement of developers, users, and stakeholders

Developers, users, and stakeholders play important roles in making changes to Bitcoin core. Here is how they are involved:

  • Developers: They contribute to the Bitcoin codebase by proposing and implementing improvements. They review BIPs and collaborate with the Bitcoin Core team.
  • Users: They provide feedback on proposed changes and test new features before they are implemented. Their input helps shape the future of Bitcoin.
  • Stakeholders: They have a say in decision-making processes related to Bitcoin development. Their perspectives and interests are taken into account during discussions and voting.

Bitcoin Core Development

The Bitcoin Core team plays a crucial role in the development of the Bitcoin software, collaborating with developers from around the world to continuously improve and update the protocol.

Role of the Bitcoin Core team

The Bitcoin Core team plays a vital role in the development and maintenance of Bitcoin. They are responsible for improving the Bitcoin software and making important decisions about its future.

The team consists of skilled developers who review and propose changes to the codebase, ensuring that it remains secure, reliable, and efficient. They actively contribute to the ongoing development process by collaborating with other community members and stakeholders.

Their goal is to continuously enhance the core functionality of Bitcoin, keeping it up-to-date with advancements in technology while maintaining consensus among users and miners. Through their expertise and dedication, the Bitcoin Core team helps shape the direction of this decentralized cryptocurrency network.

Collaborative development process

Bitcoin Core development is a collaborative process that involves various contributors working together to improve the Bitcoin software. Here are some key aspects of this collaboration:

  • Developers from around the world contribute to the Bitcoin Core codebase on GitHub.
  • They review and discuss proposed changes, raising concerns or suggesting improvements.
  • This collaboration happens through online forums, mailing lists, and developer meetings.
  • Peer review plays a crucial role in ensuring the quality and security of code changes.
  • Developers work together to test new features and fix any bugs that may arise.
  • Continuous integration tools are used to automate testing and ensure compatibility across different systems.
  • The goal of this collaborative process is to maintain and enhance the stability, security, and functionality of the Bitcoin network.

Continuous improvement and updates

Bitcoin Core is continuously being improved and updated to enhance its performance, security, and functionality. The Bitcoin Core development team regularly releases new versions of the software with improvements based on community feedback and technical advancements.

These updates can include bug fixes, code optimizations, enhancements to the user interface (UI), and changes to the underlying protocols.

The development process involves collaboration among a diverse group of contributors who review proposed changes, test them extensively, and provide feedback. This ensures that any updates made to Bitcoin Core are thoroughly vetted before they are implemented.

Multiple versions of Bitcoin Core may be maintained simultaneously to ensure a more robust and decentralized network.

Continuous improvement is crucial for maintaining the efficiency and reliability of the Bitcoin network. By regularly updating Bitcoin Core, developers can address potential vulnerabilities or weaknesses in the system while also incorporating new features that enhance user experience.


Changes to Bitcoin core are made through a collaborative process involving Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs). Anyone can propose a change, but it needs to be approved and voted on by the community.

The Bitcoin Core team plays a crucial role in implementing these changes and ensuring the continuous improvement of the software. This decentralized decision-making process helps maintain the integrity and evolution of the Bitcoin network.


What is the process of making changes to Bitcoin core?

Changes to Bitcoin core are done through the BIP approval process, which involves bitcoin contributors proposing code improvements for blockchain upgrades.

How does decentralized decision-making affect Bitcoin protocol changes?

Decentralized decision-making in Bitcoin governance allows for a variety of views and ideas from many people on how best to implement bitcoin protocol changes or bitcoin gui changes.

Why do we have different versions like Bitcoin Cash?

Bitcoin forks, such as Bitcoin Cash, happen due to differing opinions among the community about specific proposed blockchain upgrades or bitcoin consensus rules.

Are all updates automatic in the Decentralization system?

No! While decentralization helps make fair decisions, it doesn’t automate updates. All bitcoin software life cycle stages including code improvements need human involvement.

Who approves and makes these changes in the Bitcoin code?

The approval comes from those who use and maintain bitcoins – namely miners and developers; their collective agreement allows them to update the current state following bitcoin governance rules.



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About the Author:
Alex Sterling stands at the forefront of blockchain innovation, offering a technical perspective rooted in a Computer Science background. Specializing in decentralized systems, Alex's articles dissect blockchain technologies and crypto market trends, making intricate details comprehensible for readers. They are deeply involved in blockchain project development, frequently sharing their technical expertise at tech conferences. Alex's work aims to educate and inspire readers about the transformative potential of blockchain and cryptocurrency.