Who Can Change Bitcoin Core?

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A silhouette of a man standing in front of two monitors displaying BIP 21 information.
Table of Contents
A silhouette of a man standing in front of two monitors displaying BIP 21 information.

Ever wondered who has the power to modify Bitcoin’s core protocol? The inherent complexity of this decentralized digital currency often leaves many scratching their heads. This article will break down how changes are proposed and implemented, demystifying the intricate world of Bitcoin’s governance.

Stick around to discover who really holds the keys to Bitcoin’s future!

Who Can Change Bitcoin Core?

Technically, anyone can propose changes to Bitcoin Core, as it is an open-source software. This means that developers from around the world can review, suggest, or implement modifications.

However, proposing a change doesn’t guarantee its acceptance. Any substantial alterations undergo a rigorous review process involving the wider developer community. This ensures that the changes are beneficial and do not harm the network’s integrity or functionality.

Furthermore, even if a change is approved and implemented, it requires network participants, especially miners, to adopt the new version. This decentralized decision-making process ensures that no single entity has complete control over Bitcoin Core’s direction.

Key Takeaways

  • Bitcoin’s core protocol can be changed through Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs).
  • BIPs allow anyone to propose changes, but they require consensus from the Bitcoin community and approval from software developers.
  • Consensus is important to maintain the integrity and security of Bitcoin, ensuring that changes align with the interests and goals of the wider network.
  • The decentralized nature of Bitcoin means no single entity or individual controls it. Instead, development and governance are carried out by a community of stakeholders.

Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs) and the Core Protocol

BIPs provide a structured way for developers to propose changes and improvements to the Bitcoin protocol, ensuring that any modifications are thoroughly discussed and reviewed by the community.

How BIPs work

BIPs are ideas to improve Bitcoin. People use them to suggest changes. First, you write your idea into a BIP and submit it. Then, an editor looks at your idea. If they like it, they approve it for voting.

To win the vote, 95% of voters must say yes to your BIP. This process makes sure only good ideas get through.

Types of BIPs

There are different types of BIPs that can be proposed to change Bitcoin core. These include:

  1. Standards Track BIPs: These proposals define new standards or changes to existing ones in the Bitcoin protocol. They are meant to improve the overall functionality and security of the network.
  2. Informational BIPs: These proposals provide information or guidelines related to Bitcoin but do not involve any changes to the protocol itself. They can cover topics such as best practices, research, or community discussions.
  3. Process BIPs: These proposals suggest changes to the development process of Bitcoin. They aim to improve the efficiency and organization of the development community.
  4. Meta BIPs: These proposals discuss issues or ideas related to Bitcoin that are not directly related to its protocol or development process. They may address governance, community structure, or long-term planning.
  5. Experimental BIPs: These proposals introduce experimental features or concepts into the Bitcoin network for testing purposes. They allow developers and researchers to explore new ideas without affecting the main Bitcoin protocol.

Approval process for BIPs

To propose changes to Bitcoin’s core protocol, anyone can submit a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP). Once submitted, the BIP goes through an approval process. An editor reviews the proposal to ensure it meets certain criteria before it can be considered for implementation.

After that, the proposal undergoes a voting process within the Bitcoin community. In order for a BIP to be accepted and implemented, it requires a 95% majority vote. This ensures that any proposed changes have widespread support and consensus among the stakeholders in the Bitcoin network.

Who Controls Bitcoin?

The decentralized nature of Bitcoin means that no single entity or individual controls it. Rather, the development and governance of Bitcoin are carried out by a community of developers, contributors, and stakeholders who work together to maintain the integrity and security of the network.

The decentralized nature of Bitcoin

Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency, which means that no single entity or group of people has control over it. Instead, it operates on a network where many computers work together to process its transactions and maintain its security.

This makes Bitcoin different from traditional currencies that are controlled by governments or banks. The decentralized nature of Bitcoin ensures that no one can easily change its core protocol without the agreement of the entire Bitcoin community.

While developers and contributors play an important role in improving the software, any changes to the protocol must be agreed upon through consensus among the community. This helps to ensure that Bitcoin remains secure, transparent, and resistant to manipulation or censorship.

The role of developers and contributors

Developers and contributors play a crucial role in the development of Bitcoin. They are responsible for improving the software and proposing changes to the Bitcoin protocol. However, they cannot force these changes onto the network without consensus from the Bitcoin community.

Developers have an important responsibility in maintaining the stability and security of Bitcoin, as they have been known to prevent disasters by identifying and fixing vulnerabilities in the software.

While they have significant influence, it is essential for them to work together with other stakeholders like miners and users to ensure that any proposed changes align with the overall goals and principles of Bitcoin’s decentralized governance model.

The importance of consensus in making changes to the core protocol

Consensus is very important when it comes to making changes to the core protocol of Bitcoin. The core protocol is like the foundation of Bitcoin, so any changes made to it must be agreed upon by the majority of people in the Bitcoin community.

This ensures that everyone is on the same page and that there are no disagreements or conflicts. Consensus helps maintain the stability and security of Bitcoin because it means that everyone has come together and reached an agreement about how things should work.

It prevents any one person or group from having too much control over Bitcoin and keeps it decentralized, which is one of its key features.

By requiring consensus for changes to be made, Bitcoin remains a transparent and democratic system where decisions are not made unilaterally. Consensus allows for open discussions among developers, contributors, miners, and other stakeholders in the network.

It ensures that proposed changes address the concerns and needs of as many people as possible before being implemented. This way, potential risks or unintended consequences can be identified and mitigated early on.

In essence, consensus gives power back to the users rather than concentrated entities. It protects against sudden drastic changes that could harm trust in Bitcoin or disrupt its functioning.

By making sure that everyone agrees with proposed modifications to the core protocol before they are implemented, consensus safeguards against hasty decisions or malicious actions that may compromise its integrity.

Can Bitcoin’s Core Protocol be Changed?

Bitcoin’s core protocol can be changed, but it requires consensus among the Bitcoin community and the approval of software developers who contribute to its development. Discover how this process works and why it is important for maintaining the integrity of the cryptocurrency in this blog post.

The ability for anyone to propose changes

Anyone can propose changes to Bitcoin’s core protocol through what is called a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP). BIPs allow individuals to submit their ideas for improving the software that runs the Bitcoin network.

These proposals go through an approval process, where they are reviewed by an editor before being considered for implementation. However, it’s important to note that just because someone proposes a change doesn’t mean it will automatically be accepted.

Consensus among the Bitcoin community is crucial in determining whether or not a proposed change will be implemented. This ensures that any changes made to the core protocol align with the interests and goals of the wider Bitcoin network.

The need for consensus among the Bitcoin community

In order to make changes to the core protocol of Bitcoin, there is a need for consensus among the Bitcoin community. This means that everyone involved in the Bitcoin network must agree on proposed changes before they can be implemented.

Consensus is important because it ensures that any changes made to the protocol are supported by the majority of people using and working on Bitcoin.

Achieving consensus can be challenging because there are many different stakeholders in the Bitcoin community with varying opinions and interests. Developers, miners, investors, and users all have a say in how Bitcoin should evolve.

This makes it necessary to engage in open discussions and debates in order to reach an agreement.

The process of achieving consensus typically involves proposing changes through BIPs (Bitcoin Improvement Proposals) and then getting feedback from other members of the community. If a proposed change receives enough support, it may eventually be adopted into the core protocol.

The potential impacts of changing the core protocol

Changing the core protocol of Bitcoin could have significant potential impacts. One possible impact is that it could go against the core investment thesis of scarcity. Bitcoin’s hard cap of 21 million coins is a fundamental aspect that makes it appealing to investors.

If this cap were changed, it could affect the value and perceived scarcity of Bitcoin.

Additionally, changing the core protocol may require a consensus from the Bitcoin community. This means that all stakeholders, including developers, miners, and other participants in the network, would need to agree on the proposed changes.

Achieving consensus can be challenging due to differing opinions and interests within the community.

Any changes made to the core protocol should be carefully considered as they can have far-reaching consequences for the stability and functionality of the Bitcoin network.

Developers play a crucial role in ensuring that changes are thoroughly tested and do not introduce vulnerabilities or disrupt existing functions.


The Bitcoin core protocol can be changed by anyone through Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs). However, these changes must be approved by an editor and receive a 95% majority vote from the Bitcoin community.

It is important to remember that any changes made to the core protocol should align with the investment thesis of scarcity and maintain the decentralized nature of Bitcoin.


What does it mean to change Bitcoin Core?

Changing Bitcoin Core means making adjustments to the Bitcoin software. This can include changes to its core functions or rules, like altering the 21 million cap on Bitcoins.

Who can make these changes?

Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs) are a common way for people to suggest changes. But only certain GitHub employees who manage the Bitcoin repo can put them in place.

How are changes agreed upon in the Bitcoin community?

Changes need broad agreement from all parts of the Bitcoin community – this is called consensus and includes miners and other stakeholders.

Does changing something about Bitcoin impact scarcity?

Yes, some changes could affect aspects like Bitcoin’s scarcity. For example, raising its 21 million cap would create more Bitcoins and lessen their rarity.

Can I still buy bitcoin privately if there’s a change?

Regardless of proposed alterations, you may still make private purchases as long as they align with current laws and guidelines.



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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.