The first, and oldest bitcoin wallet.

(Image Source)

Bitcoin wallets come in all shapes and sizes. In 2022, you could find all sorts of wallets ranging from desktop wallets, to mobile, to web, to hardware, to paper, and even genetically? Well, we’re probably still too early in seeing commercialized bio-genetic bitcoin wallet implants from coming on to the market, but you never know. Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that bitcoin wallets will continue to evolve into newer forms that may be hard to visualize now.

And there was once upon a time, when there was only ONE bitcoin wallet on the market.

That’s right. Believe it or not, there was a time when there was only one bitcoin wallet available to use for users. This can be traced way back in the early days when Satoshi first published bitcoin and programmed the first implementation of a bitcoin client.

Fun Fact: In the very early days of Bitcoin, there were no base58 encoded public addresses used. Transactions were sent directly to public keys (uncompressed) which were long and complex.

The first wallet program, which is sometimes referred to as the Satoshi client, was released in 2009 by Satoshi as open-source software. But soon after, the client moved from the wxWidgets user interface toolkit to Qt, and the whole bundle was referred to as Bitcoin-Qt, which was released in February of 2009. A full month after the first block was mined.

Bitcoin-Qt was essentially a desktop software you can run on your computer. But this wallet inherently was attached to running a full bitcoin node. One may also categorize this wallet as a “thick purse” in the sense that downloading the entire transaction and block history was required. But back in the early days, this wasn’t much of a big deal as the size of the entire bitcoin block history was just merely a couple of gigabytes. Today, the size is close to half a terabyte, which would require a large hard drive to keep that much storage.

(What the GUI of the Bitcoin Qt wallet looked like)

The Qt wallet stored a user’s private keys on the user’s desktop in a file named “wallet.dat”, which has become famous in stories of old bitcoin users struggling to find this file in hopes of salvaging millions of dollars in present day prices. But actually, there was nothing inherently insecure about Satoshi’s wallet, though. In fact, given that it came with the option to create a fully encrypted backup, Qt was a highly secure wallet when optimally configured.

Some of Bitcoin Qt’s wallet features included:

  • Always asks for confirmation before sending funds.
  • The ability to divide the account balance at options: confirmed and unconfirmed.
  • The ability to send funds to multiple recipients with a single payment.
  • Display the payment format mBTC and µBTC.
  • Reliable multi-level protection mechanism.

One of its disadvantages was that there was no such thing as BIP32 or BIP39. So reusing public addresses was common practice although shouldn’t be recommended these days.

Eventually after version 0.9.0, Bitcoin Qt was renamed to Bitcoin Core as suggested from OG bitcoin developer Gavin Andresen for the reasons being that “core” sounded strong and rock-like. Which, to Gavin’s reasoning, can help to encapsulate what you want for something that forms the backbone of the network.

And to this day, the main bitcoin wallet/software implementation is still known as Bitcoin Core. But for historical purposes and to walk down memory lane, you could find a plethora of information and demonstrations on the Bitcoin Qt wallet such as the below videos.

And even videos on just discussing about wallet updates to Bitcoin Qt…


Have you used Bitcoin Qt before? We would love to hear your experience in the comments section below!


About us

Ballet is a U.S. company that provides simple and secure cryptocurrency storage solutions for the global mainstream market. Ballet is the team behind the world’s first multi-currency, non-electronic, physical crypto wallet. The company was founded in 2019 by Bobby Lee and an international team of cryptocurrency industry veterans. Ballet is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada in the United States, and has an office in Shanghai, China.

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