FreeBSD Build Guide

Updated for FreeBSD 12.2

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


The following dependencies are required:

Library Purpose Description
autoconf Build Automatically configure software source code
automake Build Generate makefile (requires autoconf)
libtool Build Shared library support
pkgconf Build Configure compiler and linker flags
git Clone Version control system
gmake Compile Generate executables
boost-libs Utility Library for threading, data structures, etc
libevent Networking OS independent asynchronous networking

The following dependencies are optional:

Library Purpose Description
db5 Berkeley DB Wallet storage (only needed when wallet enabled)
qt5 GUI GUI toolkit (only needed when GUI enabled)
libqrencode QR codes in GUI Generating QR codes (only needed when GUI enabled)
libzmq4 ZMQ notification Allows generating ZMQ notifications (requires ZMQ version >= 4.0.0)
sqlite3 SQLite DB Wallet storage (only needed when wallet enabled)
python3 Testing Python Interpreter (only needed when running the test suite)

See dependencies.html for a complete overview.


1. Install Required Dependencies

Install the required dependencies the usual way you install software on FreeBSD - either with pkg or via the Ports collection. The example commands below use pkg which is usually run as root or via sudo. If you want to use sudo, and you haven't set it up: use this guide to setup sudo access on FreeBSD.

pkg install autoconf automake boost-libs git gmake libevent libtool pkgconf

2. Clone Bitcoin Repo

Now that git and 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

3. Install Optional Dependencies

Wallet Dependencies

It is not necessary to build wallet functionality to run bitcoind or the GUI. To enable legacy wallets, you must install db5. To enable descriptor wallets, sqlite3 is required. Skip db5 if you intend to exclusively use descriptor wallets

Legacy Wallet Support

db5 is required to enable support for legacy wallets. Skip if you don't intend to use legacy wallets

pkg install db5
Descriptor Wallet Support

sqlite3 is required to enable support for descriptor wallets. Skip if you don't intend to use descriptor wallets.

pkg install sqlite3

GUI Dependencies


Bitcoin Core includes a GUI built with the cross-platform Qt Framework. To compile the GUI, we need to install qt5. Skip if you don't intend to use the GUI.

pkg install qt5

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

pkg install libqrencode

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:

pkg install python3

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:

This explicitly enables legacy wallet support and disables the GUI. If sqlite3 is installed, then descriptor wallet support will be built.

./configure --with-gui=no --with-incompatible-bdb \
    BDB_LIBS="-ldb_cxx-5" \
    BDB_CFLAGS="-I/usr/local/include/db5" \
Wallet (only SQlite) and GUI Support:

This explicitly enables the GUI and disables legacy wallet support. If qt5 is not installed, this will throw an error. If sqlite3 is installed then descriptor wallet functionality will be built. If sqlite3 is not installed, then wallet functionality will be disabled.

./configure --without-bdb --with-gui=yes MAKE=gmake
No Wallet or GUI
./configure --without-wallet --with-gui=no MAKE=gmake

2. Compile

Important: Use gmake (the non-GNU make will exit with an error).

gmake # use -jX here for parallelism
gmake check # Run tests if Python 3 is available