Release Process

Branch updates

Before every release candidate

Before every major and minor release

Before every major release

Before branch-off

After branch-off (on master)

After branch-off (on the major release branch)

Before final release


First time / New builders

If you're using the automated script (found in contrib/, then at this point you should run it with the "--setup" command. Otherwise ignore this.

Check out the source code in the following directory hierarchy.

cd /path/to/your/toplevel/build
git clone
git clone
git clone
git clone

Write the release notes

Open a draft of the release notes for collaborative editing at

For the period during which the notes are being edited on the wiki, the version on the branch should be wiped and replaced with a link to the wiki which should be used for all announcements until -final.

Write the release notes. git shortlog helps a lot, for example:

git shortlog --no-merges v(current version, e.g. 0.19.2)..v(new version, e.g. 0.20.0)

(or ping @wumpus on IRC, he has specific tooling to generate the list of merged pulls and sort them into categories based on labels).

Generate list of authors:

git log --format='- %aN' v(current version, e.g. 0.20.0)..v(new version, e.g. 0.20.1) | sort -fiu

Tag the version (or release candidate) in git:

git tag -s v(new version, e.g. 0.20.0)

Setup and perform Gitian builds

If you're using the automated script (found in contrib/, then at this point you should run it with the "--build" command. Otherwise ignore this.

Setup Gitian descriptors:

pushd ./bitcoin
export SIGNER="(your Gitian key, ie bluematt, sipa, etc)"
export VERSION=(new version, e.g. 0.20.0)
git fetch
git checkout v${VERSION}

Ensure your gitian.sigs are up-to-date if you wish to gverify your builds against other Gitian signatures.

pushd ./gitian.sigs
git pull

Ensure gitian-builder is up-to-date:

pushd ./gitian-builder
git pull

Fetch and create inputs: (first time, or when dependency versions change)

pushd ./gitian-builder
mkdir -p inputs
wget -O inputs/osslsigncode-2.0.tar.gz
echo '5a60e0a4b3e0b4d655317b2f12a810211c50242138322b16e7e01c6fbb89d92f inputs/osslsigncode-2.0.tar.gz' | sha256sum -c

Create the macOS SDK tarball, see the macdeploy instructions for details, and copy it into the inputs directory.

Optional: Seed the Gitian sources cache and offline git repositories

NOTE: Gitian is sometimes unable to download files. If you have errors, try the step below.

By default, Gitian will fetch source files as needed. To cache them ahead of time, make sure you have checked out the tag you want to build in bitcoin, then:

pushd ./gitian-builder
make -C ../bitcoin/depends download SOURCES_PATH=`pwd`/cache/common

Only missing files will be fetched, so this is safe to re-run for each build.

NOTE: Offline builds must use the --url flag to ensure Gitian fetches only from local URLs. For example:

pushd ./gitian-builder
./bin/gbuild --url bitcoin=/path/to/bitcoin,signature=/path/to/sigs {rest of arguments}

The gbuild invocations below DO NOT DO THIS by default.

Build and sign Bitcoin Core for Linux, Windows, and macOS:

pushd ./gitian-builder
./bin/gbuild --num-make 2 --memory 3000 --commit bitcoin=v${VERSION} ../bitcoin/contrib/gitian-descriptors/gitian-linux.yml
./bin/gsign --signer "$SIGNER" --release ${VERSION}-linux --destination ../gitian.sigs/ ../bitcoin/contrib/gitian-descriptors/gitian-linux.yml
mv build/out/bitcoin-*.tar.gz build/out/src/bitcoin-*.tar.gz ../

./bin/gbuild --num-make 2 --memory 3000 --commit bitcoin=v${VERSION} ../bitcoin/contrib/gitian-descriptors/gitian-win.yml
./bin/gsign --signer "$SIGNER" --release ${VERSION}-win-unsigned --destination ../gitian.sigs/ ../bitcoin/contrib/gitian-descriptors/gitian-win.yml
mv build/out/bitcoin-*-win-unsigned.tar.gz inputs/bitcoin-win-unsigned.tar.gz
mv build/out/bitcoin-*.zip build/out/bitcoin-*.exe ../

./bin/gbuild --num-make 2 --memory 3000 --commit bitcoin=v${VERSION} ../bitcoin/contrib/gitian-descriptors/gitian-osx.yml
./bin/gsign --signer "$SIGNER" --release ${VERSION}-osx-unsigned --destination ../gitian.sigs/ ../bitcoin/contrib/gitian-descriptors/gitian-osx.yml
mv build/out/bitcoin-*-osx-unsigned.tar.gz inputs/bitcoin-osx-unsigned.tar.gz
mv build/out/bitcoin-*.tar.gz build/out/bitcoin-*.dmg ../

Build output expected:

  1. source tarball (bitcoin-${VERSION}.tar.gz)
  2. linux 32-bit and 64-bit dist tarballs (bitcoin-${VERSION}-linux[32|64].tar.gz)
  3. windows 32-bit and 64-bit unsigned installers and dist zips (bitcoin-${VERSION}-win[32|64]-setup-unsigned.exe, bitcoin-${VERSION}-win[32|64].zip)
  4. macOS unsigned installer and dist tarball (bitcoin-${VERSION}-osx-unsigned.dmg, bitcoin-${VERSION}-osx64.tar.gz)
  5. Gitian signatures (in gitian.sigs/${VERSION}-<linux|{win,osx}-unsigned>/(your Gitian key)/)

Verify other gitian builders signatures to your own. (Optional)

Add other gitian builders keys to your gpg keyring, and/or refresh keys: See ../bitcoin/contrib/gitian-keys/README.html.

Verify the signatures

pushd ./gitian-builder
./bin/gverify -v -d ../gitian.sigs/ -r ${VERSION}-linux ../bitcoin/contrib/gitian-descriptors/gitian-linux.yml
./bin/gverify -v -d ../gitian.sigs/ -r ${VERSION}-win-unsigned ../bitcoin/contrib/gitian-descriptors/gitian-win.yml
./bin/gverify -v -d ../gitian.sigs/ -r ${VERSION}-osx-unsigned ../bitcoin/contrib/gitian-descriptors/gitian-osx.yml

Next steps:

Commit your signature to gitian.sigs:

pushd gitian.sigs
git add ${VERSION}-linux/"${SIGNER}"
git add ${VERSION}-win-unsigned/"${SIGNER}"
git add ${VERSION}-osx-unsigned/"${SIGNER}"
git commit -m "Add ${VERSION} unsigned sigs for ${SIGNER}"
git push  # Assuming you can push to the gitian.sigs tree

Codesigner only: Create Windows/macOS detached signatures:

Codesigner only: Sign the macOS binary:

transfer bitcoin-osx-unsigned.tar.gz to macOS for signing
tar xf bitcoin-osx-unsigned.tar.gz
./ -s "Key ID"
Enter the keychain password and authorize the signature
Move signature-osx.tar.gz back to the gitian host

Codesigner only: Sign the windows binaries:

tar xf bitcoin-win-unsigned.tar.gz
./ -key /path/to/codesign.key
Enter the passphrase for the key when prompted
signature-win.tar.gz will be created

Codesigner only: Commit the detached codesign payloads:

cd ~/bitcoin-detached-sigs
checkout the appropriate branch for this release series
rm -rf *
tar xf signature-osx.tar.gz
tar xf signature-win.tar.gz
git add -A
git commit -m "point to ${VERSION}"
git tag -s v${VERSION} HEAD
git push the current branch and new tag

Non-codesigners: wait for Windows/macOS detached signatures:

Create (and optionally verify) the signed macOS binary:

pushd ./gitian-builder
./bin/gbuild -i --commit signature=v${VERSION} ../bitcoin/contrib/gitian-descriptors/gitian-osx-signer.yml
./bin/gsign --signer "$SIGNER" --release ${VERSION}-osx-signed --destination ../gitian.sigs/ ../bitcoin/contrib/gitian-descriptors/gitian-osx-signer.yml
./bin/gverify -v -d ../gitian.sigs/ -r ${VERSION}-osx-signed ../bitcoin/contrib/gitian-descriptors/gitian-osx-signer.yml
mv build/out/bitcoin-osx-signed.dmg ../bitcoin-${VERSION}-osx.dmg

Create (and optionally verify) the signed Windows binaries:

pushd ./gitian-builder
./bin/gbuild -i --commit signature=v${VERSION} ../bitcoin/contrib/gitian-descriptors/gitian-win-signer.yml
./bin/gsign --signer "$SIGNER" --release ${VERSION}-win-signed --destination ../gitian.sigs/ ../bitcoin/contrib/gitian-descriptors/gitian-win-signer.yml
./bin/gverify -v -d ../gitian.sigs/ -r ${VERSION}-win-signed ../bitcoin/contrib/gitian-descriptors/gitian-win-signer.yml
mv build/out/bitcoin-*win64-setup.exe ../bitcoin-${VERSION}-win64-setup.exe

Commit your signature for the signed macOS/Windows binaries:

pushd gitian.sigs
git add ${VERSION}-osx-signed/"${SIGNER}"
git add ${VERSION}-win-signed/"${SIGNER}"
git commit -m "Add ${SIGNER} ${VERSION} signed binaries signatures"
git push  # Assuming you can push to the gitian.sigs tree

After 3 or more people have gitian-built and their results match:

sha256sum * > SHA256SUMS

The list of files should be:


The *-debug* files generated by the gitian build contain debug symbols for troubleshooting by developers. It is assumed that anyone that is interested in debugging can run gitian to generate the files for themselves. To avoid end-user confusion about which file to pick, as well as save storage space do not upload these to the server, nor put them in the torrent.

gpg --digest-algo sha256 --clearsign SHA256SUMS # outputs SHA256SUMS.asc

(the digest algorithm is forced to sha256 to avoid confusion of the Hash: header that GPG adds with the SHA256 used for the files) Note: check that SHA256SUMS itself doesn't end up in SHA256SUMS, which is a spurious/nonsensical entry.

transmission-show -m <torrent file>

Insert the magnet URI into the announcement sent to mailing lists. This permits people without access to to download the binary distribution. Also put it into the optional_magnetlink: slot in the YAML file for (see below for update instructions).

Additional information

How to calculate m_assumed_blockchain_size and m_assumed_chain_state_size

Both variables are used as a guideline for how much space the user needs on their drive in total, not just strictly for the blockchain. Note that all values should be taken from a fully synced node and have an overhead of 5-10% added on top of its base value.

To calculate m_assumed_blockchain_size:

To calculate m_assumed_chain_state_size: