Is there really no manual for Bitcoin Core?

Bitcoin Asked by Mirsab Jastram on November 8, 2020

This is not the first time I’m desperately searching for Bitcoin Core help and finding none, but look at this:

That’s the closest thing to a "manual" I can find. But it’s about RPC commands. I’ve gone through their entire damn website (both ones, in fact) and made numerous web searches but find nothing resembling a manual. Where is the manual? Is there a manual?

Right now, I’m trying to get official descriptions of these two configuration options:

  1. blocknotify
  2. walletnotify

They are not mention anywhere on that page, and seemingly nowhere else officially. Am I supposed to guess what they mean and try to piece together information from ancient questions asked by random people online? How is anyone supposed to get a Bitcoin payment system running and actually use Bitcoin when there is no manual and a hundred BIPs are released per week?

The lack of information has caused countless of my projects to never get off the ground. I don’t understand the mentality that a lot of people have that things are somehow "obvious" or "don’t need a manual". Especially not when it’s for a crucial piece of software which we’re supposed to use to revolutionize the world.

3 Answers

Most of the documentation about configuration options and RPCs can be found within the software itself.

Both bitcoind and bitcoin-qt have -help and -help-debug startup options. These will print out all of the configuration options and their descriptions.

bitcoin-qt additionally displays this information in Help > Command line options

For RPCs, you can use the help RPC to list all available RPCs. Doing help <command> will show the help text for that particular command. This help text will include a description of what the RPC does, the options, and what to expect in the result.

Answered by Andrew Chow on November 8, 2020

There is man bitcoind but there is also bitcoin-cli help or bitcoin-cli help <command> which can give you more detail. also has explanations of all RPC calls: and more info.

Answered by Pillagr on November 8, 2020

There is a manual documenting both examples. The man page for bitcoind.

man bitcoind shows me:


              Execute command when the best block changes (%s in cmd is replaced by block hash)

              Execute command when a wallet transaction changes (%s in cmd is replaced by TxID)

They're really not that hard to use.

Note that this machine runs a slightly older version of bitcoind. Newer versions support %w for the name of the wallet, as bitcoind now supports multiple wallets, in addition to %s for the transaction ID.

Answered by Raghav Sood on November 8, 2020

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