TODO: add diagram showing how all these pieces interact.

This guide will assume your computer is running the free and open source Ubuntu operating system, because it offers a good mix of security, bitcoin software compatibility, and end-user configurability. Advanced users should be able to get other operating systems to work, but you will be on your own to figure that out for now.

The purpose of the computer will be to run Specter-Desktop, which will communicate blockchain information between Bitcoin Core and your hardware wallets for verification and signing. You will need an up-to-date Bitcoin Core Full Node, which can be running on this same computer or another. For more information about this, see the section called Running Bitcoin. Bitcoin Core’s initial block download takes a few days to sync, so we recommend you get started on that while you wait for your hardware wallets to arrive.

Minimum Equipment to Buy:

Computer System Requirements

The software you’re running on this machine has very low resource requirements, so you can likely repurpose an old laptop that you have laying around. You can read the exact Ubuntu Desktop System requirements here. Most notably, you’ll want the machine to be 64-bit, have at least 4GB RAM, and a 2 GHz dual-core processor.

While the optimal laptop would not be used for anything else, it is acceptable for this to be a multi-purpose machine that you use day-to-day; by design this laptop will not see bitcoin private key material and we will always treat it as-if it is infected by malware.

You do not need to use a laptop, any desktop computer can work. We find laptops ideal because:

Bitcoin Core Node

For regular users, we recommend using RaspiBlitz, MyNode, or Nodl (more here).

For advanced users, you can run your own Bitcoin Core node for more details.

Advanced Considerations

Comfortable with the concepts in this step?

Read the advanced considerations that can potentially improve your security here.

» Next Section: Configure Your Computer