While Bitcoin is the undisputed leader of the cryptocurrency world, a meme-based alternative called Dogecoin has gained steam over the past month. Sporting the comical Shiba Inu dog character from the “doge” meme, this altcoin gained significant media coverage recently after helping raise $30,000 for the Jamaican bobsled team for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Promoters of this cryptocurrency have been extremely vocal about the carefree attitude surrounding Dogecoin and actively encourage giving freely to others (tipping) in order to raise awareness. The userbase has exploded since its December 6, 2013, introduction with over 33 billion Dogecoin mined to date. The growing online presence and transaction volume have caused the Dogecoin blockchain to swell to over 2GB in size. The lack of a thin client means that new users must download and verify the entire blockchain before they can participate. While online wallets do exist, many users are wary following a Christmas Day hack that resulted in the loss of millions of Dogecoin. The desktop wallet software offers client-side encryption and eliminates the need to trust a third party to secure your assets. The downsides of the desktop client are the extremely slow initial sync and need to constantly resync with the blockchain network. Fortunately there’s a trick that can help speed up the initial blockchain download by loading the blockchain from a local file rather than the network.
The official Dogecoin blockchain, Dogechain, allows users to download a file called
bootstrap.dat for exactly this purpose. This file contains the entire blockchain up to a certain point in time, which allows for rapid local importing of blocks into the desktop client database. In order to use this trick, you will need to start with a fresh dogecoin-qt instance. This means you will need to delete any existing database files in your Dogecoin directory. The Dogecoin directory is located at the following paths:
Once you’ve navigated to the directory, delete all files EXCEPT for
dogecoin.conf (if they exist). If you are loading an existing wallet, then copy your
wallet.dat file into the directory now. Be sure to always keep a backup of your wallet file in case of hard drive failure or data corruption. If you are running the wallet for the first time, you’ll need to create the directory, which obviously will be empty.
Go to the Dogechain download page and download the
bootstrap.dat file from one of the mirrors. The file is over 900MB, so be prepared to wait a little while. Note: The current file is a little old but will help accelerate the blockchain syncing process nonetheless. The Dogechain website is working on a better distribution system for automatically updated bootstrap files.
Update: Someone has compiled a more up-to-date version of the bootstrap file and made it available for download via Mediafire. I have not verified the integrity of the file, so be careful using it.
Update: A nightly bootstrap file is now being automatically generated on this website. Check it out to get the most up-to-date version.
bootstrap.dat file is downloaded, move it into your Dogecoin data directory (see above) and start the dogecoin-qt desktop client. The wallet should automatically recognize that the
bootstrap.dat file is present in the data directory and begin the local importing of blocks. Once it has imported all the blocks from the
bootstrap.dat file, then it will connect to the network and download the remaining blocks. This will still take a significant amount of time, so it’s probably best to let it run overnight.
Once the desktop wallet is synchronized with the blockchain, you can remove the
bootstrap.dat.old (renamed) file to recover drive space. If all goes well, then this should significantly speed up the initialization of your Dogecoin wallet and set you well on your way to the moon!