Interacting with Monero

You can interact with Monero via desktop GUI, commandline interface, and programming API.

On top of that, Monero nodes interact with each other in a peer-to-peer network.

Installation directory overview

Once unpacked you will see several executable files. You will also find a nice PDF guide for the GUI wallet.

Monero project nicely decouples network node logic from wallet logic. Wallet logic is offered through three independent user interfaces - the GUI, the CLI, and the HTTP API.

# cd monero-gui-v0.17.1.9

# ---- guide to Monero GUI ----


# ---- main executable files -----------


# ---- extra executable files -----------




# ---- don't bother with these ----------



monerodThe full node daemon. Does not require a wallet.
monero-wallet-guiWallet logic and graphical user interface.
Requires monerod running.
monero-wallet-cliWallet logic and commandline user interface.
Requires monerod running.
monero-wallet-rpcWallet logic and HTTP API (JSON-RPC protocol).
Requires monerod running.
monero-blockchain-prunePrune existing local blockchain. This saves 2/3 of disk space (down to 31GB as of Jan 2021). This is preferable over monerod --prune-blockchain which only logically releases space inside the file while the file remains large. The monero-blockchain-prune creates a shrinked copy of the blockchain file. See tutorial1, tutorial2.
monero-gen-ssl-certGenerate 4096 bit RSA private key and self signed TLS certificate for use with monerod RPC interface. Note, Monero daemon automatically generates TLS certificate on each restart. Manual generation with this tool is only useful if you want to pin TLS certificate fingerprint in your monero wallet. See the pull request.
monero-gen-trusted-multisigTool to generate a set of multisig wallets.
See chapter on multisignatures.
monero-blockchain-exportTool to export blockchain to blockchain.raw file.
monero-blockchain-importTool to import blockchain.raw - ideally your own trusted copy.

Executables - legacy

You most likely should not bother with these legacy or very specialized tools.

monero-blockchain-statsGenerate stats like tx/day, blocks/day, bytes/day based on your local blockchain.
monero-blockchain-mark-spent-outputsAdvanced tool to mitigate potential privacy issues related to Monero forks. You normally shouldn’t be concerned with that.
See the commit and pull request.
monero-blockchain-prune-known-spent-dataPrevious limited pruning tool to prune select “known spent” transaction outputs (from the before RCT era). Nowadays prefer monero-blockchain-prune. This only saves ~200 MB. See the commit.
monero-blockchain-usageAdvanced tool to mitigate potential privacy issues related to Monero forks. You normally shouldn’t be concerned with that.
See the commit and the pull request.
monero-blockchain-ancestryAdvanced research tool to learn ancestors of a transaction, block or chain. Irrelevant for normal users. See this pull request.
monero-blockchain-depthAdvanced research tool to learn depth of a transaction, block or chain. Irrelevant for normal users. See this commit.


There are quite a few ways you can interact with Monero software. Perhaps the most surprising for newcomers is that monerod daemon accepts interactive keyboard commands while it is running.

Also, please note that HTTP API is split across monerod and monero-wallet-rpc. You need to run and call both daemons to explore the full API. This follows the node-logic vs wallet-logic split mentioned earlier.

All wallet implementations depend on the monerod running.

Executablep2p networknode commands via keyboardnode HTTP APIwallet commands via keyboardwallet HTTP APIwallet via GUI

Data directory

This is where the blockchain, log files, and p2p network memory are stored.

By default data directory is at:

  • $HOME/.bitmonero/ on Linux and macOS
  • C:\ProgramData\bitmonero\ on Windows

Please mind:

  • data directory is hidden as per OS convention
  • the bitmonero directory name is historical artefact from before Monero forked away from Bitmonero, about 2000 years Before Christ

Data directory contains:

  • lmdb/ - the blockchain database directory
  • p2pstate.bin - saved memory of discovered and rated peers
  • bitmonero.log - log file

It can also contain subdirectories for stagenet and testnet, mirroring the same structure:

  • stagenet/ - data directory for Stagenet
  • testnet/ - data directory for Testnet

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