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Breadwallet puts users in control with node tethering

Jul 13, 2017

If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you know that your breadwallet app connects directly to the bitcoin network, without relying on breadwallet servers. We did this so you wouldn’t have to take our word for what the bitcoin network has to say, and could independently verify the status of your money. But what if you don’t want to blindly trust the bitcoin network, either?

Recently there has been a lot of talk of forks in the bitcoin blockchain, caused by opposing views on governance and consensus. If a fork were to happen, your breadwallet app would continue to connect to the version of the blockchain that has the majority of mining power behind it. For the large majority of our users, this is sufficient. But what about our users who don’t agree with this criteria for determining “the majority?” We want to give our users the choice to follow a specific fork of the blockchain, if they prefer, and with today's app update it is now possible to tether your breadwallet to a specific node of your choosing. This feature can also be utilized by users who wish to have more control over which nodes on the network they listen to, instead of letting breadwallet choose one at random.

To make use of this feature, open the breadwallet menu, choose “settings” > “about”, and tap on the “dl peer” text in the bottom left corner of the screen. In the pop-up that follows, enter the IP address of a node you wish to connect to. After a few seconds, your breadwallet will make contact and sync up with the specified node. To go back to trusting the network at large, tap on the “dl peer” text and choose to clear the setting.

Our philosophy begins with respecting the individual choices of our users. Since we don’t run our own bitcoin nodes, we can’t—and won’t—make a decision for them in the event of a network fork. Regardless of how you believe the network should scale, we will always give you the tools to stay in control of your money. We want you to feel that you can depend on us, without ever having to trust us.

One final note to the majority of our users: If you have no specific need or desire to use the node tethering option, then don’t. It’s entirely optional, and regardless of what happens to the network, you will always be in full control of your private keys, even if you do nothing.

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