For experienced hands this guide may seem unnecessary, but I know that a lot of beginning users sometimes have trouble installing and correctly setting up their first cryptocurrency wallets. Since my blog is aimed at helping the newest members of the crypto community I have written this walk-through of how to download and install the Ravencoin GUI desktop wallet.
The guide consists of the following sections:
First you will want to visit the official Ravencoin site and download the latest wallet version. The latest version of the Ravencoin Core Wallet for Windows can be found here.
You can also download the wallet from the RavenProject GitHub page which will include the verification hashes and signatures.
Be Safe: Never download or install any wallet software you get from non-direct links, emails or other sources.
Always ensure your are on the RavenProject’s correct Github page and download the files only from there.
There are a number of executable files available, but for most users the QT (GUI) version is the only one you will need. The other executable files are for more advanced uses, and the circumstances that would utilize them are beyond the scope of this guide, so we will only concern ourselves with the raven-qt.exe download.
In the interest of completeness, here is a brief description of the other exe files for the curious:
ravend – The server version of the ravencoin wallet. The d in the name stands for daemon which means it runs as a background process, it is used for things such as mining pool wallets.
raven-cli – This is a program that lets you issue commands to ravend so you can mange wallet functions (such as sending, creating addresses, etc.) via the command line.
raven-tx – This is a program that allows you to manipulate transactions, such as the ability to create, parse, or modify transactions.
Since we are only going to use the GUI client for this guide, click on the raven-qt.exe link to be taken to the download page.
From the raven-qt download page, simply click on Download to begin the process. You may also need to choose a save to location depending on your browser’s setup.
Save the raven-qt file to a convenient place such as your Downloads folder.
You will also want to verify the raven-qt executable file you just downloaded to be sure it hasn’t been tampered with or replaced since it was published. To do so we will need to verify the file against either (or both) the MD5 or SHA256 checksum provided by the author.
You can find these files in the same GitHub directory you downloaded raven-qt from. So backup one page in your browser to return to the file download listings. You can either download these files to your computer or just open them up and check the hashes from your browser.
I will start by verifying against the md5sum, simply click on the md5sum link and you will be presented with a page like the one shown below.
Here you can see the MD5 checksum values for the different executable files on the previous page. This guide’s focus is on verifying the raven-qt.exe file, but the same verification procedure can be used for any of the other executable files. I highlighted the raven-qt.exe md5 checksum that we will verify our download against in the image above.
Windows 10 users can just type PowerShell into Cortana (search for PowerShell in earlier Windows versions) and select the Windows PowerShell program from the displayed results.
This will open up the Windows PowerShell program that we will use to verify the downloaded file(s). You can also just do this procedure from the command prompt if you want, but I like PowerShell as it has a cleaner interface.
When PowerShell first opens, it will normally start off in your C:\Users\<user> directory with <user> being your Windows username. In the example above miner is the Windows username for the computer than I am using.
We will need to change to the Download directory we previous placed the raven-qt.exe file by using the cd or change directory command.
cd Downloads and hit enter.
PowerShell will format the command as shown in the example above to
cd .\Downloads\ but the end result is that it takes you to your Downloads directory and assigns that as the working directory for the next steps.
Now you can type the following command:
certutil -hashfile raven-qt.exe MD5 into PowerShell and hit enter.
You should see a result similar to the output in the image above, next to the upper red arrow. The number displayed in the output is the calculated MD5 checksum for the raven-qt.exe file.
You can do the same thing to calculate the SHA256 checksum, as shown by the lower red arrow in the example above, substituting SHA256 where you had typed MD5 previously.
certutil -hashfile raven-qt.exe SHA256
Now it is simply a matter of comparing the calculated results to those found within the checksum files on GitHub.
If you overlay the PowerShell window over the checksum values displayed on the website it makes the comparison easier. As you can see in the image above, the md5 checksum values match, thus verifying the file is unchanged since it was posted on GitHub.
You can follow the same process to verify the SHA256 checksum too. As mentioned before this is the basic procedure for all the other executable files as well if you downloaded any of them, or for pretty much any file you download and wish to verify.
Satisfied that our raven-qt wallet download has not been altered or tapered with since it was posted, we can proceed to the next step of installing the wallet.
Go to your download location and double click on the raven-qt.exe to run the installation process.
The first thing you will see is a screen offering you a choice as to where to install the Ravencoin wallat.dat and blockchain files. By default this is usually in C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\<coinname> folder, with <user> being your Windows username, in my case “miner” and <coinname> being of course Raven.
This is an acceptable location if your C drive has plenty of available free space, but over time downloading all of the blockchain data can use up a lot of space. For this reason I choose the second option, which is to use a custom data directory.
If C drive space is a concern, or you simply want to keep the files in another directly, you can choose custom and specify the directory where you would like to install the files.
In the example above I have created a Raven directory on my D drive, which is an external USB connected SSD drive. This drive has 2 GB of free space and I use it for my various wallets. The nice thing besides offloading the data from your C drive, is that it is also portable if my computer died I can easily move the drive over to another PC.
With either method, simply click on OK to proceed with the install.
With a new wallet installation the first thing you are likely to see upon startup is the load screen. This details the amount of blocks your client has downloaded as well as offers an estimate on how long this process will take.
On Windows you may also get a Firewall screen popup sometime during this startup process that you will need to approve to allow the client to connect through your firewall and begin syncing with peers.
Since Ravencoin is still fairly new and the blockchain size isn’t that big yet, this step should only take 10-15 minutes. Over time, as the Ravencoin blockchain grows, this process will start to take much longer.
For a point of reference, the Bitcoin blockchain which has been growing for 9 years can take 24 or more hours to fully download.
Fortunately, you can click on the Hide button to dismiss this dialog and get to the wallet client GUI. The blockchain download will still occur in the background but you can at least move on to do other steps.
After waiting for the blockchain to download, or after clicking on the hide button, you will be at your new empty Ravencoin wallet. As you can see in the example above, you will obviously have a 0 balance.
Some of the other things to note right away are in the lower right hand corner of the wallet. The first is the RVN, which is simply the coin symbol the wallet is using, in this case Ravencoin.
The next entry is HD which indicates the wallet is capable of using the new style addresses derived from the Hierarchical Deterministic (BIP32) protocol inherited from Bitcoin.
The next icon shows how many peers your wallet currently is connected to. The icon goes from light (no connections) to dark as your client connects to more peers.
The last icon shows the blockchain sync status. In the example above the blockchain is completely synced so it will displayed a check mark. This is useful as you cannot send coins until your client is synced with the network so at a glance you can tell your clients status.
The first thing you will want to do after installing the desktop Ravencoin wallet is to encrypt it before generating any new addresses. This will ensure that if someone were to get a hold of your wallet.dat file, your coins (private keys) will still be protected by a password.
You can easily do this by choosing Settings -> Encrypt Wallet from the menu.
A new window will appear asking you to input a password or passphrase. Be sure to choose a strong password and securely record this information, as if you lose it you will not be able to access your Ravencoins stored in that wallet.
I would recommend using at least a 16 character mixed password (Upper/lower case, numbers, and symbols) and not use common names or words. Also the best practice is not to store a copy of the password on the same computer that you use for your wallet(s).
One you have typed in your password/passphrase, click on OK and the client will shutdown for the changes to take effect.
You will get a couple of warnings informing you of the consequences of encrypting your wallet, but since this is a new wallet with a 0 balance you can just click through them.
After confirming you do indeed want to encrypt your wallet, the client will shutdown.
You will need to relaunch the wallet by double clicking on Raven-qt.exe after this step.
While you can run the Ravencoin wallet executable from anywhere, I like to move it to the Raven folder I created earlier for convenience. Simply go to your download folder and move the Raven-qt to your new Raven install location.
Since the client is shutdown, now would be a good time to do this. One you have moved the file to its new location, if you are using Windows you can also right click on raven-qt and choose to pin this to your taskbar to make future access even easier.
Double click on the raven-qt.exe file or click on your new pinned shortcut to relaunch the client.
Now that your wallet is encrypted you will have a new lock icon in the lower right of your wallet, as shown above. You can compare this screen with the earlier image of the new unlocked wallet, which did not display the padlock symbol.
After the client restarts from the encryption process you can now go and create a new Ravencoin address that you can use to mine your coins.There are two ways to do this and I will go over them both.
This first method involves choosing File -> Receiving addresses in the GUI and then clicking on the New button in the popup window. Notice at first you have no addresses, but this window will also display your receiving address list as you create new entries.
Type in a label such as “MiningPool” or maybe even the pool name and click on OK.
The client will then generate a new address and associate it with the label you have chosen. The label can be changed at a later time, but the address itself cannot. So during this step you client is creating a new address, or more accurately a private key, which you can then use to receive Ravencoins. The label is just a human friendly way to organize your addresses.
The second method to create a new receiving address is also very straightforward in that you can select the Receive button near the top of your wallet.
While the layout of this window is geared more to sending someone an invoice to request payment, it can also serve as a quick way to create new receive addresses for things such as pool payments. Simply fill out a name for the label as before and leave the other fields blank. Click on the request payment button to generate a new receiving address.
A new window will appear showing you the details of your newly created address, along with a QR code. As mentioned before, this method is better suited for requesting a payment from someone, but it also works the same in the background for generating a new receiving address for pool mining. Click on Close to return to the receiving address list.
As you can see in the example above, both methods created and labeled usable address that can now be used for mining or even requesting payments from someone.
With new addresses generated, you can now right click one of them and choose Copy Address to copy your newly created address to your clipboard for use in setting up your mining configuration. For convenience and to be sure it isn’t overwritten by the clipboard, I will usually paste it into a temporary notepad file I will keep open for the mining software configuration steps.
You can create as many new receiving addresses as you need using either method, mainly the choice will depend on if you are giving the information to another human or simply filling out a field in a form or configuration file.
Once you start mining, or if someone sends you some Ravencoin, you will see the transactions appear in your main wallet window as well as watch your balance begin to grow. Above we can see an example of the wallet I created for this guide after it has received a few payments from the mining pool I am using for the Ravencoin Mining Guide.
While the home page will display the last 5-6 transactions, to see all transactions and to be able to access more detail, go to the Transactions tab. Here we can see all the transaction ever sent to the wallet. In the example above only 5 are displayed, but you can easily scroll through 1000’s of transactions once your wallet has been in use for awhile. If you double click on one of the transaction, a new window will open with even more information about the transaction, including the transaction ID which you can look up on the blockchain explorer.
Once you have a balance of Ravencoin, you can also send some to your friends, exchanges, or even other wallets that you control. You will need their receiving address, which you will put in the Pay To field.
If you assign a label to this address you can easily look up the person or service again in your address book, much like we did with the receiving addresses. This makes it easier to quickly send a repetitive address more funds in the future.
In the above example I am going to send 20 RVN to my other wallet. Fill out the fields and when ready click on Send.
Here we get to use our passphrase we made at the beginning. Once your wallet is encrypted it automatically locks so funds can’t be sent out without entering the passphrase. By entering your passphrase, it unlocks your wallet for a short time (seconds) so your transaction will process. It will automatically lock again shortly after, thus keeping your coins safe. If you choose not to encrypt your wallet, this step is not needed, but also your coins are vulnerable to anyone who gets your wallet.dat file.
After entering your passphrase and clicking OK, you are presented with one last warning showing your the details of your transaction and allowing you to confirm you didn’t accidentally type 1000 when you meant 100. A small countdown timer will give you time to read the confirmation over (a few seconds) before enabling the Yes button. This ensures you have time to actually read the confirmation and not just automatically hit yes and regret it later. Once you hit yes the transaction is sent off to the network to be put on the blockchain.
You can also go to the transactions tab to confirm your sent coins. In the example above the transaction is still confirming. The pie shaped icon will turn into a check mark after the transaction receives 6 confirmations.
One final step that needs to be done, especially as you add additional receiving address, is to make sure you back up your wallet.dat file. This is the file that actually contains your encrypted private key information. Without this file you lose access to your coins, which is also why we encrypt it in the first place.
There are two ways to do this, the first is by simply navigating to your Ravencoin installation folder and copy/pasting the wallet.dat file to somewhere safe. Make sure you only copy the file (not move) as the GUI expects the file to be in this directory when it starts and will create a new wallet.dat file on launch if it doesn’t find an existing one.
The default directory on Windows is
C:\Users\<user>\Appdata\Roaming\Raven with <user> being your Windows username. If you chose a custom install when first setting up the wallet you would look to that directory instead. In my earlier example on installation I used the directory D:\Raven to install to, so my wallat.dat file is located there.
This file can be backed-up to another drive, but preferably put it on a removable device such as a USB memory stick. Better yet, put in on two memory sticks as they are now very cheap and also can fail every now and again. If you have a lot of value in your wallet, spread the backups out over three or more USB sticks.
Store the USB drives with your backup wallet.dat files somewhere safe such as in a fire-proof safe. If you are concerned about one or more of the USB sticks getting lost or stolen, you can also buy USB thumb drives with built-in encryption for an added layer of protection. It would be very hard for a hacker to get through two layers like that, assuming you use decent strong passphrases on both layers.
The second backup method is essentially the same process, however there is an option in the GUI wallet to make it a bit more user friendly. Simply go to File -> Backup Wallet and then enter a name for your new wallet backup and then click on Save. Follow the same recommendations as above for spreading copies of your backup around to different storage media.
I like to give my backup names a date as in the above example, so after multiple backups I can more easily determine when they were made.
A new backup is only needed if you generate new receiving addresses, as it is only backing up a file of your private keys. So if you don’t generate a lot of new addresses, as long as you have a copy of your wallet.dat file you will be able to claim any coins sent to that address, even after your backup was made.
That’s the end of the guide and should be more than enough information to get your Ravencoin wallet installed and setup to not only receive mining payouts, but also to store and send your coins. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments section below.