Some newbie questions

Hello everyone. I have downloaded the zec-qt-wallet and have a few questions.

  1. Why does it take so long to download the blockchain? Why is it so resource intensive? Shouldn’t it be like downloading a simple file/archive over the internet? This looks like a serious problem for user-friendliness. Starting your wallet only after leaving your computer on for a couple of days doesn’t seem very appealing…

  2. Is there a way to speed up the process? Other altcoin wallets have the possibility to sync the blockchain faster by downloading it and starting the syncing process afterward. Is this a posibility with Zcash?

  3. From what I understand the qt-wallet starts the zcash daemon turning my computer into a Zcash node. What’s the difference between a node and a miner?



Right now the blockchain is about 21Gb so takes a while, your node is also checking all the blocks as it goes. It is resource intensive, my old laptop struggled until I upgraded RAM to 8Gb, now it flies.

There isn’t a way to dowload/torrent the blockchain that I’m aware of, IMHO that’s also a bad idea. Its worth letting your node download & check everything as that makes sure you have a trustworthy installation.

A miner is trying to solve new blocks - these days its specialised hardware. A node is software running on a ‘normal’ computer, sending/receiving/verifying blocks as part of a network.

Hope that helps.


Developer of zec-qt-wallet here.

Thanks for trying it out. Syncing the blockchain for the first time is indeed frustrating, and I’ve been experimenting with ways to speed it up. We’ve discussed some ideas, so stay tuned :slight_smile:


First of all good choice to download the zec-qt wallet, it’s a great one.

It indeed takes a lot of time to download the blockchain. I installed for testing so far twice the ZEC qt wallet and compared to other qt wallets from other currencies i would consider it really fast as it took me way less than a whole day. Have in mind downloading a whole blockchain could take as long as a week with other currency wallets, speaking from experience here.

Soon or late there will be mostly a bootstrap, means you download the whole chain zipped and extract it into the wallet folders to speed up the process. Me personally isn’t a fan of this as i perfer validating the blockchain i download. But of course it is an option for people that are unpatient and/or on week PC’s/Laptops. The bootstrap process indeed speeds up things enourmously, pretty sure it will come soon or late with ZEC as well, my guess at least.

I agree with you that the current QT wallets are not the most user friendliness, but have as well in mind that the ZEC qt wallet is a really good one having in mind user friendliness compared to others i have encountered so far, and as you see the wallet dev is very responsive and doing indeed his best to make it better and better and i have 0 doubts here that more user friendliness features will be released soon.


Thanks to everyone who replied. My questions have been answered.


My knowledge took a leap forward.

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Also new to the wallet. Just wondered if anyone knows if it’s possible, or if anyone has experimented with loading the chain data from an external drive by copying the data folder and using a symlink, (to preserve internal HD space)?

yes, this can be done to qt wallets if you modify the shortcut on the desktop, in case you are talking about a windows OS as i’am not familar with linux.

example how it looks on my end:
F:\givencoinwallet-v1.0.0.5\givencoinwallet_exe_file.exe -datadir=F:\location_of_the_new_data_folder

Explaination and step by step:

  • install QT exe file and run it
  • make a shortcut from the .exe file to the desktop
  • close wallet, no need to sync at this stage.
  • find the data folder on your system, it’s in %appdata% mostly.
  • create a data folder wherever you like, can be an external HDD as well.
  • copy all the content from the original %appdata% folder to your new created folder on the hdd of your choice
  • now go to the shortcut on your desktop you created earlier.
  • hit “properties”
  • within properties go to the “shortcut” menu
  • there you see a line “Target”
  • add this after .exe and leave a free space behind the exe: -datadir=F:\your_folder
    (replace F:\ with your hdd letter and replace “your_folder” with the full path where your new created folder you copied the %appdata% conent over is.
  • Start the wallet with the desktop shortcut only. IF you don’t start it with the desktop icon it WON’T work!!!
  • You are done

Hope this helped you and is what you are looking for. I think there was another way to accomplish the same, but way more difficult, can’t even remember it. This seems to be the only reliable easy way to do it, maybe others have experimented with other ways, but i’am not aware of any other than the more complicated one.

Good luck.

Edit: I have asked and suggested the ZEC wallet dev to include somewhere in future to add the possibility to choose the location of the datafolder allready while doing the whole wallet setup and i’am pretty sure this will be included soon or late. Than by default you have the choice to use an external HDD as the data location. Until than just use the above method.


I’d add that light wallets for mobile are coming soon!


Thanks for the detailed reply. That’s actually pretty helpful for me to understand how it work. I should have mentioned I run mac os, however I still managed to work it out from that:

/Users/yourusername/Library/Application Support/Zcash

there is zcash.conf open with Atom or similar. Just need to add a line datadir=/Volumes/yourvolumename/Zcash to point to the data folder

Seems to be working, but have to agree, having that as an option in the gui would be very helpful


Glad to see it was helpfull and you managed to solve the problem for now until we get the option to choose the data folder location…