Bisq: The P2P Exchange Network

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Bisq Logo


Bisq is an open-source, peer-to-peer (P2P) application that went into production on 19 April, 2016. Bisq is designed to allow for a safe, private and decentralized method of exchanging national currencies for cryptocurrencies. Primary features include: [1] [2] [3]

  • no registration is required - identity theft is impossible
  • fully decentralized and censorship resistant design:
    • multi-signature escrow transactions without a third party
    • security deposits encourage safe, successful trades [4]
    • resolution of disputes with a decentralized arbitration system
  • protection of user privacy via a custom P2P network of users running Bisq over Tor
  • no data is stored regarding who trades with whom -- end-to-end data encryption ensures trade details are only readable by counterparties
  • no approval wait times
  • resistant against spam or flooding
  • a cross-platform desktop application is available for Linux, macOS and Windows
  • the project is funded directly by its users through trading fees and donations

Bisq holds a lot of promise, since it eliminates the risk associated with theft of funds from centralized exchanges, removes the threat of interference with trades from third parties, and separates users' personal information from associated transactions. To learn more, refer to:


warning Warning: Instructions might be broken due to Bisq upstream changes.

A contributor developer is required to fix these instructions.

Development discussion:

Ambox notice.png This application requires incoming connections through a Tor onion service. Supported Whonix-Gateway ™ modifications are therefore necessary for full functionality; see instructions below.

For better security, consider using Multiple Whonix-Gateway ™ and Multiple Whonix-Workstation ™. In any case, Whonix ™ is the safest choice for running it. [5]

Whonix-Gateway ™ Installation Steps[edit]

onion-grater Profile[edit]

On Whonix-Gateway ™.

Extend the onion-grater whitelist in Whonix-Gateway ™ (sys-whonix).

On Whonix-Gateway ™.

Add onion-grater profile.

sudo onion-grater-add 40_bisq

Whonix-Workstation ™ Installation Steps[edit]

Firewall Settings[edit]

Modify the Whonix-Workstation ™ (anon-whonix) user firewall settings and reload them.

Modify Whonix-Workstation ™ User Firewall Settings

Note: If no changes have yet been made to Whonix ™ Firewall Settings, then the Whonix ™ User Firewall Settings File /etc/whonix_firewall.d/50_user.conf appears empty (because it does not exist). This is expected.

If using Qubes-Whonix ™, complete these steps.
In Whonix-Workstation ™ App Qube. Make sure folder /usr/local/etc/whonix_firewall.d exists.

sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/etc/whonix_firewall.d

Qubes App Launcher (blue/grey "Q")Whonix-Workstation ™ App Qube (commonly called anon-whonix)Whonix ™ User Firewall Settings

If using a graphical Whonix-Workstation ™, complete these steps.

Start MenuApplicationsSystemUser Firewall Settings

If using a terminal-only Whonix-Workstation ™, complete these steps.

Open file /usr/local/etc/whonix_firewall.d/50_user.conf with root rights.

sudoedit /usr/local/etc/whonix_firewall.d/50_user.conf

For more help, press on Expand on the right.

Note: This is for informational purposes only! Do not edit /etc/whonix_firewall.d/30_whonix_workstation_default.conf.

The Whonix ™ Global Firewall Settings File /etc/whonix_firewall.d/30_whonix_workstation_default.conf contains default settings and explanatory comments about their purpose. By default, the file is opened read-only and is not meant to be directly edited. Below, it is recommended to open the file without root rights. The file contains an explanatory comment on how to change firewall settings.

## Please use "/etc/whonix_firewall.d/50_user.conf" for your custom configuration,
## which will override the defaults found here. When {{project_name_long}} is updated, this
## file may be overwritten.

Also see: Whonix modular flexible .d style configuration folders.

To view the file, follow these instructions.

If using Qubes-Whonix ™, complete these steps.

Qubes App Launcher (blue/grey "Q")Template: whonix-ws-16Whonix Global Firewall Settings

If using a graphical Whonix-Workstation ™, complete these steps.

Start MenuApplicationsSettingsGlobal Firewall Settings

If using a terminal-only Whonix-Workstation ™, complete these steps.

In Whonix-Workstation ™, open the whonix_firewall configuration file in an editor. nano /etc/whonix_firewall.d/30_whonix_workstation_default.conf

Add. TODO: EXTERNAL_OPEN_ALL=true is non-ideal.



Reload Whonix-Workstation ™ Firewall.

If you are using Qubes-Whonix ™, complete the following steps.

Qubes App Launcher (blue/grey "Q")Whonix-Workstation ™ App Qube (commonly named anon-whonix)Reload Whonix ™ Firewall

If you are using a graphical Whonix-Workstation ™, complete the following steps.

Start MenuApplicationsSystemReload Whonix ™ Firewall

If you are using a terminal-only Whonix-Workstation ™, run. sudo whonix_firewall

Get the Signing Key[edit]

On Whonix-Workstation ™.

notice Digital signatures can increase security but this requires knowledge. Learn more about digital software signature verification.

Securely download the signing key.


Display the key's fingerprint.

gpg --keyid-format long --import --import-options show-only --with-fingerprint 29CDFD3B.asc

Verify the fingerprint. It should show.

Key fingerprint = CB36 D7D2 EBB2 E35D 9B75 500B CD5D C1C5 29CD FD3B

The most important check is confirming the key fingerprint exactly matches the output above. [6]

warning Warning:

Do not continue if the fingerprint does not match! This risks using infected or erroneous files! The whole point of verification is to confirm file integrity.

Add the signing key.

gpg --import 29CDFD3B.asc


On Whonix-Workstation ™.

Check the latest version number and read the release notes

Download bisq.


Download OpenPGP signature.



On Whonix-Workstation ™.

Verify OpenPGP signature.

gpg --verify Bisq*.asc

If the file is verified successfully, the output will include Good signature, which is the most important thing to check.

gpg: WARNING: This key is not certified with a trusted signature!
gpg:          There is no indication that the signature belongs to the owner.

This message does not alter the validity of the signature related to the downloaded key. Rather, this warning refers to the level of trust placed in the Whonix ™ signing key and the web of trust. To remove this warning, the Whonix ™ signing key must be personally signed with your own key.

Tor over Tor Prevention[edit]

On Whonix-Workstation ™.

Follow these steps to avoid a Tor over Tor scenario.

Create folder /home/user/.local/share/Bisq/btc_mainnet/tor/.

mkdir -p /home/user/.local/share/Bisq/btc_mainnet/tor/

Create a dummy Tor binary /home/user/.local/share/Bisq/btc_mainnet/tor/tor.

sudo touch /home/user/.local/share/Bisq/btc_mainnet/tor/tor

xdg-desktop-menu Bug Workaround[edit]

On Whonix-Workstation ™.

Use the following workaround to avoid a known bug in xdg which fails to find a writable system menu directory. [7]

sudo mkdir -p /usr/share/desktop-directories


For Qubes-Whonix ™ you need create binding dirs in VM:

sudo mkdir -p /rw/bind-dirs/opt/bisq sudo mkdir -p /rw/bind-dirs/usr/share/desktop-directories sudo mkdir -p /rw/config/qubes-bind-dirs.d

Then create the configuration file:

sudo nano /rw/config/qubes-bind-dirs.d/50_user.conf

And specify which system folders are mapped to binding dirs — write there two lines and save:

binds+=( '/opt/bisq' ) binds+=( '/usr/share/desktop-directories' )

Restart the qube to apply the binding dir settings.

On Whonix-Workstation ™.

Install Bisq.

sudo dpkg -i Bisq*.deb


On Whonix-Workstation ™.

Start Bisq.

/opt/bisq/bin/Bisq --torControlPort=9051 --torControlPassword=notrequired --socks5ProxyBtcAddress= --useTorForBtc=true

Figure: Bisq Launch in Whonix ™


Figure: Bisq Client [8]


After version 1.9.8, the use of DAO became mandatory for everyone and the line --daoActivated=false now gives an error.

If the fonts are too small, you could alternatively use the following command. [9]

GDK_SCALE=2 /opt/bisq/bin/Bisq --torControlPort=9051 --torControlPassword=notrequired --socks5ProxyBtcAddress= --useTorForBtc=true --daoActivated=false

Refer to the official Bisq to learn about trading essentials, including:

  • an introduction to Bisq
  • quick start guide to trading in minutes
  • wallet information and security
  • backup and recovery
  • how to stay private
  • trading rules and dispute resolution
  • fees and security deposits
  • payments methods

Forum Discussion[edit]

Bisq - The P2P Exchange


After installing Bisq, please consider making a donation to Whonix ™ to keep it running for years to come.

Bitcoin accepted here Donate Bitcoin (BTC) to Whonix ™.


Whonix donate bitcoin.png


  4. A current limit of at most 1 Bitcoin per transaction applies.
  5. Security considerations:
    • By using Whonix ™, additional protections are in place for greater security.
    • This application requires access to Tor's control protocol.
    • In the Whonix ™ context, Tor's control protocol has dangerous features. The Tor control command GETINFO address reveals the real, external IP of the Tor client.
    • Whonix ™ provides onion-grater, a Tor Control Port Filter Proxy - filtering dangerous Tor Control Port commands.
    • When this application is run inside Whonix-Gateway ™ with an onion-grater whitelist extension, this will limit Whonix-Workstation ™ application rights to Tor control protocol access only. Non-whitelisted Tor control commands such as GETINFO address are rejected by onion-grater in these circumstances. In the event Whonix-Workstation ™, it can't determine its own IP address via requesting to Tor Controller, as onion-grater filters the reply.
    • In comparison, if the application is run on a non-Tor focused operating system like Debian, it will have unlimited access to Tor's control protocol (a less secure configuration).
    • If the (non-)Whonix platform is used to host onion services, then running applications are more vulnerable to attacks against the Tor network compared to when Tor is solely used as a client; see also Onion Services Security.
    In conclusion, Whonix ™ is the safest and correct choice for running this application.
  6. Minor changes in the output such as new uids (email addresses) or newer expiration dates are inconsequential.
  9. It is the same as above but prepended with GDK_SCALE=2.