Bisq: The P2P Exchange Network

From Whonix



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:


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 onion-grater Whitelist

On Whonix-Gateway ™.

Create a new directory. [6]

sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/etc/onion-grater-merger.d/

Symlink the onion-grater profile to the onion-grater settings folder.

sudo ln -s /usr/share/doc/onion-grater-merger/examples/40_bisq.yml /usr/local/etc/onion-grater-merger.d/

Restart onion-grater.

sudo service onion-grater restart

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 ™ AppVM. Make sure folder /rw/config/whonix_firewall.d exists.

sudo mkdir -p /rw/config/whonix_firewall.d

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

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

Start MenuApplicationsSettingsUser Firewall Settings

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

Open /rw/config/whonix_firewall.d/50_user.conf with root rights.

sudoedit /rw/config/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 Whonix is updated, this
## file may be overwritten.

See also 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-15Whonix 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 ™ AppVM (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 ™.

1. Download.


2. Check fingerprint.

gpg --show-key --with-fingerprint 29CDFD3B.asc

Should show the following.

pub   rsa4096/0xCD5DC1C529CDFD3B 2017-07-27 [SC] [expires: 2021-07-27]
      Key fingerprint = CB36 D7D2 EBB2 E35D 9B75  500B CD5D C1C5 29CD FD3B
uid                              Christoph Atteneder <>
sub   rsa4096/0x1E0B7BDFA4D6EC0A 2017-07-27 [E] [expires: 2021-07-27]

3. Import signing key.

gpg --import 29CDFD3B.asc

Should show the following.

gpg: keybox '/home/user/.gnupg/pubring.kbx' created
gpg: /home/user/.gnupg/trustdb.gpg: trustdb created

gpg: key 0xCD5DC1C529CDFD3B: public key "Christoph Atteneder <>" imported
gpg: Total number processed: 1
gpg:               imported: 1


On Whonix-Workstation ™.

Check the latest version number and read the release notes here [archive].

Download bisq.


Download OpenPGP signature.



On Whonix-Workstation ™.

Verify OpenPGP signature.

gpg --verify Bisq*.asc

Should show.

gpg: assuming signed data in 'Bisq-64bit-1.3.4.deb'
gpg: Signature made Thu 30 Apr 2020 12:22:37 PM UTC
gpg:                using RSA key CB36D7D2EBB2E35D9B75500BCD5DC1C529CDFD3B
gpg:                issuer ""
gpg: Good signature from "Christoph Atteneder <>" [unknown]
gpg: WARNING: This key is not certified with a trusted signature!
gpg:          There is no indication that the signature belongs to the owner.
Primary key fingerprint: CB36 D7D2 EBB2 E35D 9B75  500B CD5D C1C5 29CD FD3B

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


On Whonix-Workstation ™.

Install Bisq.

sudo dpkg -i Bisq*.deb


On Whonix-Workstation ™.

Start Bisq.

/opt/Bisq/Bisq --torControlPort=9051 --torControlPassword=notrequired --socks5ProxyBtcAddress= --useTorForBtc=true --daoActivated=false

Figure: Bisq Launch in Whonix ™


Figure: Bisq Client [8]


If you would like to use the DAO [archive], you could drop --daoActivated=false. If you are unfamiliar with DAO, refer to the prior reference before deciding whether it is necessary in your circumstances. When DAO is activated, Bisq will consume a lot more resources, and you will probably need to increase VCPUs/RAM.

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

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

Refer to the official Bisq documentation [archive] 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 Network [archive]


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

Donate Bitcoin (BTC) to Whonix ™.



  1. [archive]
  2. [archive]
  3. [archive]
  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 ™ with an onion-grater whitelist extension, this will limit 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.
    • During the application's normal operations it should not attempt to use dangerous Tor control commands such as GETINFO address. In the event the application or Whonix-Workstation ™ are compromised, this command would be rejected.
    • 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. Using /usr/local/etc/onion-grater-merger.d/ because that onion-grater settings folder is persistent in Qubes-Whonix ™ TemplateBased ProxyVMs i.e. Whonix-Gateway ™ (commonly called sys-whonix). Non-Qubes-Whonix ™ users could also utilize /etc/onion-grater-merger.d/. Qubes-Whonix ™ users could also utilize /etc/onion-grater-merger.d/ but then /etc/onion-grater-merger.d/ must be made persistent, which means doing this procedure inside the Whonix-Gateway ™ TemplateVM (commonly called whonix-gw-15) and then restarting the Whonix-Gateway ™ ProxyVM or using bind-dirs [archive]. Both techniques are more complicated than simply using /usr/local/etc/onion-grater-merger.d/, since it is persistent either way. Further, it even allows multiple Whonix-Gateway ™ ProxyVMs based on the same Whonix-Gateway ™ TemplateVM; for example, one Whonix-Gateway ™ ProxyVM extending and relaxing onion-grater's whitelist and the other Whonix-Gateway ™ ProxyVM having the default onion-grater whitelist which is more restrictive.
  7. [archive]
  8. [archive]
  9. It is the same as above but prepended with GDK_SCALE=2. [archive]

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