A Bitcoin full node is an invaluable part of the Bitcoin network, but many people aren’t clear on what these full nodes do, or why they’re so important to Bitcoin. A Bitcoin full node runs in the same way as any other cryptocurrency full node, they keep copies of the entire blockchain and help validate transactions on the network. However, unlike mining, there aren’t direct financial incentives for running a full Bitcoin node, as all of its functionality comes at no cost to users.
What is a Full Node?
When someone mentions a full node in regard to Bitcoin, they’re referring to a complete copy of all blockchain data that helps validate and relay transactions across a P2P network. The data is stored in a file called a block index, which is only 20GB as of May 2018. However, running a full node also means downloading all historical blocks (180GB at the time of writing), storing them, and updating them with new blocks as they are found. This can take up quite a bit of space, depending on your bandwidth and hard drive speed. But there’s good news: you don’t need to download 180GB worth of blockchain data if you don’t want to! Instead, most people run a lightweight Bitcoin client known as an SPV client—which stands for Simplified Payment Verification—which does not store 100% of their own personal blockchain.
Why should you run one yourself?
Running a full node is one of many ways to support Bitcoin and its decentralization. For example, miners are incentivized to help process transactions and receive block rewards (currently 12.5 BTC) in return. However, those who run nodes aren’t awarded any such incentives; they’re just running them out of support for decentralization, which is important for upholding democratic principles. These people are called non-mining nodes or simply full nodes.
Let’s take a look at some of their most important features that make it worth your while to run one and how you can get started right away! We’ll start by explaining what Bitcoin is, go over why full nodes matter, then introduce you to some services that can set up a ready-to-use full node for you. Next, we’ll go over what separates these services from traditional hosting providers, as well as the advantages and disadvantages involved with running one yourself.
How to set up your own full node?
Setting up a full node isn’t complicated or risky. If you want to know exactly how to set one up for yourself, we’ve prepared a step-by-step guide just for that. Please make sure you have at least 64 GB of disk space available and can commit at least several gigabytes of bandwidth every month before continuing. Also, please note that it might take quite some time until your first block has been found, so don’t be discouraged if nothing happens right away. There are many ways to support the further development of Bitcoin, from running a full node to even mining, whatever is easiest for you. Many believe that widespread adoption of these options would lead to greater decentralization and thus improved network security overall, which is crucial given recent attacks on exchanges like Mt Gox and others.
Why Is It Important To Run A Bitcoin Node?
I see many people talk about how important it is to run a bitcoin node, but I never hear a detailed explanation for why that is. I thought it would be interesting for everyone here if someone could explain why running your own bitcoin node is so important. Of course, we all know and love Satoshi’s vision of decentralization, but more details are often elusive when pressed on the importance of running a full node. Please share any other reasons you have heard or experienced firsthand in running your own full nodes! Never trust data or code you did not 100% create yourself. This means always verifying everything you read (including what you read here). Use multiple sources and check their reputation with your peers. Think for yourself, question authority.
In short, running a Bitcoin full node is essential for network security, stability and decentralization. There are no direct financial incentives, but you’ll be doing your part to support a new technology that could very well revolutionize our financial system. Even if you don’t plan on being an active user of cryptocurrencies in 2017 and beyond, there’s still good reason to take a leap of faith into full-node operation. In fact, if you haven’t already done so it might be time to run a Bitcoin node. The future of cryptocurrency depends on it.