The Bitcoin network is only as strong as the number of miners and nodes supporting the protocol. At this time, there is no shortage of mining power pointed at the Bitcoin network, but the number of nodes remains fairly low in comparison. Some people feel more nodes would be active on the network if there were some reward for doing so. But isn’t being part of Bitcoin itself the biggest reward one can get for running a Bitcoin Node?
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Bitcoin Node Incentives Is A Touchy Subject
In the perfect world, Bitcoin nodes could end up receiving a reward similar to the small amounts of funds collected by Bitcoin miners for adding transactions to the next block on the network. However, the technology was never designed to operate in that regard, as running a network node is entirely voluntary and not subject to incentives.
Certain people might feel this form of distributing the transaction fees is not fair, as Bitcoin nodes are an integral part of the ecosystem. Without nodes to broadcast transactions and keep copies of the blockchain synchronized with the network at all times, the entire Bitcoin ecosystem would be far less secure than it is right now.
Running a Bitcoin node is not mandatory by any means, as it remains up to the individual user to do so, or not. As we covered in a previous article, running such a full network node consumes a fair bit of bandwidth per month, indicating some form of reward would only be just. At the same time, the question is where this reward will be coming from to begin with.
There are other reasons why Bitcoin node owners are not getting an incentive to do so as well. First of all, running a Bitcoin Node does not require dedicated hardware, and there is no proof-of-work involved in the process. Being a bitcoin node means running the Bitcoin wallet on a 24/7 basis with connections to other nodes in the network.
Furthermore, creating incentives for Bitcoin node owners would open up the system to cheating and spoofing. Users would be able to run a pseudo-node, which would reap the incentives without being a proper part of the network. This is why proof-of-work requirements are a better solution, as those who do not put in the work, will not be rewarded.
In the end, the biggest reward a user can get is being an active part of the Bitcoin network. Unlike traditional finance, every Bitcoin user is an integral part of the ecosystem and makes transactions possible all over the world. Even those who are not running a full Bitcoin node are of great importance, simply for running the wallet or being involved in the concept of Bitcoin altogether.
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