Even though most bitcoin users focus on the most prominent bitcoin node implementations known to date, there are quite a few alternative solutions out there as well. All of these different implementations provide something that can be valuable to the right individuals or companies. Although these alternative node implementations are not necessarily consumer-oriented, they should not be dismissed so easily either.
One of the many alternative bitcoin implementations goes by the name of Bitcore. The project positions itself as a powerful modular node for bitcoin and blockchain-based applications. This could be quite an intriguing alternative for wallet application developers, as Bitcore implements some additional features such as additional indexes for querying address balances, unspent outputs, and the transaction history.
As one would expect, Bitcore is 100% open source and can be modified by anyone with the necessary knowledge. Some of the companies using the Bitcore implementation are Bloq, Counterparty, Streamium, Bitpay, and TREZOR. A modular service-based architecture is quite appealing after all, especially for anyone involved in enterprise bitcoin applications and services.
The Btcd full node implementation has been under active development since October of 2013. Similarly to Bitcoin Core, it downloads, validates, and serves the bitcoin blockchain under the same ruleset as Core. Moreover, Btcd properly relays new blocks of the network. In every possible way, Btcd is a mirror image of Bitcoin Core, with one major difference that should not be overlooked.
Btcd does not offer any wallet functionality, which is an intended design decision. It is impossible to receive and send bitcoin through this full node implementation. That is not necessarily a downside, though, as not everyone runs a full node just to serve as a bitcoin wallet. Btcd is an option well worth considering for those who want to contribute to the network without worrying about the wallet functionality of the node itself.
This particular alternative full node implementation has gotten some attention over the past few months. Bcoin is designed to extend bitcoin into the enterprise sector. It is worth noting Bcoin is useful to miners, wallets and exchanges alike. Moreover, its creators focus on reducing code complexity and building a scalable infrastructure which consumers all over the world can enjoy.
Similarly to the other two alternatives mentioned above, Bcoin adheres to the standards implemented by Bitcoin Core.However, its main focus is production systems at scale. This project was originally intended to serve as a backend for Purse.io, yet it has now been embraced by service providers such as Bitwala and BTC.com as well. With robust wallet APIs and built-in accounting tools, Bcoin offers quite a bit more functionality compared to Bitcoin Core.
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