Most people already know that Bitcoin was designed to be a decentralized, peer-to-peer (P2P) network. Because of this, maintaining its infrastructure requires a lot more than processing transactions via digital currency mining. Bitcoin nodes are an important aspect of the network, and anyone can run one.
For those who do not know, the network must broadcast messages in order to function, and it does so by using nodes. In fact, nodes are involved in the first step of any transaction, ultimately resulting in a confirmation. Nodes also help the network remain secure at all times. With this in mind, when a transaction is made, the network uses a few randomly-picked nodes, thus eliminating the potential for double spending. To make things simple, the more nodes the network has, the more secure it will be.
So, why run your own Bitcoin node?
1. It truly helps the network
Running a Bitcoin node means playing your part in making sure that all rules of the Bitcoin protocol are being followed. That’s because nodes work by rejecting transactions and blocks that do not follow the rules of the network. The Bitcoin Wiki states:
Full nodes enforce the consensus rules no matter what. However, lightweight nodes do not do this. Lightweight nodes do whatever the majority of mining power says. Therefore, if most of the miners got together to increase their block reward, for example, lightweight nodes would blindly go along with it.
2. You get to state your opinion
As forks get more and more common, running a full node is the only way to officially state that you are a fan of the old network, or that you would like to shift towards a new one. Not running a node means that your opinion as a Bitcoin user will not be taken into consideration.
3. It provides better anonymity
While Bitcoin isn’t and cannot be fully anonymous, running a node does grant users more privacy. Upon making a transaction, you will no longer have to rely on third-party services to broadcast transaction details. Rather, your node will do all the work, and other nodes will not know which addresses you own.
4. It’s not expensive
Many people choose not to run full Bitcoin nodes as they think it’s either expensive or time-consuming. While running a node does require you to keep your computer or virtual server online at all times, the costs of doing so are quite low. Essentially, having an average computer with 125GB of free space, 2 GB of RAM and a decent, unmetered internet connection is all you need.
For a short technical guide on how to set up your bitcoin node check out this article. Based on everything that has been outlined here, are you considering the idea of running your very own Bitcoin node? Let us know in the comment section.