Bitcoin Full Node

BENEFITS USING A FULL NODE


Bitcoin Full Node

A full node is a software program that anyone download and run to interact with the global Bitcoin network. The client called Bitcoin Core is the most popular implementation but there are others available.

Using a Bitcoin full node is the equivalent of being your own self-soverign central bank. It's the only way to fully benefit from using Bitcoin. If you aren't using a full node yourself, there is a certain level of trust you must place into the company being used whenever you transact with their wallet.


Benefits

  • Validates all the rules of Bitcoin - A full node ensures you are actually receiving the bitcoin you think you are. Not running a full node means you are outsourcing the truth from an external source. It's better to use the source of truth directly.

  • Increases privacy - If you don't use a full node your transactions need to be broadcasted by a third party meaning they could track transactions. A full node broadcasts transactions directly to the Bitcoin network.

  • It helps the network - Running a full node increases network decentralization which increases the security of the network as a whole. In addition, if you open port 8333, others will be able to download blockchain data from you.

  • Your voice - In the event of a hard fork, running a full node is the only sure way to know which network consensus rules you are following.


Cons

  • May take +1 days to sync the blockchain from scratch depending on your hardware specs.

  • Wallet's send function isn't fully functional until the blockchain is fully synced.

  • Must run online 24/7 to continuously sync new blockchain data or it will need to catch up once back online.

  • The blockchain uses +321 GB of hard drive space (as of Jun 19/2020) and grows roughly every 10 minutes.

  • The Bitcoin Core wallet backup options are limited to a digital backup file or individual private keys. There is no seedp hrase backup option.



  • Note: You can enable pruned mode to reduce the disk space required to as little as 2 GB.
Requirements

  1. +321 GB (as of Jun 19/2020) of hard drive space for the standard full node or +10 GB for a pruned node.
  2. 2 GB of RAM or more.
  3. Internet plan that can accommodate the initial +321 GB (as of Jun19/2020) download of the entire blockchain and the +20 GB sync per month.

    Note: If you open port 8333 your internet plan must accomodate the upload bandwidth used by others downloading data from your full node.
Methods of Using a Full Node

Let's go over the 3 ways you can utilize a full node:

  • Download the bitcoin core software and use the built in wallet to transact.

  • Use a wallet that supports connecting your full node to the wallet. You'll need to have Bitcoin Core installed and synced.

  • Use a wallet that auto-connects to someone else's node. This is convenient but the least desirable as it requires more trust in the company.

How to Run a Full Node

Running a full node is easy and can be done on any computer:

  1. Download and install the Bitcoin Core software.
    Note: You can download a full node on Android here.
  2. Open the program and let it sync the blockchain
    Note: It may take a few hours or up to a day to sync and the wallet isn't usable until it's fully synced.

    Optional: Port forward 8333 on your firewall if you want to help update other full nodes on the network. (Requires internet plan with high upload cap)
“Bitcoin is the beginning of something great: a currency without a government, something necessary and imperative.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb - Author of The Black Swan, Antifragile[..] and Skin in the Game