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By - Craig Mullins

What Is a Bitcoin Full Node?

Are you learning all things bitcoin? Want to know where they come from and how far they can go? Get our bitcoin node explanation here.

The technology behind Bitcoin is relatively new and complex. To those of us who are new to the Bitcoin world, some of the terms we encounter are foreign and confusing.

The network behind Bitcoin is a collection of computers across the globe. They run the Bitcoin Core software used to verify transactions and blocks.

Anyone can operate one of these nodes, making Bitcoin a decentralized system.

If you want to really play the Bitcoin game, you’ll need all the information you can get. Here you’ll find a brief Bitcoin node explanation.

Read up and learn where these nodes come from and what you can do with one.

Bitcoin Full Node
Bitcoin Full Node

Understanding the Bitcoin Network

To understand Bitcoin nodes, you’ll need to know how the Bitcoin network functions. Bitcoin operates as a peer-to-peer (P2P) network.

Each computer that operates the Bitcoin Core software is considered a node. There is no centralized node without which the network cannot operate.

This is similar to the pioneering vision of the internet.

These nodes allow Bitcoin to remain decentralized. It also keeps the network secure. The network uses randomly selected nodes to reduce double spending.

This is a common problem in the Bitcoin network when people attempt to spend the same digital coin twice.

To operate, the Bitcoin network needs a good number of fully functioning nodes.

What’s a Full Node?

Bitcoin full nodes are needed for the Bitcoin network to operate. A full node contains all information from the blockchain database. They contain all network capabilities available to Bitcoin.

These special nodes can verify any transactions without external reference. The node must stay up-to-date.

It constantly receives updates from the network concerning recent additions to the blockchain.

The full node then must verify the transaction and include it on its local copy of the blockchain.

The Bitcoin node often acts as a client. If you run a Bitcoin node, it acts as your personal interface with the overall Bitcoin network.

This gives you the ability to exchange money across short or long distances safely. This is what gives the Bitcoin network the strength you might hear about.

Why Run a Bitcoin Node?

So why run a full node? There are a few good reasons.

If you find yourself interested in Bitcoin, you may truly believe in its future. The more people who participate in the network the better.

Many governments and investors are wary of the future of Bitcoin. As the network grows, authoritative regimes have less leverage against the network.

Running a node is a good choice if you plan to make a lot of transactions. The node will keep your transactions secure and verified. You won’t have to rely on banks to hold and transfer your money.

This is the biggest benefit of a decentralized monetary system.

If you don’t operate a node, you rely on someone else who is. Running a node brings the power of managing your own money into your own hands.

Imagine how empowering that can be.

When you operate a node, you join the network. You won’t just own the Bitcoins. You’ll be a part of Bitcoin.

Set Up Your Own Node

Anyone with enough computing power can run a full Bitcoin node. Before you can do so, you’ll need to make sure your processor can handle it.

You’ll need about 145 gigabytes of free disk space. It should be accessible at a minimum speed of 100 MB/second.

Your Internet connection should have an upload speed of 50 kilobytes. Your computer should have 2 or more gigabytes of RAM.

Beyond that, you should be able to run a full node at least 6 hours a day. This could use a lot of electricity and Internet connection.

Setting up a full node won’t happen in an afternoon. Some of the less expensive methods are time consuming and technical.

You’ll need some intimate knowledge of technology.

Some methods are easier but will cost you more. Players in the industry will continue to work on the technology. In the future, it may be easier and cheaper to set up a node.

For now, you’ll have limited options.

You can set up a node on your own computer, Raspberry Pi, or another machine. Whichever device you choose should have the computing power necessary.

You can also set up a node using a cloud hosting service. Both options will require you to do some labor to set up the node.

You can also buy a node-in-a-box. This sets up the node automatically. Think of this option as a plug-and-play device.

This is by far the easiest option. If you’re not very tech-savvy, this might be your route. However, it can be a bit expensive.

Dedication

Running a full Bitcoin node requires you to dedicate some time and money. You’ll need to invest in the technology needed.

You’ll also need to devote a great deal of your available bandwidth to operating the node.

Many members of the community are turning away from operating full nodes. This may lead to larger tech companies taking over this responsibility.

Already, there are plans to send small satellites into space. These satellites would act as Bitcoin nodes.

However, this could put the decentralized nature of Bitcoin at risk. If more people operate a node, it’s easier to keep the network decentralized.

If you truly believe in the future of Bitcoin, you might be interested in running a Bitcoin node.

Get Started With Your Nodes

The Bitcoin market may be heating up once again. After a recent dip, it’s bound to make a gradual recovery.

However, you don’t have to waste money on gambling. You can instead become a working member of the bitcoin network.

You can take the future of money into your own hands when you operate a full Bitcoin node.

There is a lot to learn before you can really get started in the Bitcoin game. To learn more about Bitcoin, check out our section on the topic.

If you have the dedication, you may have what it takes to be successful.