Full Bitcoin nodes: what they are and how to install one of them

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What is a full Bitcoin node

The Bitcoin network is a collection of computers distributed around the world in which Bitcoin Core software is installed, designed to verify transactions and blocks.
It is the distribution of these nodes or “nodes” (the term by which a computer connected to the network is called), and the fact that anyone can install it at home makes Bitcoin “decentralized”.
This means that any user anywhere in the world can configure the Bitcoin node if he has access to a computer with sufficient power and an Internet connection. And if at least one node works, Bitcoin is alive. Most nodes also act as Bitcoin clients, which allows their owners to send transactions to the network. This means that the node acts as your personal interface for interacting with the Bitcoin network as a whole.
Starting a node gives you confidence that your Bitcoin transactions will be confirmed and sent to the person to whom they are intended.

Why should I run a full node

There are various reasons for installing it.

  • Do you believe in Bitcoin and want the network to grow and flourish. Each node added to the network brings us closer to the future, where all transactions will be carried out on the Bitcoin network, and no government or other third-party organizations can do anything to stop this.
  • You intend to use the Bitcoin network to conduct a large number of transactions and want your transactions to receive confirmation faster. Bitcoin’s idea is to remove the principle of trust from the monetary system: you do not need to trust the bank to store or send money. But as long as you don’t have your own node, you still have to trust someone who manages the node to get timely confirmation of the transaction. Taking your financial life into your own hands, you will significantly expand your rights and opportunities.
  • You will be able to announce to all your friends that now you not only have a certain amount of bitcoins, but you are Bitcoin … at least partially.

How to set a full node

At the moment, there are 3 ways to configure your own Bitcoin node, from quite technically complex and time-consuming to very simple, but more expensive.
As the development and mass introduction of Bitcoin technology continues, this process will only become easier and cheaper.

 If you want to set aside all secondary tasks and go straight to the action, you can do this in one of the following ways

  • Installing nodes on your own computer (Raspberry Pi or any other machine with the necessary equipment).
  • Or setting up a node in the cloud using the services of a hosting provider, such as Amazon Web Services, Digital Ocean, as well as any other providers.
  • Or buying a stand-alone device like “node in a box”, which will automatically configure the node (scroll down the page to find out about this parameter).

Choose equipment

The node must be installed on a computer that meets the following minimum requirements for the technical specifications of the equipment.

  • The latest version of the operating system MacOS, Linux or Windows.
  • 145 GB of free disk space.
  • 2 GB of RAM.
  • High speed Internet connection (at least 50 Kb / s).
  • Unlimited or very high data upload / download limit

If you decide to use the cloud and install the node on a virtual server, make sure that the equipment you rent supports the same specifications.
The cheapest option we found is Scaleway, where you can get a powerful enough machine to run a node for about $ 8 per month.

For this you must

  • Subscribe to the C1 tariff (the most budget option).
  • Add 3 sections of 50 GB each, so that you definitely have enough memory for the entire Bitcoin blockchain.

There are many other providers that can work with nodes, so use the one you like best.
Popular options are Digital Ocean and Amazon Web Services, but they cost a bit more.

 Note: pay attention to the limits for bandwidth or data volume in the selected cloud solution, as many providers limit the speed of the connection after a certain point.

Run the settings

If you plan to run your site on a local computer, you can choose to use the Bitcoin Core software as a standard application (with a GUI or graphical user interface) or through the command line as a background process.
If you work in the cloud, most likely you will have to use the command line.

Want to use the program with a GUI
You prefer graphical interfaces. Perfectly!

Here is what you need to do

  • Download the latest version of the GUI for Bitcoin Core from the bitcoin.org download page for the selected operating system.
  • Run the program, after which you will see a prompt asking you to choose a directory for storing blockchain data. If you don’t have any particular preferences, check the “Use the default directory” box and click “OK”.
  • At this point, on Windows computers, you may receive a firewall window asking you to allow Internet access for Bitcoin Core. Check all checkboxes and provide the necessary permissions.
  • The program should start downloading the blockchain. It will take from 12 hours to several days, depending on the speed and bandwidth of your Internet. Wait until the end, and now you are officially the operator of the full Bitcoin node! See the “Network Configuration” section to provide your node with the access it needs for normal operation.

Do you want to use the command line
So, do you like to stare at the terminal or want to run Bitcoin Core in the background? Wonderful!

Do like this

  • To simplify this process, the earn.com team (previously 21.co) has created an easy-to-use script that allows you to easily install a node through the command line!
  • Open a command prompt (Windows) or terminal (macOS and Linux) and paste the following command:
  • Curl https://bitnodes.earn.com/install-full-node.sh | Sh
  • Press Enter and you will see a welcome message (something like this):

Network configuration

Regardless of whether you configure the node using the standard graphics program or through the command line, you will need to configure the network so that the node can accurately receive information from the Bitcoin network and send it back.

 Two tasks need to be completed

  • Reserving a static IP address for a computer.
  • Configure port forwarding.

Instead of describing the whole process, we will let the wonderful people from bitcoin.org take care of this for us.
Check out the official guide with step-by-step instructions for gaining access to the router and setting it up for the node to function properly.
If you installed the site in the cloud, this process can vary greatly depending on the service provider.
To get help, contact the support service of your particular provider or look for information on SuperUser (a question and answer site for these kinds of things).

This is by far the easiest way to configure a complete node. A simple plug-in unit that you can connect to an Internet router like a cable box.

This allows you to start a dedicated node without installing anything on your or any other computer. However, you still need to follow the network setup steps described above!
It seems that the only project currently available is Bitseed.
Currently, Bitseed is quite expensive – about $ 360 – but, according to the data from the reviews, it works exactly as the advertisement says and greatly simplifies the matter.
In the near future, they will inevitably have competitors, so stay tuned for how this industry is developing.

Profit

After starting the software, the blockchain is fully synchronized, and if your network settings are correct, everything will be ready!
You are officially a full member of the Bitcoin network. Welcome to the future of finance.

Completion

  • Bitcoin is powered by nodes.
  • More nodes \u003d stronger Bitcoin.
  • You must definitely run the node. Or even two.

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