Operating a full Bitcoin node has long been considered an altruistic act intended to serve a broader purpose, namely to support the network. What exactly does it mean to support the Bitcoin network with a full node, and why are there also strong and selfish reasons for setting up a node?
1. Only full node owners can be sure they own BTC
Zu Monetary sovereignty also includes submitting BTC’s own ownership to validation. Because anyone who relies on third parties, like wallet providers or even exchanges, ignores the spirit of Bitcoin. “don’t trust, checkOnly BTC full node operators can rule out the associated uncertainties and be sure of their ownership.
Then who? First Class Bitcoin Citizen wants to convert, there is no way around a Bitcoin Full Node.
2. Verify transactions
Point two ties perfectly with point one. Because only those who operate a hub can be sure that the payments received are actually Bitcoin. Full nodes enforce the rules of the BTC network and reject any transaction that violates them.
Anyone who owns Bitcoin implicitly consents to the associated consensus rules – full nodes enforce this consensus.
3. Network statistics
Setting up a Bitcoin hub is also a must for analysts. Because whoever has direct access to the blockchain, and that is exactly the core of the nodes, receives the data from the network first-hand.
Average fees, hash rate, difficulty, mempool size – these are just a small selection of the huge possibilities of scanning the blockchain for relevant data. Anyone who does not operate a full node is therefore dependent on third parties and has no way of verifying the accuracy of the data that has been released.
Satoshi Nakamoto wanted, first and foremost, to create apolitical hard money. As such, the 21 million coin limit is at the core of the BTC protocol. The crux: all network participants must be able to verify compliance with algorithmic monetary policy at any time, and this is not without compromises.
The most prominent example is the loss of privacy of Bitcoin. Because if used completely anonymously, inflation errors could go unnoticed for a long time and thus threaten Bitcoin’s value proposition at its core.
If Bitcoiners still want to achieve a certain level of anonymity, they should think about a full node. Because through centralized wallets like Ledger or Trezor, Bitcoiners reveal all the addresses and the respective BTC assets found in them. Only those who generate BTC addresses themselves using the full nodes can take the first steps towards a more private use of Bitcoin.
5. Full nodes support the network
And yes, reason number 5 is actually altruistic. Because the more nodes that are connected to the Bitcoin network, the more secure it will be. Because as long as “honest” nodes can outvote attackers, Bitcoin is safe.
So if you operate a BTC hub with the aforementioned selfishness, a more robust system is also ensured.
In short: operating a full node is the only way to use Bitcoin without the help of third parties. If you want monetary sovereignty, you must set up a hub.
This article was published in January 2020. It has been revised and updated for reissue.