Bitcoin nodes are one of the most important pieces in the bitcoin ecosystem. Every computer, smartphone or tablet that connect to the bitcoin network is a node. As you can see on the image to the left, a dot represent the computer that is connected to the network. The lines represent the connectivity between every piece of equipment in the topology. On the bitcoin network, two types of nodes exist lightweight node and full node.
Lightweight nodes: You don't need to download the entire bitcoin blockchain to participate in the network. For example, you use the wallet from your smartphone to buy a good book on OpenBazarr. You connect to a full node and transmit the transaction of your purchase.
Full nodes: You download and maintain a complete bitcoin blockchain into your computer. In order word, you have every transaction recorded since the beginning of the genesis block.
The bitcoin ecosystem needs to have in place many full nodes for his own survival. You can see it as the same way as a prehistoric man looking for food. You can know in real time how much full nodes are in action on the bitcoin ecosystem. You can log on the website bitnodes.
When I took a look on the bitnodes site, I saw that they were 5596 full nodes connected to the bitcoin network. What I find interesting, you can see that most of the concentration of full nodes are in North America and Europe. I would like one day to see the same repartition on every continent of the planet. Furthermore, you can clearly see that the developed country contributes to the backbone of the bitcoin network.
Instead of only using the network for sending and receiving your precious bitcoins, why not contribute to running a full node on your computer. You can run a full node on the major operating system like Windows, Mac, and Linux. You need to be aware that you need enough space to store the entire bitcoin blockchain. Consider also that you need to leave your machine open almost 24 hours a day, and think about the increase in the cost of your electricity bill. Today, many Internet service provider (ISP) provide unlimited bandwidth, so if that apply to you, you have the lucky number and won the jackpot. The network generates a lot of traffic when you are running a full node.
When you run a full node, you will increase your karma by providing the following services on the bitcoin network:
- Double spending will not be possible.
- The network will be more trustable.
- The network will be more decentralized and this good.
- Transmission of the new transactions made by the users to the miners.
- Broadcasting the new block from miners to the nodes on the bitcoin network.
Recently a read another blog post that provides information on a hardware bitcoin node. Basically, you can see it like a plug and play tool, you install it and you are ready to have a node on the network. You can find more information on the website bitseed. This is the picture of the device if you intend to acquire one and contribute to the bitcoin ecosystem.
The bitcoins nodes are very important, it is the backbone of the blockchain. Without it, the bitcoin ecosystem can't exist, as you see in the article you can contribute and run on a full node. If you need more information, don't hesitate to post in the comment section, my dear followers.