From the moment you met Bitcoin, you have surely asked yourself: What can I do to help in all this? How can I contribute to the network? What else can I do to collaborate with Bitcoin?
The answers to all those questions are much simpler than you think since just installing a Bitcoin node on your computer will actively collaborate with Bitcoin security.
Next we will explain how you can create your node to make Bitcoin stronger.
Why are Bitcoin nodes important?
In order for the Bitcoin network to validate and transmit transactions, more elements are needed besides the miners. By using a number of randomly selected nodes, the network can reduce the chances of a problem like this happening. double spending y maintain security and integrity of it completely.
If you have not already done so, we recommend reading the chapter dedicated to 51% attack to understand in detail the importance of participating in the network.
A Bitcoin node can play different roles depending on the utility that we want to give it. The most frequent are:
- Blockchain database- Any wallet that has a copy of the complete blockchain can act as a node.
- Mining: For a mining team to work, it also requires a copy of the entire blockchain, so it could act as a node.
The node network has doubled in the last 2 years.
Mount your Bitcoin node
Have the latest version of the Bitcoin Core wallet installed on your operating system. If you do not know how to do it and you need a guide to the first steps with this wallet, you can consult our article dedicated to all those people who have never used it.
- Computer or device with recent versions of Windows, Mac OS X or Linux.
- 250 GB of minimum free disk space.
- 2GB of RAM.
- An Internet connection with at least 400 kilobits (50 kilobytes) / second.
- If you want to have a complete node, it needs to be available a minimum of 6 hours a day and acting as a node. At that point you can do other things while you have the wallet open.
- Control that your device does not enter sleep mode and reduce its capabilities.
Once you verify that you meet all the necessary requirements to be able to have a Bitcoin node without hardware problems, you can follow the steps that we mention below with which you can support the network directly in less than 10 minutes.
Steps to follow
We will explain the theory for a home computer. Then we will explain the alternatives at the click of a button if you want to put it on an Amazon, Google, OVH or any other server.
- Open the wallet and wait for it to download and verify the blockchain blocks at 100%. You will see that it is fully downloaded since a verification tick appears at the bottom of the wallet. This will take hours or days depending on the internet speed you have since the first time the full blockchain will be downloaded (which currently exceeds 175GB).
- Download and run a Bitcoin client on a computer.
- Direct port 8333 of your router to the internal IP of the computer.
To do this, you must access the router's configuration panel from your Internet provider by entering the IP 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1 in your favorite browser. From there you must go to the section "Port Forwarding" or similar (depending on your Router) and add port 8333 TCP.
- Range: 8333 to 8333
- IP address: the internal IP address of your computer. (Learn here how to get it if you don't know)
This last step is the most difficult if you have never changed any aspect of your router, but don't worry! It does not affect your Internet connection at all nor will you undergo changes in your day-to-day navigation. Once you are done with them, you will need to restart the router and the Bitcoin client, wait a couple of minutes and check that all the lines of the signal indicator present in the bottom bar of the wallet are active.
For greater security, you can also access Bitnodes and verify if your node is operational from the checkbox by entering your IP.
Lastly, it should be noted that having a Bitcoin node does not have a remarkable cost of light, far from it (remember that having a node is not mining), with which you can use your own computer. However if you want not to use your computer, and since apart from the hard disk you do not need a powerful computer, even a € 25 raspberry pi can serve as a node, which in addition, will consume less light even than a typical PC tower. Of course, make sure you have a memory that supports the amount of data needed for the initial synchronization, about 200 GB. In the end, if you wish, you can prune the blockchain and store only a part of it, and from then on store all future history.
Launch a node on a server
Renting a virtual or dedicated server for € 3 a month and putting a Bitcoin node to work is really easy.
There are also different alternatives to run it in just a couple of commands.
For example, the Bitnodes website itself leaves us a command to execute a Bitcoin Core node:
curl https://bitnodes.earn.com/install-full-node.sh | sh
On the other hand, you can deploy a node with Docker on any server: View options.
Environments such as Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Service already have options for a Bitcoin node to run in one click without typing any command.
But if you are one of those who like to see in detail the manual step by step, you can see the official instructions where the whole process is explained in a simple way: See instructions.
In short, alternatives of all colors!