How to run a Bitcoin Node
“Not your node, not your rules”
Below you will find a bunch of quotes and resources I put together to help you make sense of what a Bitcoin full node is, why you should run one and how you may do so. I came to bitcoin from the perspective of philosophy & economics, I am not a very ‘technical guy’, but over time I have learned how to use bitcoin. If I can do it, you can do it.
A Bitcoin full node is a computer that runs the Bitcoin software and connects to the Bitcoin network. It is a program that fully validates bitcoin transaction blocks. Full nodes help the bitcoin network by accepting information from other full nodes, validating that information, and then relaying it to other nodes, forming a network of communication. To run a node, you download Bitcoin Core software, and then let it copy the blockchain from other nodes. Once the node is set up, you leave it on and new transaction blocks are received roughly every 10 minutes. Your node will check if the block is valid, and if so, add it to its own copy of the blockchain. Every node in the Bitcoin network, checks the information it receives according to the rules contained in the Bitcoin Core software.
Your node is your own version of the Bitcoin ruleset. Think of it as your own gateway to the Bitcoin ecosystem. It broadcasts transactions, verifies the bitcoin you receive are legitimate and maintains your privacy by allowing you to participate without reliance on anyone. When you connect your wallet to your node, you are not trusting anyone else to verify your transactions but yourself (Bitcoiner.Guide).
A Bitcoin wallet does not keep a copy of the blockchain. Your wallet just holds your keys. A hardware wallet, for example by Trezor, always needs to check back with a node, if the information it has, that is the amount of bitcoins it is storing, receiving or sending, is correct. In order to do that, companies that provide hardware wallets run nodes. Running your own node means you don’t need to rely on others. You can connect your wallet to your node and confirm your holdings and transactions (Arman The Parman). ‘A node helps to protect you from bad actors and it also keeps the network decentralised. If you do not have your own, you are trusting in someone else’s node to tell you how much bitcoin you have and to broadcast/receive your transactions for you’ (Bitcoiner.Guide). “While managing your own keys ensures that you can’t lose your money due to the negligence or maliciousness of a custodian, running a full node ensures that you can’t be tricked into accepting invalid bitcoin payments. Running and using your own node gives you the strongest security model Bitcoin has to offer.” (Jameson Lopp)
There are two options how to run a bitcoin full node, you either buy a “pre-build” node, or you put a node together yourself. All parts are available on amazon, it does need some of your time though. I put together a list of pre-build and build yourself options.
HARDWARE & TUTORIALS TO RUN A BITCOIN NODE
Pre-Build Node: myNode One, Nodl, Start9 Embassy, RaspiBlitz, Lightning in a Box
Build your own: Umbrel (includes a list with hardware to buy)
Video on Umbrel: How To Run A Bitcoin Node – Parts, Assembly and Software Installation by BTC Sessions
Guide: myNode overview & video on how to run your myNode, video on how to set up your Umbrel node
This Bitcoin Magazine guide to run a Bitcoin full node is quite straight forward and will guide you on how to get your node going once you build your own or bought a pre build node. In case you are looking for some more in depth resource, I can recommend the following:
- Q&A with Andreas Antonopolous on running a full node (Bitcoin, Ethereum & Lightning)
- Ministry of Nodes Series: EP 1 “Why run a Bitcoin node”
- For a comprehensive guide on how to run a node visit Jameson Lopp’s website
- You can visit this “Node Guide” by Bitcoiner.Guide for more resources
- Arman the Parman’s ‘Six reasons why you should run your own Bitcoin Node’
- Running Bitcoin & Lightning Nodes Over The Tor Network (2021 Edition)
- How to run your Bitcoin node with Blockstream Satellite