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Bitcoin Takeover Q&A #2: The Cheapest Bitcoin Full Node?

What is the cheapest way to run a full Bitcoin node and why are bitcoiners to toxic that they fight every day? These are two of the questions that I answer.

This week’s Q&A is mostly concerned with the most affordable way to run a Bitcoin full node and the seemingly-inevitable feuds between bitcoiners.

I’ve previously researched the topic of “nodes in a box” (plug-and-play devices that you buy from a manufacturer to get rid of the headache of installing and configuring Bitcoin Core yourself), and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s more affordable to build your own device.

Actually, you don’t even have to use dedicated node hardware if all you want to do is validate incoming BTC transactions. Just install Bitcoin Core on your home computer or laptop, it’s all that you need and you also have the option to run a pruned node.

If you own a computer that’s newer than 10 years, then you already own a device that’s power enough to run Bitcoin. And if you have more than 300GB storage on your hard drive, you’re good to do for the full validating node. If you don’t have enough space to store so much data, then the only investment you will need to make is in a 1TB external hard drive – and these are a lot more affordable than a $300 Casa or Nodl.

You should only consider buying a retail full node if you’re too lazy to learn or require one of the features (BTCPay Server and Lightning Network stuff). But even in the case of these benefits, myNode BTC offers an open-source dashboard that you can install on a $100 Raspberry Pi 4. There is also the option to run a RaspiBlitz, as it’s fast, convenient, easy to do yourself, and affordable.

So to recap: for everyday needs you’re just fine running Bitcoin Core on your computer. If you want to run Lightning, BTCPay Server, or a Samourai Dojo node, then you should buy a Raspberry Pi and a hard drive to use as a dedicated node. But even in this situation, you have tons of written and video tutorials, as well as a community that’s more than willing to help. This can be a great learning experience.

Why are bitcoiners toxic and argue every day?

Well, I’ve identified two reasons for the daily feuds: first of all, we must consider the limitations of Twitter. You can only write a small amount of characters in a tweet, and this often leads to misunderstandings.

But bitcoiners are both vigilant and pure at heart, so they won’t spare any mistake or poorly phrased statement. So you gotta keep your guard up and prove at all times that you haven’t turned into a bad actor.

This constant scrutiny reflects the open-source spirit of the software that we use and imposes high standards of honesty on everyone. Through this, a reputation system gets established so that bad actors can be phased out in time.

In most cases, the arguments are just the result of poor communication and the parties involved are benevolent yet defensive about their approaches. But there are also situations where being toxic is necessary to call out and potentially fix bad attitudes and potentially-misleading tactics.

Some companies will promote wallets that dox you or still your bitcoins. Some influencers might get sponsored by terrible products that are very much against the spirit of Bitcoin. There are many variables involved and vigilance is mostly a virtue.

Most importantly, bitcoiners are not as bad as they seem online. If you go to any conference, you will discover that the dialectics (the way they talk to you face to face in longer discussions) are a lot more nuanced and detailed than their rhetoric (memes, catchphrases, and everything else that only fits in a tweet). So we’re not terrible people, we’re just cautious.

The articles I’ve posted in the last week

  1. How Atlas from Colombia has become a wholecoiner thanks to lots of community donations that were encouraged by American Hodl. Read it here.
  2. How and why Bitcoin is similar with Pokemon, and which Pokemons can be used to describe dimensions of the Bitcoin network and community. Read it here and spread it around on Pokemon groups, it might help onboard a few of them.
  3. Cobo launches a new and more affordable hardware wallet which targets consumer markets. I’ve written an overview of the product, I’ve received some quotes from Lixin Liu, and I’ve tried to analyze the data available on launch day. This is essentially an exclusive news article for which I’ve received the information in advance. Read it here.

Vlad Costea
Written By

I'm here for the freedom, censorship-resistance, and unconfiscatability. What about you?

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