Blog / The state of bitcoin (plug and play) nodes 🌐
Everyone can run a bitcoin full node, and you should too!
Aug 23, 2022
While it may sound complicated at first, the bitcoin node software space has come a long way over the past few years. There are many options to choose from to get connected to the bitcoin network and begin syncing the blockchain in minutes.
You may be wondering why someone would want to run their own node. The main reason for doing this is to validate that the bitcoin you hold in your wallet actually exist. This sounds alarming, but you cannot verify this fact unless you have a copy of the blockchain history yourself. While it is unlikely that the bitcoin you hold is 'fake bitcoin', the reality is: if you are using a wallet that is connected to somebody else's node, then you are trusting them with the authenticity of your funds. A good way to think of it is:
'If my bitcoin live on the blockchain, then I should probably have a copy of that ledger to make sure they are there.' - a humble stacker 🤠
Other reasons for running your own node are:
greatly improved privacy (if you use a public node you expose your IP address and XPUB to whoever is offering this service. this can be used to view all of your funds associated with a wallet and potentially link them to your identity.)
have a voice during bitcoin protocol upgrades (the bitcoin protocol is continually under development, you may agree or disagree with some of the proposed changes. by running a node you get to choose which version of bitcoin you want to support in these situations.)
become censorship resistant (trusted third parties are security holes. by running a full node you are guaranteed to have access to the bitcoin network anytime and without asking for permission. you get to choose when you want to broadcast a transaction.)
decentralize the network (help make it impossible to shutdown bitcoin by adding a node to the distributed network of peers that are communicating across the globe. another small beacon of freedom will come online and discover others who speak the same language.)
Connecting to the bitcoin network is an exciting and rewarding experience. Even though it is all code - there is something magical about bringing a new node online and joining in the decentralized revolution. There are thousands of nodes ready to sync with you their copy of the immutable bitcoin history, all the way back to the game-changing Genesis Block.
The fact that you can verify every single transaction on a global permissionless financial network that settles billions of dollars of value a day, on consumer grade hardware, for a few hundred dollars, and run this anywhere in the world, is an incredible networking and human ingenuity feat to behold.
So what are you waiting for? Feel the sparks fly and plug in YOUR node today!
I have put together a list of easy to use bitcoin node options for anyone looking to get started. For each option I have included some basic information, but I have also provided links to the projects so that you can DYOR and decide for yourself which plug and play node you would like to use and support. Each node should have a guide and some kind of support channel to help you get up and running seamlessly.
Some of these projects offer more than just a bitcoin core node with additional services like a lightning node, coinjoin software, and other useful bitcoin applications. Also many of these projects run over Tor by default, so you will have good privacy features right out of the box.
I have listed these in alphabetical order. Please note that many of the options with prices also offer a free DIY version. Lastly, many of these projects are open source and are open to contributors.
Price: Free or donation (hardware not included)
This is a great open source project with a nice user-interface, it also has good documentation for installing on a Raspberry Pi or on any computer running Linux.
Price: $429 USD
One of the oldest plug and play node projects, myNode has a loyal user-base and may be the easiest option out there.
Price: $529 USD
Another project that has been around for a while, nodl has an extra focus on security with features like full disk encryption and a killswitch.
Price: €369 EUR
The RaspiBlitz is a pillar in the bitcoin node space and they have recently added a web interface.
Price: $599 USD
Privacy maximalists will love the folks building this software, they are connected with the Samourai Wallet crew and take no shortcuts in creating this privacy-focused offering.
Price: $539 USD
A fully custom operating system backs the Embassy personal server that your bitcoin core node will be running on.
Price: Free (hardware not included)
Likely the most popular DIY node software out there, Umbrel has brought more awareness to the importance of self-hosting.
As you can see there are many great options to easily run a bitcoin full node. If I missed any projects please let me know. Once you have your node up and running don't forget to connect it to whichever wallets you are using.
Thanks so much for reading and I hope this article will inspire you to: 'don't trust, verify!'. 🕵️♂️🕵️♀️