laBITconf 2020: How to install a Bitcoin node and why you should do it

Today at laBITconf, Julian Dragonosh taught us how to assemble a Bitcoin node and gave us reasons why we should do it.

The end of BITconf is approaching. Important topics are still being discussed there, such as the one we are covering in this article. Below we summarize what Julian Dragonosh said in his panel about installing a Bitcoin node and why it’s worth doing.

To start with his presentation, Julian tells us that a node is each of the parts that make up the blockchain network, interconnected by working in an equivalent way and sharing information with each other.

The nodes work simultaneously and run the software that makes the crypto currency work.
Julian Dragonosh performing his panel where he talked about how to install a Bitcoin node. Source: laBITconf. Julian Dragonosh performing his panel where he talked about how to install a Bitcoin node. Source: laBITconf.
How to mount your Bitcoin node

After a brief introduction, the speaker goes into a technical tutorial for the installation of a Bitcoin node, telling us that the basic requirements are currently:

  • 250 GB of free space on the hard disk
  • Computer with a recent version of Windows, Mac OS or Linux
  • 2gb RAM memory
  • Internet connection with speed of at least 50 kilobytes per second

Procedure

Open the wallet and wait for the Bitcoin network blocks to be downloaded and checked. This is a long process, because currently the total weight of the BTC blockchain is over 175 GB.

Download and run a Bitcoin client.

Direct your router’s port 8333 to the computer’s IP. To do this, access your router’s configuration by entering 192.68.1.1 or 192.168.0.1 in your browser. Go to the section “Port Forwarding“ or similar depending on your router. This may be the most complicated step, but don’t worry, this will not affect your browsing speed or anything else.

Finish by restarting your router and Bitcoin client.

Wait a couple of minutes when you turn everything back on, and verify that all the lines in the signal indicator of the wallet, located at the bottom, are active.

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The good thing about having your own node

Sovereignty stands out as the main advantage of running your own Bitcoin node, since it’s possible to connect it to your own wallet, giving you the key to the network. Nobody has to tell you if what you did got to where you sent it, you can verify and validate it yourself, assures the panel speaker.

In addition, you avoid giving information to third parties which increases your privacy. Not depending on anyone is the vision of Bitcoin.

When you enter this ecosystem trying to escape the habit of having to depend on institutions that give you access to the system, it wouldn’t make sense to use third-party cryptographic services that run a node for you.

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Basic commands to execute in your node

To finish with the panel, Julián shared with us some basic commands that you can run in Bitcoin Core.

The node protocol offers an interface through which you can execute commands, useful to perform validations, operations or any other type of administrative nature. They can be executed from the Bitcoin console, or from the command terminal on your computer.