The topic of Bitcoin Nodes is still a cause for many debates on Bitcoin platforms and Reddit these days, as the recent jump in Bitcoin Classic support has people asking a lot of [valid] questions. Although it is positive to see an outspoken support for either Core or Classic, trying to artificially grow the numbers will not do anyone any favors in the long run. A recent report shows how most of the Bitcoin Classic nodes are not hosted on dedicated servers, which is of particular concern.
When it comes to creating and running a Bitcoin Node, the goal is to distribute and decentralize the digital currency network. Most users run a Bitcoin Node at home, although that usually means leaving a computer on and connected to the Internet 24/7. However, some users are looking for alternative solutions, which are not only cheaper but also require less maintenance.
Thanks to modern services such as Amazon Web Services and Choopa, it has become rather easy to deploy a virtual machine hosted in a data center somewhere, and run any software on it for legitimate purposes. Due to the relatively cheap price tag associated with these services, spinning up a few hundred instances with different Bitcoin nodes is not all that difficult.
Based on a recent report by BitFury, this seems to be what has happened ever since the number of Bitcoin Classic nodes started seeing exponential growth. Although it is good to see such an outspoken support for this block size solution, it is impossible to determine how many people are actively running a Bitcoin Node, as half of them are running on Amazon AWS or Choopa.
Some of the Bitcoin Core nodes are hosted on similar servers as well, though, as this is a cost-effective solution to support the Bitcoin network. That being said, this is not attributing to the decentralized nature of Bitcoin, as running nodes hosted on servers in a few data centers around the world doesn’t distribute the load by any means. By grouping the majority of nodes in the US, Canada, and Europe, there is still a fair amount of centralization going on.
In the case of Bitcoin Classic nodes, 31% of these nodes are hosted on Amazon AWS, whereas an additional 23% are located on Choopa. Combining these numbers shows how over half of the Bitcoin Classic node ”support’ is centralized among two companies, which is quite worrying, to say the least.
Although the most obvious solution would be to make people understand how this centralized approach will not do anyone any favors, VPS providers accepting Bitcoin might want to keep an eye on things as well. Granted, it would be rather strange to refuse the service to customers when all they want to do is run a Bitcoin node, but something has to happen to promote further decentralization of these efforts.
Setting up an inexpensive Bitcoin Node solution at home is not all that hard for most digital currency enthusiasts. A Raspberry Pi 2 or 3 is cheap, and most people will have an old hard drive lying around somewhere to store the blockchain data. Plus, setting up the software does not take all that long. Given the low power consumption of a Raspberry Pi, it is a perfect device to run a Bitcoin node at home without much trouble.
What are your thought son the centralization of Bitcoin nodes? How can we combat this situation in a proactive manner? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Bitcoin Classic, Shutterstock, TechMVP
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