Why You Should Run Your Own Blockchain Node at Home

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Blockchain Node at Home

If you are here reading this, then you know that blockchain technology is changing the world and in more ways than just pumping your fiat bags. It has given us new ways to think about money, contracts, and even the internet itself. But to truly understand and support this technology, it’s important to consider running your own blockchain node at home. You might wonder why you should bother, especially when it’s so easy just to use third-party wallets or hosting services like AWS or other VPS hosts. So let’s get into the reasons why decentralization and running your own hardware are crucial for the health of blockchain networks.

The Heart of Decentralization

At its core, blockchain is about decentralization. Instead of having one central authority controlling everything, blockchain networks distribute control among many different participants. This is what makes them secure and resistant to censorship. When you run your own node, you become an active participant in this decentralized network. You’re not just a user; you’re part of the infrastructure that keeps the blockchain running smoothly and securely.

By running your own node, you contribute directly to the health and strength of the blockchain network. Each node helps verify transactions and or maintains the blockchain ledger, the more nodes running in more locations ensures that the network remains decentralized. The more nodes there are, the harder it is for any single entity, corporation, or government to gain control and manipulate the system. This distributed approach makes blockchain networks more resilient to attacks and failures.

Proof of Work vs Proof of Stake Nodes

Nodes on Proof of Work versus Proof of Stake networks are a bit different. On a PoW network like Bitcoin, running a full node is not the same thing as mining. When you run your own Bitcoin Core wallet node at home, what you are doing is maintaining a copy of the blockchain network. The more copies on different computers, in different locations, the more decentralized the network. This doesn’t yield you money like mining can.

Miners on the other hand are the actual block producers that verify the transactions by completing complicated encryption calculations, and are paid in block rewards. The more mining machines they have, the more blocks they are able to produce. It’s a competition of resources and because of that there are more and more machines verifying transactions and strengthening the network.

Proof of Stake network nodes are different, and they have different node types as well. First, you have API nodes that are nodes that maintain the blockchain and give developer access to the data. Next you have the the validator or witness nodes. These nodes act as miners in the way they validate transactions. The competition here is how big of a token stake the validator has behind them. The more stake, the more governance and power in the network. These nodes are way more energy efficient than mining and can be ran many times on a virtual private server, or VPS. But, this causes an issue that we really need to address and why you need to run nodes at home, if possible.

Independence from Third Parties

Using third-party services like hot wallet services or AWS to host your node might seem convenient, but it comes with risks. These services have centralized points of control which gives it a central point of failure. If AWS decides to shut down your node or experiences an outage, you’re out of luck. Running your own hardware at home means you’re not dependent on any single company or service. You have full control over your node and can ensure it’s always running and contributing to the network.

Learning and Empowerment

Running a blockchain node at home might seem intimidating at first, but it’s a fantastic way to learn more about how blockchain technology works. You’ll gain hands-on experience with the software and hardware you need to make these networks run. This knowledge can be extremely empowering, and give you a deeper understanding of the technology itself and what all is needed to make this run. Plus, it feels pretty cool to know you’re actively supporting a cutting-edge technology!

If your location allows, you can even learn how to build your own alternative power rigs with solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, and grid tie inverters to offset the power usage and keep you running even in the event of a power outage. Keeping your modem, router, and node computers on a battery backup will help ensure that you stay on as long as possible!

Privacy and Security

When you run your own node, you’re in control of your data. Third-party services can potentially log and monitor your activities, which can be a concern for privacy-conscious individuals. By keeping everything in-house, you minimize the risk of data breaches and ensure that your interactions with the blockchain remain private and secure.

Some companies will even shut off your server if they catch you running blockchain nodes on their infrastructure. This is because these type of services bow down and give their data to governments and want to stay in compliance with them. When you take your node in-house, meaning in your own home, on your own connection, they can’t stop you nearly as easily.

The Cost Factor

You might think that running a node at home is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Many blockchain networks can run on relatively low-power devices like Raspberry Pis. While there is some upfront cost for the hardware, you save on the ongoing fees that come with using third-party services. Over time, running your own node can actually be more cost-effective.

I am running my Bitcoin and Monero nodes on an old Macbook Pro with 2 different external drives. The 1TB drive is storing a full copy of the Bitcoin blockchain and the other is keeping a full copy of the Monero blockchain, both using Core wallets, no third party companies involved. So it doesn’t take too much to get a node running for many networks, just takes the time to download the full copy of the chain.

Proof of Stake or Delegated Proof of Stake validator and API nodes may need a bit more power than a Bitcoin Core node. Many of these nodes also do the work of the miners in a different way, but need to be powerful computers, some requiring 32GB or more of RAM and large, and fast storage capacities. Many of these networks also need extremely fast internet, like a fiber connection, that would not be available to everyone. So these are things you want to take into account and really research when you decide to start building your own blockchain infrastructure at home.

You Can Do It!

Running your own blockchain node at home is a powerful way to support decentralization, enhance your understanding of blockchain technology, and maintain control over your data, money, and resources. It’s a step towards a more resilient and secure blockchain network, and it allows you to be an active participant in the future of decentralized technology while giving the finger to the banks and governments. So, why not give it a try? You’ll be contributing to something truly revolutionary and empowering yourself and learning some cool stuff in the process.

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