What Is A Full Node?
A full node is a program that fully validates transactions and blocks. Almost all full nodes also help the network by accepting transactions and blocks from other full nodes, validating those transactions and blocks, and then relaying them to further full nodes.
Most full nodes also serve lightweight clients by allowing them to transmit their transactions to the network and by notifying them when a transaction affects their wallet. If not enough nodes perform this function, clients won’t be able to connect through the peer-to-peer network—they’ll have to use centralized services instead.
Running a Bitcoin Full Node is therefore very important for a functioning network and a lot of full nodes guarentee decentralization.
So should you run your own full node? YES!
If you do you can call yourself a First Class Bitcoin Citizen.
It’s not just good for the network, but also for your own understanding of Bitcoin and the blockchain. Installing your own full node will bring you much further on the path to fully understand the cryptocurrency. It’s a difference to understand it theoratically or in practice, when you’re “getting your hands dirty”. Spoiler: You won’t!
There are different possibilities to run your own full node. Probably the easiest one is with umbrel. It’s free, easy to set up, uses Tor and has a beautiful minimalistic dashboard. As one of the first users you will get your own Lightning Network Channel on top! You can get a Raspberry Pi 4 with 4GB (that’s enough) + cables/fan, a 64GB SD card and 1TB SSD–that’s it. You can get that for under $250.
Got your full node up and running? It doesn’t stop there.
You can connect different hardware wallets to it. For example a BitBox02, COLDCARD or Ledger. You can easily connect them directly (BitBox02) or for example with the Electrum Bitcoin Wallet. You will then have a cold storage (hardware wallet), with each transaction validated by your own full node (running umbrel on the Raspberry Pi), connected to Electrum and getting as private as it gets with TOR!
Then you can really call yourself a First Class Bitcoin Citizen!
Interested in a step for step Bitcoin Security Guide? Here you go:
- KISS, Keep it simple stupid! Don’t screw yourself out of your Bitcoin due to complexity.
- Learn the 10 commendments of self custody.
- Get a COLDCARD Hardware Wallet, this is how you set it up.
- Get a SEEDPLATE Bitcoin Metal Backup., this is how you use it.
- Make extra encrypted backups, at least two more and store them in geographicaly separated locations. This is how you setup an encrypted MicroSD backup.
- Passphrases are great security improvement, but it’s one more thing to have to backup.Here is how you setup a passphrase. Make sure that if you use one, you have a minimum of a metal backup of this passphrase too..
- Test everything!
- Now choose a software wallet, I recommend:
- Bonus, I also recommend keeping a backup of the last known working version of the software wallet you chose. Could come in handy in case the wallet becomes abandon-ware and/or you no longer around to help the stakeholders.
- Test a small amount, both deposit and spend. And make sure to test backup recovery before depositing real money!
- Keep learning, lots of videos here, as you acquire more knowledge you can increase the security and complexity of your setup based on your needs.