If you have been around Bitcoin for a bit, you have probably heard about Bitcoin Core. Most people have heard about Bitcoin Core developers especially within the context of the UASF fork and SegWit deployment, but few understand what Bitcoin Core really is. It is not a collection of developers, but rather free and open-source software that powers Bitcoin nodes. It is not the only type of software that can power a Bitcoin node, but it is by far the most popular.
Bitcoin Core Nodes
According to coin.dance, Bitcoin Core nodes comprise more than 96% of the network. Bitcoin Core’s software is not only widely adopted, but it is held as the gold standard in the industry, especially when it comes to testing new developments on Bitcoin’s blockchain. These nodes offer a testing environment widely known as “testnet.” This testing environment allows developers to test improvements by using “fake” coins to see how their proposed development will affect the network.
Apart from that, Bitcoin Core nodes allow users to:
- Deploy a full node on the network.
- Use the Bitcoin Core wallet, which is a default feature of the software.
- Generate QR codes for users to get paid using Bitcoin.
- Access a network alert system which Satoshi Nakamoto included to alert users about changes or proposed changes to the network.
Satoshi Developed Bitcoin Core
Satoshi Nakamoto developed the Bitcoin Core client, which was simply called Bitcoin. The “Core” was added to differentiate it from the network. Bitcoin Core was also known as “Satoshi Client” and it limits the power that the developer has over changes on the network. Developers must launch a BIP – Bitcoin Improvement Proposal – and have other nodes that run the network vote on the change. Only if a BIP is approved then the Bitcoin Core software can be updated. If users still disagree with the update, they can run different software to run their nodes.
Should I Run a Bitcoin Core Node?
After reading this, you might think it is quite complicated to run a Bitcoin Core node. Running one requires a certain level of technical proficiency, but it is not as challenging as it might seem. The advantages of running a Bitcoin Core node a manifold. Users who run a node are primarily looking for increased privacy – the possibility of broadcasting their own transactions from the IP address they chose through a VPN service for example.
This doesn’t mean that you must run Bitcoin Core to process transactions. In fact, an overwhelming majority of users rely on nodes that belong to other people or organizations to process their transactions. Nevertheless, according to Andreas Antonopoulos, if you really care about the Bitcoin network and the future of the world’s first successful cryptocurrency, you should run a node. Bitcoin Core is the original software used to do so and it is still the most popular by far, so we recommend you take a look at it if you want to consider running a node any time soon.