As Bitcoin mining becomes more competitive, the hardware used becomes more sophisticated (read: spendy). The cost to run a Bitcoin node, however, is moving in the opposite direction: down.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation just released the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B. It features 1 GB of RAM and will perform “at least 6x” faster than the previous model, the B+. It sells for about US$35 and can be bought for bitcoin.
For Nodes, Cheap Hardware's Welcome
As you may know, Bitcoin miners are the ones rewarded with bitcoins for generating transaction confirmations. Nodes, on the other hand, host and transmit updated copies of the blockchain (transaction ledger), and are not compensated.
(I've always thought that this non-compensation was perhaps a flaw in Satoshi's design, but nodes I've met say they host the blockchain to add robustness and security to the network. This reasoning is sound for anyone who holds the currency, and I hope it's sustainable.)
The pseudo-altruism of Bitcoin nodes makes cheap hardware even more appealing to them. The blockchain is large and can slow down an average laptop, so keeping it on exterior hardware like a Raspberry Pi keeps one's PC unhampered.
Not the First, But Better
Redditor Introshine commented:
“I once ran a full node on a normal B model - it works but runs out of RAM very quick. With a swapfile it was do-able but not fast.
This new Version 2 B+ model has 1GB of ram and a 900Mhz quad-core. Combined with a 64GB SD card it should be able to run a bitcoind full node.”
And there may be comparable options. Redditor jerguismi commented:
“There are also other competitors to raspberry pi, for example boards called 'banana pi' and 'banana pro.'”
Have you used any other kind of exterior hardware to run a full Bitcoin node? If not, now that it's cheaper to do so, are you interested?
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