Your seat in The Decentralized Empire will not be tokenized on some cheap app.
Everyone whats to run and go do something ”blockchainy,” or live in a world of ÐApps. But how many of those people have run a full node?
Finder published that nearly 8% of Americans own Bitcoin. (The number seems high to me, but if its close..) With 327,000,000 Americans, that makes 26,200,000 Bitcoin users, and a high estimate of 8000 running full nodes, at most only 3% of Bitcoin users are running full nodes.
In computer science, a node is a basic unit used to represent a device, a personal computer, a phone, or generic machine that connects to the larger network. In Bitcoin, any computer that connects to the network is a node. Nodes that fully verify all of the rules of system are called full nodes.
When people are new to Bitcoin and looking to “join” the network in some way, the tenancy for them is to focus on mining. For the obvious reason that miners get paid to mine. People vastly underestimate the work involved in mining, and overestimate its profitability. The result is that most people who try at mining fail. Still the allure of mining overshadows running a full node, and most don’t even consider it a possibility.
People don’t understand their power. They run after shiny objects like mining bitcoin or the “decentralized appstore” in other parts of the blockchainy industry.
A mistake even high profile experts make, is to think the number of nodes some how adds to decentralization, which is misguided for a number of reasons. Nodes don’t meaningfully contribute to the decentralization of Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency. What people don’t understand is that nodes serve their operator more than the network.
Nodes are misrepresented in a number of ways. People believe that running a full node relies on altruistic do gooders, or that its too difficult for most people to do themselves. No one is expecting grandma to run a full node, but its not beyond the reach of anyone seriously interested in using Bitcoin to its full capacity.
You can look at nodes in two ways: how node serves the system, and how your node serves you.
Full nodes are servers that propagate transactions through out the network and validate consensus rules. When a transaction is made from a node, it checks it against the rules of the network, chooses a subset of eight nodes its connected to and propagates the transaction throughout the network.
But instead of thinking about full nodes as consensus validators and payment broadcasters in the system you can think of them as your vehicle to validate and broadcast transactions yourself.
Your full node is key to unlocking the properties of privacy and trustlessness within the system. Its a tool for you to seize a seat in the decentralized empire.
The unique property of full nodes are that if you run your own, Bitcoins properties of greater security and privacy are transferred to you directly. Build the blockchain up from the genesis block, validate transactions on your hardware, and live as an autonomous ruler in the decentralized empire.