The Costs of Running A Bitcoin Node in Nigeria

Based on my experience with running one for the past few years, I will be describing the costs involved in setting up and maintaining a Nigerian node. I also offer cost-saving suggestions to encourage more participation in the bitcoin network. According to network rules, a node receives, validates, and broadcasts transactions/blocks from other nodes on the network. Ted Stevenot described nodes as the messengers of Bitcoin and rule keepers. The broadcast blocks are part a distributed ledger that contains records of every transaction, keeps track bitcoin ownership and the amount owned. This publicly-shared ledger is commonly known as the Bitcoin blockchain. A Bitcoin node can be run on either a portable single-board computer (SBC) or a personal computer. A node can also run on a virtual machine or a smartphone. Bitcoin Core, the most popular bitcoin node software, can be downloaded here. A full node stores a complete copy of the blockchain and verifies all transactions and blocks against the consensus rules. Full nodes enforce specific rulesets to determine the validity and transactions of a block. There are two types: pruned and archival nodes. Archival nodes save the entire blockchain locally and relay it on to other nodes. This helps to bootstrap new nodes. A pruned node saves a minimum number of blocks while verifying transactions and blocks. Pruned nodes save more computer disk than archival nodes. There are many benefits to running a network node. Some of these include:Privacy when broadcasting transactions, verifying bitcoin received in your wallet, and exploring blockchain data, without third parties logging your personal information.Enforcing the consensus rules which helps uphold bitcoin’s integrity and your investment in it. You can also run a node to accept or reject any proposed changes to the consensus rules — soft or hard forks. Raspiblitz’s slogan is: Not your node. Not your rules. Strengthening the Bitcoin network. The more nodes there are, the more resilient and decentralized Bitcoin is against malicious parties, restrictions from jurisdictions, and black swan events. With some of the benefits outlined, let’s analyze the costs of running a node from a Nigerian perspective.HardwareThe common hardware, that meet the minimum requirements, used to run a bitcoin node on are either:Plug and Play nodes orDo-It-Yourself (DIY) nodes.Plug And Play NodeSome bitcoin companies offer plug and play full node products that run on SBCs like the Raspberry Pi, RockPro64 and Rock Pi4, and mini PCs like the Intel NUC and Librem Mini. Some of these node providers are:MyNodeRaspiblitzRoninDojo andStart9Node prices range from $300 to $700 — excluding shipping ($100 minimum to Nigeria) and customs duty — dependent on hardware and storage size. International purchases on most Nigerian Naira debit card are now limited to $20 per month. This is a decrease from the previous $100 limit. There are three options for purchasing a node: a dollar debit card tied to a domiciliary bank account, a virtual dollar card that offers convenience but at a higher rate than black market, or a dollar debit card linked to a dollar debit card with deposited dollars from the black marketplace (currently 70% above official rate). First, not all node suppliers ship to Nigeria. Due to the shortage of chips, some of these products may not be in stock. Some of these products are out of stock. One solution is to use the alternative offered by node providers. This involves sourcing node components yourself and installing their respective bitcoin core embedded code on your node. Mini-PCs are more expensive than SBCs. SBC + power supplySD Card + readerSSD + enclosureHeatsink Case/fan The current shortage of single-board computers and high demand have caused a significant increase in prices and supply problems. This has led to an increase in prices, and a rise in supply. Aliexpress does sell some Raspberry Pis and RockPro64s. There are fake sellers on Aliexpress. You should be cautious about new stores, read negative reviews, and request a refund if the item doesn’t arrive within the timeframe. These SBCs must be purchased with a dollar card due to the Naira debit card’s international purchase limit. There is no bitcoin purchase option. DataThe table below shows the average hardware component cost from Aliexpress for building new Raspberry Pi and RockPro64 nodes. This is done by downloading all blocks from the genesis block and verifying them in an operation called the Initial block download (IBD). The current bitcoin blockchain is approximately 440GB in size. This is done by downloading and verifying all blocks from the genesis block in a process known as the Initial block download (IBD). It takes roughly 5.3GB to sync your node with blockchain. It is assumed that you live in an area with relatively reliable 4G network coverage.PowerTo simplify power cost analysis, we assume that you live in an area without electricity (at least 80% in my location). This will mean that you will need a solar generator to power your node and router. Unfortunately, this is weather dependent. There are many benefits to running your own Bitcoin node, some of which were already mentioned. Despite the cost-cutting suggestions and assumptions made herein, it might not be possible to run a node due to ongoing chip shortages, inflation, and node setup costs. Arman The Parman’s circle-of-trust idea or Obi Nawosu’s guardians and user model would be a practical solution. This model allows a technical person to run a node that is only accessible to a trusted group of people, such as close friends, family, or a community. This guest post is by Chinedu. Although it involves a trade-off, it is better than connecting to third-party nodes. It also helps in easing bitcoin’s custody challenge. The opinions expressed are their own and do NOT necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc.


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