Have you ever wondered how hard it is to set up a bitcoin node? It’s not that difficult. With this guide, we provide a straightforward approach to setting up a node on a very small and inexpensive device. You can get started within a matter of hours and you will have your own bitcoin node up and running!

What is A Node?

A node is the base of the network that allows the Bitcoin blockchain to run. It’s basically a computer that makes sure certain rules are followed, information from transactions is shared across the network and a copy of confirmed transactions is kept. Trying to register a transaction involving an amount of Bitcoin that a user doesn’t have, is the perfect example of a rule not fulfilled that will stop the node from working. When the rules are all correct, the node proceeds to share the transaction with the rest of the network and keeps a record of it in a ledger known as the blockchain. It’s important to know that each network is autonomous, and every time a user registers a transaction into one node, a copy of it is registered into the rest of the nodes of the network. 

What is a Raspberry Pi?

A Raspberry Pi is a powerful computer in the size of a credit card that can be used in any computer monitor or TV. It is considered to be one of the world’s least expensive and most versatile computers, offering a wide range of applications such as browsing the internet, making spreadsheets or playing high-resolution video footage. It is increasingly becoming popular among developing countries and primary schools around the globe thanks to its simplicity. 

How to Set Up a Bitcoin Node on Your Raspberry Pi

Before running your own Bitcoin Node on your Raspberry Pi, there are a few things you might be interested to know. First of all, it’s important to remember that the purpose of a full node is to be kept running somewhere where it doesn’t require you to take care of it, like your mansard or your basement.

Secondly, a full node should be able to keep more than 8 connections to other nodes at the same time, always under a high-bandwidth connection to the Internet. This is due to the fact that if your node doesn’t take incoming connections, it will be taking many resources from the network and it won’t be giving back the performance it initially aimed to provide. A full node will not provide the network with mining activities, but instead, it will help keep the network honest and robust.

With all this in mind, let’s proceed to setting up your node. You will need to have in your possession a Raspberry Pi with its own case, a MicroSD card with at least 8GB of storage (the more space it has, the longer it will last), a power adapter with a MicroUSB cable to keep the device powered up, and an Ethernet cable to connect to your router. According to different sites, the Raspberry Pi 4B is the best in the market to run a full Bitcoin node, with the 1GB version starting at $35. 

The MicroSD card will act as the hard drive of your small computer, and you need to make sure it is formatted in FAT32, which is the only format Raspberry Pi works on. Most likely your card will come in exFAT format, so you’ll need to use the built-in programs for Windows (Disk Management), macOS (Disk-Utility) and Linux (Disks or GParted). Once the MicroSD has been formatted and introduced to the device, establish a connection to the Internet with your Ethernet cable, plug in the power adapter to the device and you’re good to go. For the initial configuration steps, you may want to use a keyboard and an HDMI-ready monitor to simplify the setup process, but you won’t be needing them after that. 

Next up, we need to install the OS on the device. The easiest way to do it is through their NOOBS install manager, which provides a detailed description of the steps on their website. Once it’s done, you’ll need to update your Raspberry Pi and verify that the full node is working. This can be a little tricky if you’re not familiar with coding, but this site will give you a step-by-step guide with all the lines of code you need to introduce from here on. 

And that’s about it, your Bitcoin Node will be now ready to be kept running and you won’t have to take constant care of it. As simple and effective as that!