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Mythbusting: Running a Bitcoin node is "expensive" if block size is bigger

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Avatar for imkeshav
Written by   28
3 years ago

One of the strongest arguments small blockers would use against increasing the block size is that it would become very expensive to run their own node at home and cause "centralization" of Bitcoin

The basic premise being that bandwidth costs will take the control away from an individual user (node)

This argument keeps coming up again and again, but its premise is incorrect as the view comes from people living in North America where Bandwidth costs are astronomical (2.5X) compared to a developing country like India

I believe this is one of the most destructive myths which stunted Bitcoin's growth and created a civil war with the creation of Bitcoin Cash and its very simple to burst this myth.

Most nodes for BTC and its supporters (Maximalists) are from the North American region. The bandwidth costs are expensive there because of a monopoly of ISPs, they don't have a lot of competition and they demand such higher charges and people don't really have a choice but to pay the cartel.

1 Gigabyte internet connection costs $85 in my city with 1TB download limit, these maximalists are just out of touch from the reality

Bandwidth costs in a developed country like the US are 2.5X for the same speed

Its ironical that the very people who are fighting for Bitcoin to be available for home nodes so that it is government resistant are too ignorant to realize that the same govt and its favoring corporate monopolies is keeping them from fully realizing the potential of Bitcoin unleashed from the shackles of 1MB block.

Trying to keep Bitcoin decentralized while living under a centralized regime of ISPs

No wonder they are willing to pay 5x higher fees to transact in their version of Bitcoin (BTC) as they are used to paying 3x the internet costs as a home user in a 3rd world country

What is a fact (high prices) for a Bitcoiner staying in USA is just a myth for a Bitcoiner like me staying in India

The world doesn't wait for those who try hard to maintain the status quo, people now have a choice through Bitcoin Cash

Myth:Small blocks enable more nodes to be run on Bitcoin to keep it Decentralized

I will address this myth quickly, this is a much touted argument by the maximalists to showcase the superior decentralization and popularity of Bitcoin (BTC)

However, this myth was burst by the same maximalists when the CVE-2018–17144 bug which can inflate the bitcoin supply was found

The above article was posted by a well known BTC maximalist Jimmy Song, others urged for the immediate up-gradation of all the nodes and expressed grave concern when very few upgraded

But it was no use, nodes were indeed useless

Even after 5 months, only 30% nodes cared enough to upgrade, if this doesn't burst the myth of node being important for BTC to be decentralized, i don't know what will

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Avatar for imkeshav
Written by   28
3 years ago
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I synced bitcoin ABC, with an athlon2 x4 635 cpu + 30 megabit net + to a 10 year old 1.5 tb seagate hdd. (10+ years old computer), It took less than 48h, 156 gb in total.

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3 years ago

Where I feel something is wrong is in the title itself.

"Expensive" is always relative. Someone earning $2 a day will not be able to afford to run a Bitcoin node (and neither do they need to).

Maybe "Running a Bitcoin node will get too expensive as block size gets bigger" would be a better avenue.

Because it is true that the more resources are needed due to bigger blocks, the higher the cost for storage and bandwidth - unless those costs drop which is not a given in any market. The relative lower cost of bandwidth in India is not actually defeating this truth. Even in India, running a node with block sizes of 1GB would be more expensive than with 1MB.

But at least you begin to address the myth that one should not increase block sizes because it would get (more) expensive.

The reason this myth is bad is because it ignores many economic realities.

The more Bitcoin is used (i.e. the bigger the blocks), the more valuable it becomes to all its users. That means the value of the coin will rise, and this means the price will rise too. It would move more towards price driven by utility than the speculation it currently mostly is.

Higher the value of the coin, the more people will be able to afford the resource costs to operate their nodes, and even to upgrade to better hardware.

And then there is the reality that storage and bandwidth costs are not staying the same. Over time they HAVE come down - there are many sources one can cite to show that trend. It's not guaranteed to continue forever, but the question is whether it would be a real problem for Bitcoin users, given the insane potential (headroom) for growth that is still available even with the current level of technology. And the improvements that we already know can be made, they just take time to implement.


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3 years ago