This Christmas, as a way of supporting the Bitcoin ecosystem, mining giant and bitcoin exchange BTCC decided to donate and deploy 100 full nodes across a total of five continents. So far, this move has been applauded by many members of the community.
Understanding the importance of this gift is essential, mostly due to the fact that it also represents an alarm signal for the bitcoin community. In case you do not know, Bitcoin is designed as a decentralized, peer to peer network, powered up by a huge amount of machinery. Whenever a transaction is made using the digital currency, it goes through the blockchain, where it has to be relayed and validated. This can only be done through a vast network of nodes that the bitcoin protocol uses to broadcasts its messages. As this represents the first step in a transaction process, bitcoin would become obsolete without these fully operating nodes.
Together with this, as thousands of bitcoin transactions take place every day, bitcoin requires a high number of nodes, which then ensure the security of each bitcoin transaction, while also preventing issues such as double spending, which is making the same transaction twice. Fully operating nodes are those situated on machines storing the complete blockchain.
Unfortunately, due to a constant lack of incentive (as node sponsors are not rewarded for their work), the number of nodes in the system has been drastically decreasing. In fact, analysis shows that while at the beginning of 2015, there were around 6000 reachable nodes, we only have 4600 now, including the ones donated by BTCC. The increasing popularity of bitcoin alongside with the decreasing number of nodes will make the cryptocurrency less secure unless vast action is taken against this.
BTCC decided to distribute the nodes across all continents, to ensure that the network stays secure everywhere in the world. Bobby Lee, who is BTCC’s CEO, stated that "Most reachable full bitcoin nodes are located in the US. So we intentionally distributed the nodes we donated in countries that rank low on the full bitcoin node geographic distribution list. We encourage other bitcoin companies to join us in contributing to the bitcoin ecosystem by sponsoring powerful full nodes."
It’s also important to point out that while bitcoin companies are encouraged to sponsor nodes and pick up on the slack, members of the community should do so as well, unless they want to deal with the centralization of bitcoin.
Based on everything that has been outlined so far, what do you think about BTCC’s gift to the community? Additionally, did nodes represent a concept that you were familiar with prior to this alarm signal? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.