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Only two days ago, a bug was found and exploited on the Bitcoin Unlimited client, which led a large portion of BU nodes to go offline. The problem was fixed and the BU node count has since recovered. In light of these recent events, running a Bitcoin Core node may be the safest choice available.
Overall, more Bitcoin nodes translate into a faster, more stable, and more decentralized network. Running your own full node is the only way to have full control and to ensure that all the rules of Bitcoin are being followed. In this sense, nodes are more important than hash power as they are the ones that verify that the blockchain is following the rules. According to Bitcoin Wiki:. However, lightweight nodes do not do this. Lightweight nodes do whatever the majority of mining power says. Therefore, if most of the miners got together to increase their block reward, for example, lightweight nodes would blindly go along with it.
A web-based wallet requires you to trust the central node through which your transactions are broadcasted and even lightweight clients like Electrum require that you trust their servers. Running a full node of the client you support is also an indirect way of voting, which shows miners what rule set the users overwhelmingly support.
Using a centralized, lightweight or even SPV wallet will never be as private as running a full node. This is true both for online wallets and lightweight clients. SPV nodes that rely on bloom filters leak considerable information about the addresses of Bitcoin users. To less than tech-savvy users, running a full node may seem like a challenge. However, running a Bitcoin core full node is nothing more than simply downloading the latest Bitcoin core client version and running it.
The Bitcoin blockchain is over GB in size, so it may take a while to synchronize your node initially. If in doubt, you can find instructions that detail the process for multiple operating systems on Bitcoin.
Running a node will require you to keep your computer on at all times — or at least for the majority of the day. While you can always turn your node on and off at will with this option, it is not a very practical one.
Many users decide not to host their nodes locally on a physical computer, but rather on a rented virtual server. Some users have also resorted to hosting nodes on far less demanding machines than computers.
Are you planning to run you own Bitcoin node? Which client would you choose? Let us know what you think below!