Reasons to run your own Bitcoin node

7 reasons to consider running your own Bitcoin node right now.

Maxi Rosson
The Bitcoin Hole
Published in
6 min readJan 5


For bitcoin to function reliably and securely, it relies on the voluntary participation of thousands of individuals worldwide. Nodes, which make up the bitcoin network and verify transactions and blocks, are crucial to this process. There are many reasons to consider running your own bitcoin node, including personal benefits and the benefits to the security and resilience of the bitcoin ecosystem.

1. Improve your privacy

Operating a bitcoin node helps protect your privacy by reducing your reliance on third parties. When you use your own node, you can avoid exposing identifying information about yourself, and your transactions are relayed in the same way as any other transaction, which helps protect the identity of your node. In contrast, when you use a light wallet, the servers and nodes that you are connected to can see your IP address, all of your queries, and therefore, your balances and spending activity. This information, along with any other information you provide, such as your email address or phone number, can be used to link you to your transactions and balances. Using a node allows you to maintain greater control over your personal information and privacy.

The decision of whether to rely on a third party for bitcoin transactions is dependent on your specific needs and priorities. In some cases, a trusted third party can offer convenience and security, such as when using a mobile phone wallet or when collaborating on a custody arrangement. However, in situations where privacy is a greater concern, running a bitcoin node and connecting it to a wallet can optimize your privacy by allowing you to query, transmit, and verify your transactions directly without the need for a third party. You can also configure your node to use the Tor protocol, which helps to further protect your privacy by hiding your IP address. To further enhance your privacy, you can also use a new address to receive each payment, use separate accounts for different purposes, and be selective about which addresses you use to make each spend (a practice known as coin control). Additionally, if you use block explorers to monitor your transactions, you can host the blockchain data locally to further protect your privacy.

2. Maintain the integrity of the bitcoin network

Operating a bitcoin node helps to maintain the integrity of the bitcoin network by enforcing its ruleset, which is a set of parameters that define the specific properties and processes of the network. These rules are established by the consensus of bitcoin users and are programmed into the bitcoin code. When you run a node, you coordinate with other nodes to ensure that the rules are followed. This helps to uphold the integrity of the network and protect your investment in bitcoin, as it ensures that important rules, such as the cap on the total supply of bitcoin, are followed. Additionally, running a node gives you the ability to support or resist proposed changes to the network’s rules, known as forks, depending on your preference.

3. Get a local copy of the blockchain

Running your own bitcoin node gives you more access to information about bitcoin and the blockchain. One useful tool for this purpose is a locally-hosted block explorer, which is a search engine for the blockchain that runs on your local copy of the blockchain. A locally-hosted block explorer allows you to quickly and privately investigate useful information such as the status of pending transactions, individual wallet activity, daily transaction volumes, and more. It also offers the advantages of speed, verification, and privacy, as it is faster, references a copy of the blockchain stored on your local machine, and removes reliance on third parties.

4. Verify transactions without trusting third parties

By running a bitcoin node and connecting it to a wallet, you can independently verify the transactions you receive. This is possible because the node stores a local copy of the bitcoin ruleset and blockchain, which you can trust to be accurate. This allows you to confirm that the bitcoin you receive is legitimate, without having to rely on third parties. Additionally, running a node gives you more control over your bitcoin, as you can verify that no transactions you receive violate the network’s ruleset. This can provide peace of mind and protect your wealth. Verifying your own transactions also benefits the bitcoin network as a whole, as it reduces dependence on centralized institutions.

5. Run a Lightning node and open payment channels

The Lightning Network (LN) is a second layer on top of the bitcoin network that adds more functionality and enables faster, cheaper transactions through peer-to-peer payment channels. If you want to set up a Lightning channel with someone to transact without involving third parties, you will need to run a Lightning node. It is best to run a Lightning node in conjunction with an archival bitcoin node, although it is possible to set one up without a bitcoin node (though there may be some trade-offs in terms of privacy and security). Running a Lightning node allows you to make fast payments, pay for content online, and receive payments, and if you are willing to put in the time and effort to establish your node as a payment channel hub, you can also support the Lightning Network with liquidity and earn routing fees.

6. Help with bitcoin decentralization

Operating a bitcoin node at your own home allows you to take possession of a copy of the blockchain and ruleset and maintain it at your own physical location. This gives you control over your node and prevents censorship, while also contributing to the decentralization and security of the bitcoin network. The global distribution of the bitcoin network, with nodes in every country, helps to protect it from government restrictions and localized hazards such as power outages or natural disasters. There are two types of nodes: archival nodes, which retain a complete copy of the blockchain, and pruned nodes, which have a partial copy of the blockchain. Both types of nodes add value to the network, but archival nodes play a special role by helping to increase the redundancy of copies of the full blockchain history and providing resources for light wallets to connect to. By running an archival node, you can help reduce reliance on centralized services and further contribute to the decentralization and stability of the bitcoin network.

7. Increase your bitcoin knowledge

Even if you do not think you have an immediate need to run a bitcoin node, it is important to understand the role that nodes play and how to set one up in case you need to in the future (for example, during a controversial fork). Operating a node increases your understanding of bitcoin and the underlying components that make it work. This knowledge and experience can make bitcoin more useful to you and enable you to help others use it as well. Additionally, becoming more knowledgeable about bitcoin can allow you to contribute value to the bitcoin community by participating in debates over upgrades, and making informed decisions about new considerations that arise.

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Maxi Rosson
The Bitcoin Hole

I write about Bitcoin, Productivity tools & ideas for Android, Kotlin & Gradle developers | ⚡️