Every blockchain or cryptocurrency network is only as strong as its nodes. Having more node operators often leads to better decentralization and resilience. Bitcoin currently has over 11,600 reachable nodes.
More Bitcoin Nodes Pop Up
It is pertinent to see more Bitcoin nodes come online every year. In the past 165 days, 815 connectable node operators have joined the network. One can argue this is a relatively small number, although it doesn’t have to be. There can never be enough node operators for Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency network.
What makes these numbers interesting is how it shows the growing “reach” of the Bitcoin network. Operating a full network node requires a bit of effort to set up but has become less complicated in recent months. The average number of reachable nodes is 10,405 for the past year, a number that will hopefully double throughout this decade.
Delving deeper into the statistics, a lot of operators still rely on an IPv4 connection. Whether that is a good idea remains to be seen. There is a finite number of IPv4 addresses to go around. Eventually, they will all have to switch to the new IPv6 standard, representing 11.4% of all node operators.
It is also worth noting more nodes show up as reachable via the Onion network or Tor. Introducing a degree of privacy for Bitcoin nodes is never a bad idea, especially with governments putting the world’s leading cryptocurrency in their crosshairs. The number of .onion nodes is likely to see a substantial increase over the next few years.
Easier Setup Process Is Beneficial
Until a few months ago, setting up a Bitcoin node was relatively complicated. Today, there are multiple service providers capable of getting users up and running with minimal effort. Umbrel even provides a convenient user interface, guiding newcomers and advanced users through the entire process.
Lowering the barriers to entry is crucial to paving the way for broader Bitcoin adoption. Whether it is as an investor, speculator, developer, or node operator, every new user further decentralizes the network. This growth cannot stagnate under any circumstance; thus every bit of positive attention is welcome.
Now that the process of becoming a Bitcoin node operator is a lot more straightforward, there’s no reason for individual users not to explore this option. The hardware requirements are neither steep nor expensive. A big boom in Bitcoin nodes remains likely. Setting up a Lightning Network node may be worthwhile too.