Why don't full nodes who are not miners get compensated for running, storing and validating the network?

  • 4
    Your compensation for validation is your own security :)
    – darosior
    Dec 11 '20 at 12:49
  • 1
    Security + Privacy + Not depending on third parties + Enforce consensus rules
    – Prayank
    Dec 11 '20 at 14:17
  • My guess: simply because they couldn't figure out a way to do it. Fake full nodes are cheap, so what stops me running 100000 of them and getting 100000 times the compensation?
    – user253751
    Dec 11 '20 at 20:14

I don't think Satoshi ever answered this question so we can't be 100 percent sure on the rationale but it was clearly the right decision. Firstly, at least today (if not when released) it is orders of magnitudes more expensive to mine a block or contribute material hashpower to a mining pool than it is to run a full node. Secondly, it would be extremely difficult to locate all the full nodes on the network to distribute what would be a miniscule reward. The full nodes would need a way of telling the network what Bitcoin address they wanted to receive their "full node reward" to. Thirdly, it would cost a lot in transaction fees and take up a lot of limited block space to create an output for every single full node (tens of thousands exist) on the network every block to distribute the reward. Fourthly, many full nodes connect and disconnect to the network regularly. So you would need a way of monitoring all connections and disconnections to work out whether the full node deserved a "full node reward" for a particular block.

I'm sure there are many other reasons not to do this but hopefully the above convinces you that this is not a viable idea!

  • 1
    I don't think Satoshi anticipated mining pools or ASICs and probably assumed all full nodes would always be mining. There is also a potential revenue stream using lightning network for example to serve light clients. But I agree with @darosior - you don't run a full node to earn money, you do it because that's the most secure private decentralized way to use bitcoin.
    – pinhead
    Dec 12 '20 at 15:48

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