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I have a fully synced, non-pruned Bitcoin Core on this computer.

I have an almost-fully synced, pruned Bitcoin Core on another computer.

What exactly is the motivation for keeping those 368.5 GB of "unnecessary" data? Aren't those old transactions "accounted for" with the "data bundling" that goes on with pruned wallets? Are pruned wallets/nodes less secure somehow? Why is it necessary for any node to keep all this data if it's not actually necessary once it's been "accounted for"?

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There are three things pruned Bitcoin Core nodes (as of version 0.21.0) cannot do:

  • Serve historical blocks to new nodes that are trying to bootstrap.
  • Rescan for old wallet transactions after importing more addresses.
  • The getrawtransaction RPC for retrieving arbitrary transactions.

Validation (and security in general) are unaffected.

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  • 2. Does that mean that any time I want to switch temporarily (or permanently) to a new wallet.dat, it has to do something such as fetching tons of data from other nodes? Or that I cannot ever change the wallet.dat when pruning? 3. Is this useful for anything? – T Kalpakoff Jan 23 at 19:19
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    A new wallet doesn’t need rescanning because it is implied that it has no previous transactions. Loading an old wallet from backup may need a non pruned node, depending how old the wallet is and how much data was pruned. – Anonymous Jan 23 at 19:21

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