I can assume that every currency is basically consists of two major components:

  • The protocol
  • The history of every coin

In Bitcoin the history is protected against modification by miners hash power and protocol is protected against changes and hard forks by full nodes. Miners unilaterally can change history of transactions and perform double spend attack, on the other hand nodes can single handedly change protocol rules (for example change the supply cap). And neither side can prevent the other side from performing such malicious actions. Miners are incentivised to invest hardware and electricity to generate new coins and consequently making the history more rigid against any modification. But nodes are not incentivised in such a way.

By reading the whitepaper I realized that at the very early days of Bitcoin there was no distinction between node and miner.

My question is that shouldn't nodes also be incentivised to protect the rules and stay with the majority? I mean is this intrinsically correct for the system to pay for nodes that are protecting the rules?

1 Answer 1


Nodes don't protect the protocol, users do (by using, not just running, software that implements the rules they believe the system should have). But a node on itself doesn't accomplish anything: if someone were to spin up 1000 nodes, and never look at which blocks or transactions it accepts or reject, then these nodes are utterly irrelevant for protecting the protocol.

But even if it were somehow possible to ignore this distinction, and only identify nodes whose decisions are economically relevant to some user(s), who would be incentivized to pay them? As a Bitcoin node runner and user myself, I don't want to pay someone to act like they have the same beliefs about what protocol properties are valuable. I want them to actually believe it.

  • How running a node doesn't accomplish anything? If more people run the Bitcoin Core isn't it harder for a miner to violate the 21million supply cap? And if very few Bitcoin Core nodes are running isn't it easier for the attacker to create a coinbase transaction that spend himself much more than what was supposed to be in the protocol? Commented Nov 8, 2023 at 7:26
  • No, none of those things have any effect, if nobody looks at those nodes. If someome looks to violate e.g. the inflation schedule, full nodes (that implement that rule) will reject transactions/blocks/chains that contain violations. But them rejecting stuff has no effect if nobody uses those nodes directly or indirectly as wallet. Commented Nov 8, 2023 at 12:12
  • But if majority of nodes reject transactions/blocks that violate the rules they will never be part of the blockchain. Isn't it right? Also with my understanding this reasoning can apply to mining too."If nobody consider specific block that a miner has mined as a valid block, that block will never be part of the blockchain, because users consider the other chain as valid" Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 14:57
  • @AmirrezaRiahi No, that is not how it works. If a block violates the consensus rules of your node, then your node will never consider it part of the blockchain. It is entirely irrelevant what other nodes do. There is no voting; everyone verifies the rules independently. Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 15:20
  • This is different from mining: if a majority of the hashpower rejects a certain block, and thus refuses to build on top of it, then eventually that block will not be part of the best chain, as an alternative chain will form that grows faster. But this has nothing to do with nodes, it's just mining power. Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 15:29

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