There’s a lot of reference of "bitcoin node" in official FAQ or elsewhere.

But, what is exactly a bitcoin node ?

Is it a client like Bitcoin-qt or is it only a miner ? Or both ?


2 Answers 2


Bitcoin node refers to a "full" client. A "full" client is a client that owns the block chain and that is sharing blocks and transaction across the network. In opposite a Lightweight client can not be considered as a node because he doesn't share the block chain with the network.

Bitcoin network uses a client to client network infrastructure so there is no difference between a mining client and a non-mining client, they don't have any privileges.

  • 1
    Miner doesn’t need the full blockchain to operate, does they ? (I’ve mined bitcoin/litecoin in a pool without running a client)
    – paulgreg
    Dec 14, 2013 at 17:48
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    When you are mining for a pool with a software like cgminer you are getting 'work' from the pool that is running a Bitcoin client. The pool is sending you a partial header for a new block and you'll try a lot of nonces (random numbers) in order to find one that generates a very low block header hash with a lot of zeros. Cgminer is not a client at all it is just a program that is just doing basic calculations for the pool. I edited my answer to avoid any confusion between mining client and miner.
    – Jan Moritz
    Dec 14, 2013 at 22:06
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    Mining without the full blockchain is only possible if you trust someone to tell you what the legitimate blockchain is. In the case of pooled mining, you're trusting the pool to not be evil (and, say, have you work on an alternate blockchain so that the pool's operators can do double-spends; only a major risk if they're >50% of Bitcoin's power).
    – Tim S.
    Mar 14, 2014 at 17:12

"Node" refers to any computer that's running Bitcoin client software and participating in the peer-to-peer network by relaying transactions and blocks. It could also be mining, but it doesn't have to.

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