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By reading different questions/answers on the bitcoin full node subject, I am still wondering if there are any "added value" in running a full node as an individual.

Most of the "everyday life" people don't know much about computing and network. They don't know anything about NAT, DHCP, router configuration, process, daemon, etc. They don't necessarily want to bother with config files, don't care about command lines or complicated options and so on. And they live and sleep very well without knowing that!

So I am wondering if there are / what are the benefits in running a full node as an individual:

  • benefits for the network

    If I run a full node without activating NAT on my Internet access router/modem (and then not being able to accept new connexions), is it pointless? Am I doing good or bad by doing this? Am I securing the whole thing for example? Other benefits?

  • benefits for the individual

    What are the benefits for the individual who runs a full node at home, behind the ISP router/modem? Let's take the assumption that this individual is the owner of some bitcoins (so he/she has at least a slight interest in the domain). Will he/she benefits from faster transaction for example? More secure transactions? Other benefits?

Could someone clarify that for me?

Thanks

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benefits for the network

Maybe, but barely.

If your node happens to connect out to a number of reachable nodes that aren't well connected by themselves, and you have a fast connection to both, it is possible that you improve relay of transactions and blocks between them. This is unlikely to be significant on itself, as reachable nodes can typically accept many connections, so there are many chances for other nodes than yours to do this as well. However, the effect of a large number of node operations choosing to do this or not may be significant.

benefits for the individual

Absolutely, and in my opinion, this is the only reason you should (or shouldn't) run a full node.

It makes you independent.

If you run a full node, and use it to validate incoming transactions, nobody can send you an invalid transaction. There are other ways of accomplishing the same, but they all rely on trusting other parties.

And even if you don't use it to verify incoming transactions that affect you, it makes sure that miners cannot change the rules of the network without you knowing.

  • Thanks for your answer Pieter. Regarding your last sentence "it makes sure that miners cannot change the rules of the network without you knowing", what do you mean? What kind of "rules change" could the miners do? – Xavier R. Jun 1 '17 at 12:01
  • If nobody checks whether blocks that miners produce, they could change any and all rules. The reason full nodes do full validation is to make sure they cannot produce blocks that are invalid according to the preexisting rules. – Pieter Wuille Jun 1 '17 at 16:02
  • OK. So miners do the work and full nodes validate miners' work. So that's a benefit for the network. Thanks. – Xavier R. Jun 1 '17 at 18:26

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