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Why didn't bitcoin make miners and nodes one in the same? It seems that the miner computers are not being used at all in for the network. Also their gpu power is not being used for the sake of the network -- they just solve some random problem that has no practical purpose (?) other than solving it and getting some coins in return?

  • My understanding is that solo miners and mining pools do act as nodes. I'm not sure what you mean. – Nick ODell Aug 14 '17 at 16:55
  • I read that nodes (aka full nodes) are something entirely different – foreyez Aug 14 '17 at 16:56
  • You can run a full node without mining. In theory, you could SPV mine without validating blocks too. – Nick ODell Aug 14 '17 at 16:59
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Miners are nodes, but nodes are not necessarily miners. In order for a miner to be able to mine blocks, they must be a node on the network. Otherwise they won't receive previous blocks to build on top of. So miners are nodes.

In the original Bitcoin whitepaper and the original Bitcoin client, nodes and miners were one and the same. However this is no longer the case as the cost of mining has gone up significantly. It is possible to run a node without mining, which is what many people do.

Also their gpu power is not being used for the sake of the network -- they just solve some random problem that has no practical purpose (?) other than solving it and getting some coins in return?

No, that is incorrect in many ways. First of all, mining is no longer done with GPUs. Secondly, the Proof of Work is done to secure the blockchain. The proof of work means that in order to make a block, you must perform a certain amount of work. So to replace a block in the blockchain, you must perform the same amount of work as was done for that block, and the work for all of the blocks that build on top of it. This makes changing the blockchain extremely difficult and costly as it requires doing massive amounts of work, so the blockchain is fairly immutable. So the proof of work is not pointless at all, it secures the blockchain.

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Why didn't bitcoin make miners and nodes one in the same?

Because some people need to run nodes to perform transactions and have no interest in mining. Some people have miners that are optimized for mining but don't wish to expend the resources on running a node.

It seems that the miner computers are not being used at all in for the network.

I'm not sure what you're referring to exactly, but miners do use computers to control and manage their mining operations.

Also their gpu power is not being used for the sake of the network -- they just solve some random problem that has no practical purpose (?) other than solving it and getting some coins in return?

It's been a long time since bitcoin mining was done on GPUs. But it's important to understand that mining is the way bitcoin solves the double spend problem. It's not a random problem, it's the problem of ensuring that everyone eventually agrees on which bitcoin transactions are valid. It's a very specific problem whose solution serves a very specific purpose.

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