If you were one of the many thousands that attended or watched the livestream of Bitcoin 2022, then right about now the euphoric energy is starting to drop. There were so many great discussions covering home mining, running a node, the Lightning Network, payment systems and adoption — it felt like the big topics were being hit on constantly. Now if this is your first time down the rabbit hole it can seem overwhelming as well as exciting. You may be wondering, where do I start? Maybe home mining is a little too difficult for your skillset at the moment or cost prohibitive, but what about building your own node? Many people new to the Bitcoin space confuse bitcoin mining with running a node; however it is a completely separate process.
Home mining requires a lot of capital to purchase the necessary miners — as this one example shows — to operate an at-home process. There are many companies out there that provide home and/or work solutions such as Upstream Data. Also, here’s an example of the fun you can have with home mining if you wish to make the jump in feet first: “How To Heat Your Home With Bitcoin Mining.”
In contrast, building a DIY Bitcoin node at home can be achieved with just a few hundred dollars in hardware, a few days’ time and no hammering of your thumb or excessive swearing.
If you didn’t have the chance to catch this presentation on Bitcoin and Lightning, then I suggest you give this a watch.
Let’s say you decide you want to participate in securing the Bitcoin blockchain by running your own node. Where do you start and what software project do you decide to go with? I’ll mention a few projects out there and you can decide based on which suits your needs. These projects have a lot of overlapping services, so give each a lookover and decide based on your skillset that suits your needs.
This is near and dear to my heart. This was a project I discovered four years ago. It has the look and feel that reminds me of green terminals back in the day. This isn’t a knock on the RaspiBlitz project. Their approach is just different — they integrate services, you pick a service from the menu, do some command line code, and you are off and running. No bells and whistles, it just works. So, if you can look past the Skynet UI, or you’re an old dev who misses that look then give this project a try. All the services and features, as well as approximate hardware cost can be found on their GitHub repository in the link above.
This is another node provider. Their EmbassyOS suite is fantastic in terms of the services offered and has a slick design. With Start9, you have a couple of options — you can get a custom prebuilt device found at the Start9 store or you can BYOH (bring your own hardware) and purchase their OS found in this DIY guide.
This is another neat project. They also have similar overlapping services as the two mentioned above. Umbrel offers a DIY on a Raspberry Pi, and has a friendly UI/UX experience that many are already accustomed to. Their look, their feel, as well as user experience is great.
Now this project is different from the others mentioned above. This project does all the heavy lifting inside a cloud service, so this way you don’t have to buy hardware or be your own IT support when hardware fails. This is a “no hardware / no fuss” setup, just log in to your dashboard and manage your node. Pick the services you need, and you are on your way, pretty simple and easy.
This is a call to action to the people out there who have been sitting on the sidelines pondering the question, “Do I build a Bitcoin node or not?” Do it already. With the exception of Voltage, building a DIY Bitcoin node can vary on price based on the hardware. I would suggest budgeting $350 aside to cover hardware costs. These four projects I mentioned are just a handful of the many more out there that I didn’t talk about. They all have similar services and features. Don’t get hung up on the technical nuances of all the DIY projects. Pick one and do it already. Once you dig into the DIY Bitcoin node rabbit hole I guarantee you, your self-sovereign Bitcoin life will change forever.
This is a guest post by Anthony Feliciano. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.