[Bitcoin-development] Bootstrapping full nodes post-pruning

Mike Hearn mike at plan99.net
Sun Jun 10 23:06:50 UTC 2012

Apologies if this has been discussed elsewhere. I don't recall us ever
reaching a solid conclusion on it.

A node that has pruned its block chain cannot serve the chain to new
nodes. So there are three options for bootstrapping a newly installed

1) Have some kind of special archival nodes that never prune
(advertised via the services field?). Encourage people to run them,

2) Ship a post-pruning block chain and tx index with the client
downloads, so the client starts up already bootstrapped.

3) Some combination of both. It's safe to assume some people will keep
unpruned chains around no matter what. But for many users (2) is
easiest and archival nodes would be put under less load if they were
used only by users who wish to fully bootstrap from only the code.

I remember some people, Greg in particular, who were not a fan of
approach (2) at all, though it has the benefit of speeding startup for
new users as there's no indexing overhead.

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