[bitcoin-dev] Small Nodes: A Better Alternative to Pruned Nodes

David Kaufman david at gigawatt.com
Fri Apr 21 13:35:51 UTC 2017

Hi Danny,

On Mon, Apr 17, 2017 at 3:11 AM, Danny Thorpe wrote:
> 1TB HDD is now available for under $40 USD.  How is the 100GB storage
> requirement preventing anyone from setting up full nodes?

Yeah, but that's because most people (well, using myself as the
"target market" anyway) are upgrading to SSD's for the faster boot and
response times.  Modern consumer OS's run incredibly slow on
non-ssd drives!  And since the vast majority of consumer laptops sold
today fall into the $400 to $700 range, a 200 - 500gb SSD is about the
most storage upgrade people can afford.

And so I think David's premise, that having to devote only 30GB to
running a full node instead of 100, would remove a major obstacle that
prevents many more people running full bitcoin nodes.

My only suggestion is, does it scale?  I mean, if the bitcoin network
volume grows exponentially and in 2 years the blockchain is 500GB, can
the "small node" be adjusted down from one fifth of the blockchain to
just one-tenth, or one twentieth?  Can different smalInesses
interoperate? Can I choose to store a small node with 20 - 30% of the
blockchain, while others chose to share just 5% or 10% of it? Can I run
"less small" node today that's 50GB?

Can the default install be a "small node" that requires about 30GB of
storage (if that is indeed the sweet spot for enticing many more users to
bringing nodes online), but allow the user at install time, to choose *how*
small? To, say, drag a slider anywhere up and down the range from
10GB to 100GB?

If not, then it will have to be revisited constantly as the blockchain
grows, and disk storage prices drop.  I suspect the blockchain will
grow in size, at some point in the not too distant future, much faster
than storage prices drop, so making small, smaller and smallest nodes
that can be configured to store more or less of it will be necessary
to motivate most users to run nodes at all.  But when that happens,
there is likely to be exponentially *more* people using bitcoin, too!
So an exponentially growing number of users running (smaller and
smaller) nodes would take up the slack.

Then, the blockchain would begin to look a lot more like a bittorrent,
right? ;-) but -- happily -- one that you never need to download fully.


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