[bitcoin-dev] Considering starting a toy full-node implementation. Any advice?

John C. Vernaleo john at netpurgatory.com
Wed Nov 7 16:19:26 UTC 2018

One point on the dataset issue that I learned early on in the btcd days:
you will be downloading the blockchain over and over again and that is not 
good for an ssd or even worse an sd card.  I broke more than one sd card 
making sure btcd worked on a raspberry pi.

John C. Vernaleo, Ph.D.
john at netpurgatory.com

On Wed, 7 Nov 2018, Артём Литвинович via bitcoin-dev wrote:

> Hi there.
> Been there, done that.
> -Don't try to set big goals at once.
> Start small and aim for small steps, i.e. by connecting to nodes, then
> getting some data from them, then downloading blocks, then parsing
> blocks, then building an UTXO set, etc.
> My first long term goal was to simply compute the balance of an address.
> -Expect to work with huge and varied sets of data.
> You'll have to build and use tens of Gb of indexes, for example.
> Early transactions also have all sorts of non-standard scripts, and
> testnet have all sorts of weird non-standard scripts, so plan
> accordingly.
> -Don't write off making a wallet or mining.
> The latter is easy to do on CPU on testnet and learning to make valid
> blocks helps a lot in understanding how things work.
> A wallet, on the other hand, gives you good understanding of keys and
> transactions, especially if you want to try doing all the EC math
> yourself.
> I also wrote things to be generic between several forks and chains,
> like Litecoin, Doge, Zcash and a bunch of now-dead alts - there is so
> little difference between many of them that all it takes is a
> parameter or two. Helps with perspective.
> Naturally, stay away from mainnets and real money if you do your own
> wallet and crypto.
> -Don't get too excited when you'd see exploitable signatures.
> All of them were plundered years ago, and by now no one makes mistakes
> like that.
> Also, there are plenty of bots which are constantly scanning the chain
> for weak keys and signatures, any new ones will be gone in a few
> seconds.
> -Expect cthulhus. There used to be plenty of artwork and puzzles in
> the early blockchain.
> Here is a short write up with a few of the things i found: https www
> dot ribbonfarm dot
> com/2017/07/20/the-ominouslier-roar-of-the-bitcoin-wave/
> For references, good ones i found and used were:
> https bitcoin dot org/en/developer-reference
> https en dot bitcoin dot it/wiki/Protocol_documentation
> Also, BIPs contain a lot of specific details: https github dot com/bitcoin/bips
> That should get you started, and by the time you get into the devilish
> details you'll have to look at the code for reference.
> No idea about 3), haven't looked at it.
> Good luck and have fun.
> -Artem
> ср, 7 нояб. 2018 г. в 15:01, <bitcoin-dev-request at lists.linuxfoundation.org>:
>> Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2018 23:21:11 +0200
>> From: rze <rzeqeu at gmail.com>
>> To: bitcoin-dev at lists.linuxfoundation.org
>> Subject: [bitcoin-dev] Considering starting a toy full-node implementation. Any advice?
>> Hello,
>> I'm considering to start developing a toy full validating node implementation (no wallet, no mining) for educational purposes.
>> Some questions:
>> 1) which resource do you suggest for as a reference for the protocol?
>> 2) which part do you suggest to start with?
>> 3) I was thinking to use btcd as a reference since I'm not familiar with C++ (bitcoind)
>> 4) are there any other general advice or tips for such endeavours?
>> Thanks in advance.
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