Amid the mistrust of custody solutions and recent updates to Bitcoin Core, more Bitcoin users are starting to run their own nodes.
The summit has been reached
With 11,558 accessible nodes currently active, the number of Bitcoin nodes is at an all-time high, according to Bitnodes.io. Coin.dance, another Bitcoin network statistics tracker, calculates the total number of Bitcoin nodes at 11,613, just above the previous high of 11,250 set a year ago this month.
The Bitcoin Core software update 0.21.0 was released for public download on January 14, 2021 and is currently the fourth most used version of the software among nodes.
We currently have 619 nodes running this version of the software, which represents about 5.5% of all nodes running some versions of Bitcoin Core. Almost 5,000 nodes are still running 0.20.1, the second most recent version of the most popular Bitcoin Core.
The latest version of Bitcoin Core also offers a way to create more predictable test nets and enforces Taproot consensus rules without enabling on the main network.
The changes will eventually serve to increase privacy in Bitcoin transactions, as Taproot ensures that the outputs no longer reveal spending conditions that were unnecessarily exposed in previous implementations.
Removing differentiating features from transactions will also help Bitcoin become a more viable asset, closer to the original proposal for “digital cash” by Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of Bitcoin.
Up to 25% of all existing Bitcoin nodes are running on the hidden Tor network, which requires Bitcoin Core 0.21.0 to upgrade compatibility for Tor version 3’s hidden services. Because version 2’s hidden services will be retired at the end of this year. Running a Bitcoin client using Tor adds a layer of privacy by hiding the IP address of a connecting node.
According to Satoshi, a solid amount of independently operated nodes are vital to Bitcoin’s success, as its core value depends on its ability to decentralize. Running a node is also a more secure way to self-store Bitcoin and is an application adopted by a number of owners who are increasingly paying attention to surveillance services.