Bitcoin’s Blockchain is Growing as Block Size Nears 180 GB in Size, Full Node Implication Concerns


The Problem Concerning Bitcoin’s Blockchain Growth

Bitcoin (BTC) was created as the first open-source digital currency supported by blockchain technology where transactions are made to buy goods or services using bitcoin. All transactions are verified by network nodes and are then recorded on the blockchain, which acts as a public distributed ledger.  The total size of the bitcoin’s blockchain is rapidly growing and this has implications for the future of running Bitcoin nodes. It is now difficult to download and run a full Bitcoin node due to its large size currently at 178.8 GB as of 14 August 2018.

The Biggest Problem: Blockchain Download Time

It takes weeks sometimes months to download the whole blockchain with a fast reliable internet connection.  This is because while the blockchain is being downloaded, every transaction is also being validated and there are over 225,526 Transactions carried out in a day. This is very impractical and does not provide suitable conditions for Bitcoin users to download and run a full node. It also makes it equally impractical for them to use the Bitcoin Core wallet software.

Currently there are 9,637 full Bitcoin nodes in the world. This number has been declining since March 2018 from a peak near 10,500. This is insufficient for the growing number of Bitcoin users in the world which is approximately over 25 million. An increase in the number of nodes will also lead to further problems as the blockchain download time will increase further. So far the Bitcoin network can be considered unhealthy due to fewer nodes meaning there are less people running a full version of Bitcoin and choosing online wallets making it less secure and increasing risk across the bitcoin world.

Way Forward

Bitcoin requires a full blockchain history to function hence this problem may be fixed with faster internet connection and computers that have more storage. A computer must also have a full and current version of the blockchain. Most high-end computers have 1 TB of storage and these computers will be able to download the entire Bitcoin blockchain for more than a decade. Hard drive sizes on high-end computers will likely continue to increase, so there should always be a suitable computer for people wanting to run a Bitcoin node. This will make the Bitcoin network healthier. It is faster to download the Bitcoin blockchain via torrent.

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