21 Inc, the best-financed Bitcoin company, has now made a pledge to support the network because of dwindling nodes.
CEO Balaji Srinivasan said yesterday in a co-authored blog post that the company wants to maintain this “critical amount” of full nodes and make them attractive because they form the collective “backbone” that stores and transmits all Bitcoin transactions.
Today there are 12% fewer Full Nodes than last year at the same time. The strength of the network lies in its distributed design, but the continuous resolution of the network means that it becomes less stable.
You can read in the post about Bitcoin loophole:
“Full Bitcoin loophole Nodes help the Bitcoin loophole network maintain its health by checking blocks and transactions, and then handing those checked transactions over to simple clients and other Full Nodes… As simple clients now make up a significant and growing part of the network, it is of the utmost importance that we help them maintain their high level of security – which in turn means having a critical amount of Full Nodes.”
To achieve this, 21 has teamed up with the BitNodes Project, founded in 2013. This project by developer Addy Yeow aims to assess the health of the network by finding all accessible nodes.
Yeow’s index works its way through the network every five minutes to count the number of working full nodes. According to the blog post, the company will host this service “on a permanent basis”.
Unlike Miners, Node doesn’t get freshly scooped Bitcoins for its computing power: they are often created on a selfless basis by enthusiasts.
Yeows Bitnodes Incentive Program, which can award a reward to Nodes, is supposed to help. This weekly incentive grows as they join the network. For example, for 5,000 or more there is up to $10 and for 9,000 or more there is $30.
At the moment it is still unclear whether the program will pay off, as there are only 175 eligible of 5,974 nodes in the network at editorial time. The lower limit was 5,000. However, 21 promises to extend this scheme to buyers of their 21 Bitcoin computer. This came on the market two weeks ago and is their first consumer product, as various reports show.
The post also shows:
“As a generalization of the Bitnodes Incentive Scheme, they will explore more Bitcoins with a 21 Bitcoin computer if they run it in full node mode. Consider it a bonus BTC that you deserve to be a good member of the Bitcoin community.”
All the company’s products will have Full Node functionality as factory default, the company says, but it is still unclear whether the compensation of users of the 21 computer will depend on Bitnodes reaching a certain number.
In February, Yeow Coindesk declared that he would finance the program himself. Whether 21 will now provide these rewards remains unclear.