Running a Bitcoin node is far less of a hassle than most people want to think. Services like Umbrel make it very straightforward to “become Bitcoin”. The entire process can be completed within a few minutes.
Why Umbrel Exists
There are many reasons to run a Bitcoin node. It helps support and secure the overall network in many different ways. Every node further decentralizes the network, which is how Bitcoin was always envisioned to be. According to Bitnodes, there are currently 7.753 active bitcoin nodes on the network. A decent amount, but there is always room for improvement.
A lot of people are hesitant to explore this option due to the technical side of things. It seems daunting to get up and running, even though the process has been simplified significantly. Other than obtaining a few bits of hardware, everything else can be virtually automated with the help of Umbrel. They reduce the technical knowledge requirement to nearly zero, making everything a breeze.
It is also worth noting that there are no software-related costs associated with this project. Users can run a Bitcoin node or even explore the Lightning Network if they prefer that option. Although the service is still in beta, there should be no major issues for most users. Following a few best practices on keeping funds safe is advised, however.
What Hardware do I Need?
As is often the case when there is a Bitcoin node to be set up, the hardware required is not too expensive. The following items will get the job done easily.
- Raspberry Pi 4 with 4GB (or 8GB) RAM and official power supply
- 500GB+ External SSD (1TB recommended)
- 16GB+ microSD Card
- Ethernet Cable
Steps to follow include downloading Umbrel OS to one’s computer and putting it on the SD card. One tool to do so is Balena Etcher, which makes the process very easy. Once flashed, the SD card is put into the Raspberry Pi. At this stage, users are advised to connect their external SSD via USB. Any data stored on the drive will be wiped, however.
The native Umbrel OS will run through the entire setup process on its own. Eventually, users will see it has completed. Accessing the node can be done through a web browser of any device on the same network by visiting http://umbral.local. It requires a few more steps from that point forward, but nothing to be concerned about. All in all, a very easy and accessible way to get a Bitcoin node up and running.
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