|Ill. av luke-jr|
Bitcoin has been around for more than seven years now and has shown its strength and resilience to be nothing short of amazing. However, as with all distributed systems there are challenges to keeping it distributed and resist centralization. The good thing is that you can help sustaining a distributed Bitcoin environment!
The scaling issue: decentralized vs. centralized
There is currently a very heated debate on the future of Bitcoin and especially the scaling issue. I will not go into detail here, but just say that one dimension of the discussion is the decentralized (used as synonym for distributed) vs. sentralized effects a change in the underlying Bitcoin software will have.
More users, more strength
Bitcoin is dependent on a network of users (nodes) in order to uphold its decentralized nature. How many users/nodes is sufficient no one knows, but the fact is that the network of Bitcoin nodes is decreasing and has been decreasing for some time. When I say Bitcoin nodes I mean nodes that run the full Bitcoin software — the Bitcoin core program. A full node means that you have an updated copy of the whole Bitcoin blockchain on your machine. The blockchain consists of all transactions ever done with Bitcoin (from 3rd of Jan. 2009) and it has grown to a size of currently more than 50 GB.
You can help
So what can you do to help the situation? You can take one of your older pc’s (stationary, laptop) and download the Bitcoin core software from here: https://bitcoin.org/en/bitcoin-core/ and make sure the program is up and running day and night. In that way you help Bitcoin stay decentralized!
BTCC has done this: Donated and deployed 100 full bitcoin nodes across five continents to support the bitcoin network.