1. Only full node owners can be sure that they own BTC
Which version is “the real Bitcoin” is something the crypto ghosts disagree on. Certainly, the majority of crypto investors are holding BTC, after all the crypto currency No. 1 has by far the largest market capitalization.
But monetary sovereignty also includes subjecting one’s own BTC ownership to validation. Because anyone who trusts third parties such as wallet providers or even exchanges disregards the Bitcoin ethos “don’t trust, verify”. Only operators of BTC Full Nodes can rule out the associated uncertainties and be sure of their ownership.
So if you want to become a First Class Bitcoin Citizen, there is no way around a Full Node.
2. Verify transactions
Point two follows on seamlessly from point one. Because only those who operate a node can be sure that payments received are actually BTC. Full Nodes enforce the BTC network rules and reject all transactions that violate them.
By owning Bitcoin, you implicitly agree to the associated consensus rules – full nodes enforce this consensus.
3. Network statistics
The setting up of a Bitcoin node is also mandatory for analysts. Because anyone who has direct access to the block chain – and this is precisely the core of nodes – receives network data first-hand.
Average fees, hash rate, difficulty, size of the mempool – these are only a small selection of the enormous possibilities for scanning the block chain for relevant data. Those who do not operate a full node are consequently dependent on third parties and have no possibility to check launched data for correctness.
Satoshi Nakamoto primarily wanted to create an apolitical hard money. As such, the limitation to 21 million coins is the core of the BTC protocol. The crux: all network participants must be able to verify compliance with algorithmic monetary policy at any time – and this cannot be done without compromise.
The most prominent example is the loss of Bitcoin’s privacy. If used completely anonymously, inflation bugs, for example, could remain undetected for a long time and thus threaten Bitcoin’s core value proposition.
If Bitcoiners still want to achieve a certain degree of anonymity, they should consider a full node. This is because Bitcoiners use centralized wallets such as Ledger or Trezor to disclose all addresses and the respective BTC assets on them. Only those who generate BTC addresses themselves using the full node can take the first steps toward more private Bitcoin use.
5. Full Nodes support the network
And yes, reason number five is actually altruistic in nature. Because the more nodes are connected to the Bitcoin network, the more secure it is. Because as long as “honest” nodes can outvote attackers, Bitcoin is safe.
So if you operate a BTC node out of the above-mentioned selfishness, you are also ensuring a more robust system.
In short: Operating a full node is the only way to use Bitcoin without the help of third parties. If you want monetary sovereignty, you have to set up a node.