“Are you running the numbers?”
This is what Bitcoin Core developer Andrew Chow is trying to find out in a new survey.
Sponsored by a grant from MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative, Chow crafted the survey “to get answers from people who are not current users” about why they don’t run a Bitcoin Core full node, the wallet software which simultaneously keeps a record of Bitcoin’s transaction history and connects users to other peers in the network.
Bitcoin full nodes are like servers so, if you’re not running your own to broadcast transactions to the wider network, then you’re relying on someone else’s.
Moreover, a full node offers users complete control over what encoded rules they want to follow, as well as the ability to independently verify a variety of network data. The popular Bitcoin memes “One node, one vote” and “Run the numbers” demonstrate that these principles of self-verifiability and freedom of choice are core principles for Bitcoin’s most fervent followers.
In short, running a full node is the ultimate exercise in financial self-determination in the Bitcoin realm.
So that’s why Chow launched the survey, which runs until March 2, to give developers an “idea of the biggest barriers facing people who might want to run a node but currently do not.” The inspiration came from a conversation with fellow developers about the removal of a little-known wallet feature for Bitcoin Core.
“Several months ago, a few other Bitcoin Core developers and I were discussing the removal of a feature called zapwallettxes. The main question that we had was whether anyone actually used it. This basically led to the general sentiment of wishing to know how users actually use Bitcoin Core,” he told CoinDesk in a direct message.
Bitcoin Core usage survey
The survey’s first questions establish the basics: where are you from, how’d you find the survey, do you run a Bitcoin Core full node?
If the respondent replies that they do run a node, the…