About this project
Many people who use bitcoin would like to support the network by running a full node, but don't want to burden their home computer and deal with the power costs and noise.
The raspnode is a plug-n-play bitcoin full node the size of a mouse that runs without any noise and only costs a penny or two a day for power. The raspnode allows anyone to run a bitcoin full node 24/7.
Bitcoin has been growing steadily. With companies like Microsoft, Newegg, Overstock.com, Expedia, TigerDirect, Dish Network, Dell, etc... accepting bitcoin more and more people have started to see the benefits of this new currency and usage has surged. However while usage is growing, the number of bitcoin full nodes has been steadily declining. Getting as many people as possible to run a bitcoin full node will reverse this trend and strengthen the network.
The raspnode can be used as a bitcoin wallet, a developer node for either mainnet or testnet, or simply to support the network.
Most of the kickstarter funds will go to the hardware. Some will go to web hosting fees, packaging and shipping the raspnodes, and my time to put some finishing touches to truly make the device plug-n-play, such as writing a few custom scripts.
The raspnode is a Raspberry Pi 2 micro computer running Raspbian (Debian Wheezy) with bitcoin core installed and some custom scripts. It also uses an external USB flash drive to store the blockchain (a distributed ledger) which can be upgraded when more storage space becomes necessary. A 64GB drive should last over a year and a 128GB drive much longer.
Each raspnode comes with a randomly generated unique login password for high security (you can change it if desired) and the bitcoinrpc password will also be a randomly generated unique passphrase (which you can also change if desired).
The raspnodes will be made from an existing image, but if yours includes wallet functionality, each wallet.dat file will be deleted and so regenerated with unique private keys before shipping. However, it would be good practice to delete the wallet.dat file once you get the raspnode before running it, just to ensure uniqueness of private keys and no possibility of the keys existing elsewhere.
For networking, the choices are:
- Ethernet (if plugging directly into your router) DEFAULT
- Wifi (if you want to store your raspnode away from your router)
For bitcoin core, the choices are:
- Wallet and GUI (if you want to use the core wallet with the graphical interface) DEFAULT
- Wallet and No GUI (if you plan on scripting your own software to control bitcoind)
- No Wallet and No GUI (if you plan on plugging it in and walking away, for the sole purpose of supporting the network)
For more information or for detailed Do-It-Yourself steps for those who wish to hack it themselves, visit the raspnode website:
Risks and challenges
There are four main tasks left.
The first is writing some bash scripts and using cron or something to monitor bitcoin core and memory usage to ensure bitcoin core starts up again smoothly if it crashes for any reason, and to gracefully shut it down and restart it before it ends up in a state where it could crash.
The second is even simpler, using an init or rc script to have bitcoin automatically start on boot.
The third is to write some simple scripts to handle shutdown and other tasks.
The fourth is to write detailed instructions and plan packaging.
I've spent years dealing with Linux servers for massive distributed systems in data centers and building programs. The monitoring and scripting needed here are very simple, it's just a matter of putting in some time and doing plenty of testing on the finished product.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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