The infrastructure that underpins Bitcoin advances along a route that allows it to be easier for anyone to operate. This is the path through which developer Alexis Sellier travels, who has brought to light the project he is working on. It is a lightweight Bitcoin node capable of running on mobile devices with the same security and privacy offered by full nodes.
Full Bitcoin nodes act as financial security systems, validating transactions of the blockchain of the first of the cryptocurrencies and protecting users from being deceived by someone who makes them believe they have received money, when in fact they have not. But they take up a lot of computing space and their size is growing rapidly since the registry of their blockchain weighs more than 300 gigabytes, after having marked a growth of almost 25% during 2020.
Since These nodes are the most “reliable” way to use Bitcoin, developers have long tried to facilitate their use. This was what led Sellier to work on a project that offers the ease of running on any platform, be it mobile or desktop without sacrificing user privacy or security .
The newsletter of the Bitcoin Trading Technology Group (Bitcoin Optech) published this week, reports on the launch of Nakamoto , the thin client developed by Sellier for easy integration with mobile applications. This is because it is written in Rust, but has an external function interface that makes it easy to link with programs based on other programming languages such as Python, Java or Swift.
The project is just in its first stage of development, so it still has a long way to go before users can start using it with the idea of setting their flag of financial self-sovereignty. But, appears to be the first embryo of a new generation of lightweight nodes. For now, it is available in its first version with only basic functionalities, as Sellier points out in his technical description .
A lightweight and private Bitcoin node
The lightweight nodes are capable of reducing the size of the transaction history of the Bitcoin chain to as little as 2 gigabytes, roughly the necessary size to store a movie. They operate under the Simplified Payment Verification (SPV) procedure that does not require as much computer storage space as a full node.
However, SPV nodes do not preserve user privacy as well and are more susceptible to attack than full nodes. This is precisely where the Nakamoto project is presented as an initiative that can make a difference with other options available today. Their proposal is based on the BIP157 protocol which overcomes many of the problems that today’s thin clients present.
What makes a Bitcoin node a lightweight version is that they minimize the amount of bandwidth, storage space and computing required to operate. To achieve this, they only download a fraction of the Bitcoin blockchain and work without checking the validity of all the blocks on the longest chain. To solve this, Nakamoto enables compact blocks that allow you to securely synchronize the entire chain of blocks without requiring more storage space, or depending on a trusted source.
This This way it runs under the SPV procedure, but with the ability to effectively detect malicious or faulty peers that serve invalid filters, as full nodes do. In addition, it allows privacy to improve because blocks can be downloaded from any source, so that no peer gets complete information about the data required by a customer.
Lightweight, but safe
Security is the other element that Nakamoto relies on. On this, Sellier comments that one of his concerns is that attacks directed at applications that tend to integrate with nodes are one of the most obvious vectors. Therefore, your project is based on two simple principles: it limits third-party intervention and is easy to audit.
Less code equals less errors and less to audit. Fewer dependencies equates to fewer moving parts and potential safety risks. The second point is especially important because dependencies are much more difficult to trace than the internal code of the library. Third-party code often ends up changing hands, and while you can trust the original maintainer, you can’t trust whoever comes next.
Alexis Sellier, developer of Nakamoto, new Bitcoin thin client.
In the route of the alternatives that are being developed to improve the usability of the most popular cryptocurrency on the market, there is also Umbrel, an application that allows you to run a Bitcoin node and in turn integrate other functionalities.
As reported by CriptoNoticias recently, the new version of Umbrel brings with it the possibility of installing the Samourai server, developed exclusively by the renowned Bitcoin wallet application focused on privacy.