A new tool to count the nodes of the Bitcoin network, has been published by a Spanish developer, receiving good comments from the community.
Being an extremely difficult task to execute, the tool was baptized as Crawly by its creator, identified as ‘Josema’. The tool does not display historical data on Bitcoin nodes in past years. It has been in operation since March 18, 2021, so the historical data is under construction and will be progressively recorded.
Crawly is an optimization of a similar tool created by Luke Dash Jr ., renowned Bitcoin developer. While Luke Dash Jr’s page shows only a totalization of the number of nodes since July 2017, with Crawly we can visualize how many Bitcoin nodes exist according to their different characteristics.
So we can know which version of the Bitcoin Core client they are using, the type of network they use (IPV4, IPV6 and . Onion of Tor) and including the geographic location of those who connect publicly .
The EstudioBitcoin educational outreach website had a space on its portal to view the data collected by Crawly. As of today, March 29, 2021, there are more than 340,000 Bitcoin nodes in operation .
More than 261,000 are full nodes, or they have a full copy of the Bitcoin blockchain since their genesis block; while little more than 71,000 are pruned nodes or pruned nodes , nodes that keep a partial copy of the Bitcoin blockchain and that are functional to tasks and applications more light.
Also, while there are just over 226,000 nodes connected via IPV4, there are 107,555 nodes connected via IPV6 and 6,718 nodes connected through Tor’s onion network , a type of internet connection focused on privacy.
The developer of Crawly , participated in the podcast Directo Bitcoin 2140, broadcast on March 25, where he commented that he made an effort to learn the rust programming language to create this tool. In that sense, he clarified that the code could be improved, but the tool works.
Despite being quite functional, the developer claims that the numbers are not exactly accurate.
The number is not exact. We cannot assure you that the Bitcoin network currently has exactly 308,757 nodes. When, for example, a person who has a dynamic IP turns off the node and turns it on again, that IP may have changed and I am counting it twice. That can happen.
On the other hand, the creator of Crawly points out that the nodes of the groups ( mining pools ) are not usually public, so perhaps you could be skipping your count. Regardless, the tool is being regarded as one of the most accurate to be created so far.
Josema confessed that, when talking with Luke Dash Jr, he told him that the code of his tool was not public and open, due to security issues , so the Spanish developer has not wanted to publish it either. Due to the massive generation of data that is collected, the developer considers that this tool could be used openly by many users, but also for malicious purposes.
The fact of being able to geographically locate the active nodes could be a violation of the privacy of Bitcoin users, for example. In this sense, the developer pointed out that locating the nodes based on Tor (onion) was not that difficult.
In the image above you can see the global distribution of the Bitcoin nodes according to their IP address, being mostly concentrated in Europe. One of the moderators of the Bitcoin 2140 podcast managed to identify what is probably his node, located on the Pacific coast of Latin America.
According to this criterion, the list of countries that have the most operational Bitcoin nodes is led by the United States , followed by Germany, China, Russia , Canada, United Kingdom, Holland, France, Switzerland, Australia, Ukraine, Japan, Austria, Spain and finally, Finland.
As we have reported in CriptoNoticias, the ease of use of Bitcoin nodes is expanding with various launches, including one Bitcoin thin client implementation that takes up just 2 GB of memory, and can even be integrated into mobile devices .
These advances open the possibility for users to run nodes on their own, verify transactions and protect the integrity of the network of Bitcoin . Even if given the opportunity, they could give their signal or vote to new implementations and updates of the Bitcoin software, as could be done with the Taproot scalability solution, about which there is a debate about its activation.