Why is the initial blockchain download and why does it take so long? What performance factors are required? How does a node index the Bitcoin blockchain and synchronise with the network?

This question is from the September monthly Patreon session, which took place on September 29th 2018. If you want early-access to talks and a chance to participate in the monthly live Q&As with Andreas, become a patron: https://www.patreon.com/aantonop

How do I choose a wallet? – https://youtu.be/tN6b62sEpsY
Secure, tiered storage system – https://youtu.be/uYIVuZgN95M
Hardware wallets and attack surface – https://youtu.be/8mpDcBfNA7g
Setting up secure storage devices – https://youtu.be/wZ9LxLLvfXc
What is a private key? – https://youtu.be/xxfUpIV9wRI
How do mneomonic seeds work? – https://youtu.be/wWCIQFNf_8g
Using paper wallets – https://youtu.be/cKehFazo8Pw
Wallet design and mass adoption – https://youtu.be/WbZX6BDZJHc
Cryptographic primitives – https://youtu.be/RIckQ6RBt5E
Public keys vs. addresses – https://youtu.be/8es3qQWkEiU
Re-using addresses – https://youtu.be/4A3urPFkx8g
Passphrases and seed storage – https://youtu.be/jP7pEgBpaO0
Coin selection and privacy – https://youtu.be/3Ck683CQGAQ
Multi-signature and distributed storage – https://youtu.be/cAP2u6w_1-k
Nonces, mining, and quantum computing – https://youtu.be/d4xXJh677J0
Is quantum computing a threat? – https://youtu.be/wlzJyp3Qm7s
Spam transactions and Child Pays For Parent – https://youtu.be/t3c0E4fkSNs
Orphaned blocks and stuck transactions – https://youtu.be/MsdW0CTYwyY
Denominations and voluntary burning – https://youtu.be/tqL0ehMRxbk
What are “bitcoin days destroyed”? – https://youtu.be/s_ren14WyJg
Miners, pools, and consensus – https://youtu.be/JHz7LM4ncLw
Software distribution security – https://youtu.be/_V0vqy046YM
Protocol development security – https://youtu.be/4fsL5XWsTJ4
Geopolitics and state-sponsored attacks – https://youtu.be/htxPRTJLK-k
How to get people to care about security – https://youtu.be/Ji1lS9NMz1E
Honest nodes and consensus – https://youtu.be/KAhY2ymI-tg
Why running a node is important – https://youtu.be/oX0Yrv-6jVs

Andreas M. Antonopoulos is a technologist and serial entrepreneur who has become one of the most well-known and respected figures in bitcoin.

Follow on Twitter: @aantonop https://twitter.com/aantonop
Website: https://antonopoulos.com/

He is the author of two books: “Mastering Bitcoin,” published by O’Reilly Media and considered the best technical guide to bitcoin; “The Internet of Money,” a book about why bitcoin matters.

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MASTERING BITCOIN, 2nd Edition: https://amzn.to/2xcdsY9

Translations of MASTERING BITCOIN: https://bitcoinbook.info/translations-of-mastering-bitcoin/

THE INTERNET OF MONEY, v1: https://amzn.to/2ykmXFs

THE INTERNET OF MONEY, v2: https://amzn.to/2IIG5BJ

Translations of THE INTERNET OF MONEY:
Spanish, ‘Internet del Dinero’ (v1) – https://amzn.to/2yoaTTq
French, ‘L’internet de l’argent’ (v1) – https://www.amazon.fr/Linternet-largent-Andreas-M-Antonopoulos/dp/2856083390
Russian, ‘Интернет денег’ (v1) – https://www.olbuss.ru/catalog/ekonomika-i-biznes/korporativnye-finansy-bankovskoe-delo/internet-deneg
Vietnamese, ‘Internet Của Tiền Tệ’ (v1) – https://alphabooks.vn/khi-tien-len-mang

MASTERING ETHEREUM (Q4): https://amzn.to/2xdxmlK

Music: “Unbounded” by Orfan (https://www.facebook.com/Orfan/)
Outro Graphics: Phneep (http://www.phneep.com/)
Outro Art: Rock Barcellos (http://www.rockincomics.com.br/)



  1. QUESTION: If you have little tech skill, i.e. don't use command prompt to solve issues, how do you set up a Bitcoin Node? I have the hardware (a computer with plenty of disk space) and downloaded the Bitcoin block chain but could not get the node to work, I think the problem was getting my home machine to be a static ip. At least I think that was the issue. I am pretty sure it had to do with my internet connection not talking back to the block chain. I spent a lot of time on the Bitcoin Core website looking at posts and I am pretty sure it is the internet ip that is the problem. I could not find any solution simple enough for my tech neophyte brain to handle.
    I know that nodes are critical to the infrastructure of Bitcoin and other crypto and if you want to be more than a sideline investor and you are a true believer, which I am, you want to help and be a part of the infrastructure. The problem is it seems there is no "black box" solution I can buy on Amazon that will set up a node and solve any connection issues. I am surprised this has not been built. If it has please tell us about it. If not please help. 🙂

  2. Crypto markets should trade against stablecoins not btc/eth. It makes a lot more sense. By the way, my favorite crypto is FGC. It's one of a very few cryptos with a real world use.

  3. The bandwidth your peers are sending blocks can be a bottleneck too. Another nitpick – it is the latency (in msec) of a hard drive or SSD that matter, not bandwidth (in MB/sec) as such.

  4. How does a node know to emulate soft forks in the protocol for specific blocks? Is that hard coded into the node implementation? Isn't the definition of a soft fork that it is backwards compatible so why does this have to happen? I assume that the blocks are not marked with a software version because there is no one version of bitcoin software as it is a protocol.

  5. I got into ETH back in early 2017 and had no problem DL'ing/syncing blockchain – I then foolishly thought I had to have my chain sync'd to make a transaction and thought I was SoL (pressed for time) because it wouldn't DL/Sync up.

    Make sure you have a decent hard drive, don't want that shit bricking on you//unable to keep up with rest of chain. Solid state(s) is/are a great choice, much cheaper now days too than when I first built this PoS, lmao….
    Cheers Andreas.


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