“Utreexo” Launch Is Making Running Bitcoin Nodes Easier

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A new Bitcoin Full Node implementation might help the network become more accessible for anyone to set up and run courtesy the launch of Utreexo last week, reported CoinDesk on Wednesday.

Bitcoin Nodes Made Lighter 

Developed as part of MIT Digital Currency Initiative (DCI), Utreexo puts the idea of lighter nodes into working code for Bitcoin. The design was first described by Lightning creator Tadge Dryja in 2019 and saw the release of its first version last week.

Full Bitcoin nodes act like financial security systems, said Dryja, validating Bitcoin blockchain transactions, and protecting users from being tricked into thinking they received money that they didn’t. However, they take up a lot of computing space and are quickly growing in size.

Despite the shortcoming, the nodes remain a “trustless” method of using Bitcoin, even as developers around the world strive to make them easier to use. Bitcoin full nodes hold every transaction ever made, clocking in at about 200 GB today. 

Utreexo tackles this problem. The implementation slashes Bitcoin information, held on nodes, from over four gigabytes to less than a kilobyte. This also makes it a significant breakthrough, as Dryja puts it:

“Utreexo is a new scalability technology for Bitcoin, which can make Bitcoin nodes smaller and faster while keeping the same security and privacy as full nodes.”

But don’t start searching for it yet. The product is not fully implemented and has a long way to go before users can start running their own full nodes. Still, the first version is a significant step.

Better than Pruned Nodes

There’s “pruned” nodes on the market already, which cut some of Bitcoin’s mammoth memory usage for a lighter option. However, they still don’t tackle the storage of Bitcoin’s Unspent Transaction Outputs (UTXOs), which, CoinDesk notes, “tallies up how much Bitcoin is linked to each Bitcoin address.”

These UTXOs have grown rapidly over time, making it more difficult to run full nodes. But this changes with Utreexo:

“Utreexo is a novel hash-based dynamic accumulator, which allows the millions of unspent outputs to be represented in under a kilobyte – small enough to be written on a sheet of paper.”

Eventually, the Utreexo developers will make their node compatible with those already running on the Bitcoin network. To do this, developers will eventually need to modify Bitcoin Core, notes CoinDesk.

It’s also why Utreexo will first be deployed on alternative Bitcoin node software Btcd, before then being ported to Bitcoin Core.

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