Bitcoin node counting always hits a new high

The number of Bitcoin nodes is at an all-time high, with 11,558 achievable nodes currently active, according to Bitnodes.io. Another Bitcoin network statistics tracker, coin.dance, calculates the total number of Bitcoin nodes at 11,613, which is slightly higher than the previous highest of 11,250 set a year ago this month.

Bitcoin Core 0.21.0 software update was released for public download on January 14 2021 and is currently the fourth most widely used version of software

There are currently 619 characters running this version of the software, which represents about 5.5% of all nodes running some version of Bitcoin Core. Nearly 5,000 nodes are still running the second-most current release of Bitcoin Core, 0.20.1, which remains the most popular.

The latest version of Bitcoin Core also introduces a way to create more predictable testnets and implement Taproot consensus rules without activating them on the main net.

The changes will eventually increase privacy in Bitcoin transactions as Taproot ensures that outputs no longer reveal spending conditions that are unnecessarily exposed in previous operations. Removing distinguishing features from transactions will also help Bitcoin become a funnier asset, closer in line with Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto’s original proposal for “digital currency.”

Up to 25% of all available Bitcoin nodes run on hidden network Tor, which makes Bitcoin Core 0.21.0 compatibility upgrade for Tor version 3 secret services essential as version 2 secret services will get delegation later this year. Running a Bitcoin client using Tor adds a layer of privacy by blocking the IP address of a connecting node.

According to Satoshi, a solid amount of independently-executed nodes is considered critical to Bitcoin’s success, since its underlying value depends on its ability to remain decentralized. Running a node is also a safer way to self-store Bitcoin, and a practice that is being adopted by many increasingly wary of security services.

Previously in Bitcoin QT, Bitcoin Core is a software client developed by Wladimir J. van der Laan based on a reference code written by Satoshi. This is by far the most popular implementation of the Bitcoin protocol, with 98.5% of all nodes running a version of Bitcoin Core software.

The rise in Bitcoin nodes is linked to an increase in the number of Lightning Network nodes and channels, which is also witnessing all-time highs.