How Big Is the Bitcoin Blockchain?

By Rushali Shome

Have you ever wondered how big the Bitcoin blockchain is? If you have, this is where we tell you all about it.

The size of the Bitcoin blockchain matters because you need to be able to support that amount of data in the memory of your computing device if you are planning on becoming a full node of the Bitcoin blockchain.

Let us find out the basics of it all.

Bitcoin Blockchain: What is A Full Node?

If you know how the blockchain architecture works, you would know that transactions that go into the distributed ledger system are all verified by certain entities. These entities are known as “nodes”.

To run a full node that can verify and add transactions to the Bitcoin blockchain, you must know exactly how much space you must set aside in your device.

You will need to download the Core Client, run the full node and then take part in the Bitcoin blockchain as someone that validates transactions.

The Bitcoin White Paper explains that the nodes work in the following direction:

“The problem of course is the payee can’t verify that one of the owners did not double-spend the coin. A common solution is to introduce a trusted central authority, or mint, that checks every transaction for double spending. After each transaction, the coin must be returned to the mint to issue a new coin, and only coins issued directly from the mint are trusted not to be double-spent. The problem with this solution is that the fate of the entire money system depends on the company running the mint, with every transaction having to go through them, just like a bank. We need a way for the payee to know that the previous owners did not sign any earlier transactions. For our purposes, the earliest transaction is the one that counts, so we don’t care about later attempts to double-spend. The only way to confirm the absence of a transaction is to be aware of all transactions. In the mint based model, the mint was aware of all transactions and decided which arrived first. To accomplish this without a trusted party, transactions must be publicly announced [1], and we need a system for participants to agree on a single history of the order in which they were received. The payee needs proof that at the time of each transaction, the majority of nodes agreed it was the first received.”

You May Also Read: Bitcoin Blockchain

What Is The Size of The Bitcoin Blockchain?

The size of a Bitcoin block at this point is 913.4 Kilobytes and that of the Bitcoin blockchain as of the last quarter (Q4) of 2018, was 197, 224 mega bytes.

That is an incredibly large size but one must get the whole of it to run a full node.

Differences Between The Ethereum Blockchain Size and Bitcoin Blockchain Size

The Ethereum blockchain and Bitcoin blockchain not only have different sizes but also differing ways of functioning.

You May Also Read: How Big Is The Ethereum Blockchain?

The Ethereum blockchain might seem larger in terms of raw numbers but it allows for something called “pruning” which helps to keep the size in check. Bitcoin blockchain has a more stable and linear rate of growth.

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Rushali Shome

Rushali Shome is a history undergraduate with a keen interest in puns, politics and beyond. When not typing away furiously in the “Notes” section of her phone, she can be found trying to catch the eye of servers at restaurants or weddings for a second helping.

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