Uncle Jim Node

Despite the purposeful attempt to keep requirements to run nodes low, and increase decentralisation, many people still won’t do it. Despite the importance of running a node, some may find it intimidating or don’t see the value in being a full participant in the network. 

Only once you truly dive down the bitcoin rabbit hole will you understand the value of a node. If your friends and family aren’t fully orange pilled but you want to still assist them in using bitcoin best practices, then be their bitcoin point of content. 

In Bitcoin, we don’t want people trusting random nodes, and would rather if they do trust someone’s node it should be a technical person in their social “circle of trust”.

You can be that point of contact and act as the (“Uncle Jim”) running a node for friends and family to connect their wallets to instead of companies like wallet providers or exchanges. This tiny trade-off is far better than connecting to random public Bitcoin nodes.

Uncle Jim Node

The first thing you would have to do is to run a bitcoin full node, which can be done on your computer, or you can put together a node yourself or even buy a pre-built node. Any of these options will work fine, so pick the method that best suits you. Once you have your node set up and fully synchronised with the latest version of the bitcoin blockchain, it can now be used to broadcast transactions to the mempool.

Node compatible wallets

If your friends and family use hot wallets, you may want to encourage them to restore their bitcoin wallets to a different option that supports interactions with private nodes. All hot wallets may be able to create private keys, but not all hot wallets allow you to connect to your own node, so take note before selecting your first wallet.

Once they’ve been set up with a cold wallet or compatible hot wallet, you can provide your friends and family with the host address and port used to access your node.

At this point, all they would have to do is then change the node settings on their wallet to connect to your node instead of the default node settings.

Ensure your node is always online 

As an “Uncle Jim”, you need to ensure that your node is always on and connected to the internet. If you are going to be the interface for others to interact with the bitcoin blockchain, you need to provide an element of reliability. This could mean having your node set up with a UPS (Uninterrupted power supply) in the case of power cuts, and it could also mean you need to have satellite internet if your local internet providers get shut down.

These failsafe measures are not a must, but it sure does provide added security that your node will always be available to those using it.

As an “Uncle Jim” (UJ) node, you’re job is to provide the training wheels for those who connect to your node, and this should not be seen as a long term solution. As a UJ, you’re providing a layer of protection, but you should also focus on education and teach others in your social circle to run nodes for themselves.

The more nodes in your circle, the less reliant they are on you as a point of failure. As you get more nodes running in your circles, you provide your friends and family with optionality, and they can switch between nodes as and when it is needed.

If your node is offline, they can easily change it to another family member or friend and continue as usual.

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