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2021 Bitcoin Node Sync Performance Tests

Testing full validation syncing performance of 7 Bitcoin node implementations.

As I’ve noted many times in the past, backing your bitcoin wallet with a fully validating node gives you the strongest security model and privacy model that is available to Bitcoin users. Three years ago I started running an annual comprehensive comparison of various implementations to see how well they performed full blockchain validation. Now it's time to see what has changed over the past year!

The computer I use as a baseline is high-end but uses off-the-shelf hardware. I bought this PC at the beginning of 2018. It cost about $2,000 at the time. I'm using a gigabit internet connection to ensure that it is not a bottleneck.

Just set up a maxed out @PugetSystems PC on PureOS 8.0.Core i7 8700 3.2GHz 6 core CPU32 GB DDR4-2666Samsung 960 EVO 1TB M.2 SSDSynced Bitcoin Core 0.15.1 (w/maxed out dbcache) in 162 min w/peak speeds of 80 MB/s. Next step: see how much traffic I can serve on gigabit fiber.— Jameson Lopp (@lopp) February 11, 2018

Note that no Bitcoin implementation strictly fully validates the entire chain history by default. As a performance improvement, most of them don’t validate signatures before a certain point in time. This is considered safe because those blocks and transactions are buried under so much proof of work. In order for someone to create a blockchain that had invalid transactions before that point in time would cost so much mining resources, it would fundamentally break certain security assumptions upon which the network operates.

For the purposes of these tests I need to control as many variables as possible; some implementations may skip signature checking for a longer period of time in the blockchain than others. As such, the tests I'm running do not use the default settings - I change one setting to force the checking of all transaction signatures and I often tweak other settings in order to ...

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