Running your own Bitcoin node allows you to take full sovereignty over your Bitcoin so that you do not have to trust a third party. When you run your own node you can ensure your transactions are broadcasted to the network, then validated by miners. A Bitcoin node stores the entire blockchain and validates every block before adding it to the blockchain. You also can rely upon the fact that your node will reject all transactions that break consensus rules. One important factor is that Bitcoin nodes allow users to use the network in a more private and secure way. (Not your keys, not your coins) Not having to rely on a third party gives you freedom and autonomy to interact with the Bitcoin Network. This is all done over a peer-to-peer network. Each individual node connects directly to other nodes and shares data. Nodes are capable of connecting by the internet, satellite, mesh networks, and even radio.
In order to take maximum advantage of the peer-to-peer network, you must run your own node.
If you do not use a node, you are leveraging a third party to broadcast the transaction, these are most often from hot wallets, cold wallets, or exchanges. This in turn gives the third party access to info about your transactions and personal data (ie: email, name, etc) It is also important to say that majority of people currently are not running their own node. Some users use what are called SPV Wallets, which allow users to verify their transaction is included in the blockchain without needing to have a full download of the blockchain.
Why Run a node?
There are direct privacy and security benefits of running your own node.
The privacy benefits include protecting personal information and not registering on third-party services. You also do not need to rely on a block explorer to verify transactions. By running your own node, you protect your IP. If you run your own node through Voltage, all peer-to-peer traffic is routed through Tor. This makes your node indistinguishable from other nodes on the network, and other nodes can not see that you are using Voltage. (Learn more about what we can not see here if you set up a node with Voltage) We keep privacy top of mind and do not surveille our users. You can verify this because our dashboard is open source.
Let’s not forget about security. At Voltage we created a pull request to add encryption and you can read more here how this works. Ultimately, a full node will serve two key purposes— 1) to monitor the health and security of the Bitcoin blockchain and 2) validating the accuracy of transactions.
I hope this helps you understand in a clear way how nodes help you create more privacy, security, and do not require you to rely on third parties. Feel free to chat with us on our telegram or twitter with any questions!