Data shows that 74% of all nodes on the Bitcoin network are located in only 10 countries, with the United States leading the pack, followed by countries in Europe and China.
Data from cryptocurrency analytics platform Data Light shows that in the US alone, there are 2,625 nodes. The American lead if followed by Germany, where there are 2016, and by France where there are 698. These three countries alone have over 50% of the nodes on the flagship cryptocurrency’s network.
The Netherlands, China, and Canada followed suit, with countries like Ukraine, Brazil and Lithuania still being included in the top 20, having over 86 nodes. Countries that aren’t in the top 20 notably account for only 1,441 nodes.
— DataLight (@DataLightMe) February 26, 2019
China is a country to look further into. While the majority of the network’s hashrate is located in the country – thanks to access to cheap energy sources – it only has 411 nodes. As The Next Web noted, China has, according to research, the power to potentially “derail Bitcoin and illicitly influence its network” thanks to the miners in the country.
Singapore and the Netherlands are also located in the top 20. These two countries are relatively small, and as such represent the greatest Bitcoin nodes per capita density, at 17,700 and 32,000 citizens per node, respectively.
The US, on the other hand, has 120,000 citizens per Bitcoin node. These nodes, according to Bitcoin.org, help validate transactions on the network.
A full node is a program that fully validates transactions and blocks. Almost all full nodes also help the network by accepting transactions and blocks from other full nodes, validating those transactions and blocks, and then relaying them to further full nodes.
Various cryptocurrency enthusiasts encourage users to run full nodes, in a bid to help decentralize the cryptocurrency and avoid the existence of a single point of failure. Famously, the first person whose identity is known to run a Bitcoin node was Hal Finney.
Hal was on the receiving end of the first-ever Bitcoin transaction, as he received 10 BTC from Satoshi Nakamoto himself. For users in certain countries running a Bitcoin node could spell trouble, as using the flagship cryptocurrency is prohibited in some countries.