By Guest Blogger Addy Yeow, Creator of Bitnodes Project

Earlier this year, the Bitnodes project introduces Peer Index or PIX as a way to measure the desirability of a full node in the Bitcoin network. PIX is a necessary measurement for us to learn more about the number of full nodes that are actually contributing toward robustness of the Bitcoin core infrastructure.

The current PIX value is calculated based on 11 properties and network metrics described in https://getaddr.bitnodes.io/nodes/leaderboard/#peer-index and ranges between 0.0 and 10.0 with 10.0 being the most desirable for the Bitcoin network. By applying PIX value to each of the reachable nodes, we are now able to put nodes up on a leaderboard to help increase participation from new users and to encourage existing full node operators to maintain stable nodes. The current leaderboard is available for viewing from https://getaddr.bitnodes.io/nodes/leaderboard/.

If your node is not already up on the leaderboard, make sure that it is reachable by other peers in the network and activate its node status from https://getaddr.bitnodes.io/nodes/.

During this quarter, I have also started the Bitnodes Incentive Program as a personal experiment to allow reachable nodes with Bitcoin address set to receive weekly incentive paid in bitcoins. The program has issued its first incentive just last week and will continue to do so until the end of this year or when we hit 10,000 reachable nodes, whichever comes first. While the program is the first of its kind, it is still far from an ideal solution but hopefully we can see some more serious discussions, e.g. #5783, from the community to look into ways to sustain more full nodes distributed across the globe. In the mean time, if you are already running a full node, you can enroll your node in the program by following the instructions in https://getaddr.bitnodes.io/nodes/incentive/.

Among other updates, the 60-day charts on the project website have been extended to 90-day, i.e. a full quarter, to give a better perspective of quarterly adoption of a new version of Bitcoin Core software. The alert tool has also been updated to issue a STALLED alert in addition to previous UP, DOWN and SYNCED alerts. STALLED alert is useful to notify full node operator when the node has not downloaded newer block from its peers for a while. Similar issues have previously been reported in the Bitcoin Core issue tracker, e.g.#4125, #5660, #5588.

The full list of updates made during 2015 Q1 from December 1, 2014 – February 28, 2015 is available at the address below:

https://github.com/ayeowch/bitnodes/wiki/Schedule#q1-december-1-2014—february-28-2015

About Bitnodes: Bitnodes is currently being developed to estimate the size of the Bitcoin network by finding all the reachable nodes in the network. The current methodology involves sending getaddr messages recursively to find all the reachable nodes in the network, starting from a set of seed nodes. Bitnodes uses Bitcoin protocol version 70001 (i.e. >= /Satoshi:0.8.x/), so nodes running an older protocol version will be skipped. The crawler implementation in Python is available from GitHub (ayeowch/bitnodes) and the crawler deployment is documented in Provisioning Bitcoin Network Crawler.