When people hear the name “Bitcoin Mini” for the first time, they might expect to see a Bitcoin-branded Mini Cooper zipping through traffic. Unfortunately, that is not what this Bitcoin Mini is about, even though that doesn’t make it less exciting. Running a full Bitcoin Node at home is becoming incredibly easy, and the Bitcoin Mini is another plug-and-play solution.
Bitcoin Mini – Become a Full Network Node At Home
The tech-savvy aspect of Bitcoin is creating a lot of confusion for novice users, as they feel the need to grasp every tiny concept of virtual currencies before getting involved. To be frank, no one needs to know exactly how Bitcoin works – on a detailed level – to make use of the digital currency. Understanding it is possible to send money from one end of the world to the next, at a fraction of the cost, and in a convenient manner, should be the main concern.
Once people grasp that idea and see it in action for the very first time, there is plenty of time for more detailed questions and research. Maintaining the Bitcoin network is not a job cut out for a team of specialists, as every individual user stabilizes and strengthens the Bitcoin network in their own way.
For example, running the Bitcoin wallet software on any type of device for a brief moment will help the network stabilize a fraction more. Or to give you another example: simply learning more about Bitcoin and its inner workings is of great value to the community. People get very passionate about how the Bitcoin ecosystem works, and they can’t wait to share that knowledge with friends and family.
One integral part of the Bitcoin network are Bitcoin Nodes. A Bitcoin Node runs Bitcoin software on a 24/7 basis, and its main purpose is to broadcast and share transactions on the network with other Bitcoin Nodes around the world. But here’s the twist: Bitcoin Nodes are not data centers all over the world, but individual users who own a computer or other device with the sole purpose of acting as a Bitcoin Node.
A plug-and-play solution, such as the Bitcoin Mini, make it very user-friendly for novice users to set up their own Bitcoin Node at home. The entire setup process for the Bitcoin Mini is completed in one step, and the web-based user interface makes it easy to monitor everything while the device does its thing.
As you would come to expect from projects such as Bitcoin Mini, the price is rather affordable for the service and product offered. For the time being, consumers can pre-order the Bitcoin Mini at a discounted price of US$149. At the time of publication, the retail price was set at US$250, which seems way overpriced for this device.
Under The Hood: Raspberry Pi 2 & The Usual Suspects
Nearly every company offering these plug-and-play Bitcoin Node solutions is using the same hardware. Keeping the price point fairly low is the main goal, which is why the choice for the Raspberry Pi 2 board seems fairly logical. Every Bitcoin Mini comes with an 8GB SD card – for the Arch Linux operating system – and a 128GB USB Flash Drive – to store the Bitcoin blockchain files.
Other than that, there isn’t anything particularly special about the Bitcoin Mini compared to other companies. The device looks slightly different in terms of the casing, but the internals are nearly identical. Plus, once the blockchain grows beyond the 128GB size, consumers will run into trouble being a Bitcoin Node if they have no idea what needs to be done.
Paying for a Bitcoin Mini can be done in Bitcoin – of course – but also other virtual currencies. All payments are processed by ShapeShift, giving customers roughly 45 different virtual currencies to use as a payment option. Fiat currency payments are not supported at this time, but that situation could change at any time.
Images courtesy of Bitcoin Compare, Shutterstock