Operating a full node is the way to full autonomy in the Bitcoin ecosystem. Even though Trace Mayer gambled away the grace of the Bitcoin community after his mimblewimble coin shilling, his “First Class Citizen” still correctly describes what a full node offers. Users are not simply in possession of the blockchain. By choosing the client, i.e. the node implementation, you can have a dramatic influence on the governance of the blockchain.
Decentralized node network, but focus on one client
How decentralized is the landscape of the full nodes? Two things can be considered here: first, the number of nodes, and second, the diversity of the node implementations. And the number of nodes is really high. The well-known Bitcoin analysis site coin.dance has over 10,000 nodes. And even this number is only a lower bound, since these are only so-called “listening nodes”, that is, well-connected nodes. In total, according to Luke Dashjr’s analyzes, there are over 50,000 Bitcoin nodes.
Bitcoin clients: it doesn’t always have to be core