The Code for This Bitcoin Node Scanner is Now Open Source

Garrett Keirns
Feb 23, 2017 at 20:19 UTC
Updated Feb 24, 2017 at 13:49 UTC
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CoinScope, a tool that provides aggregated data about bitcoin nodes, has been made open source.

The code was made publicly available on GitHub on 22nd February. The project, which has been around since 2015, is somewhat akin to Bitnodes, the node data tool operated by startup 21 Inc that seeks to map the bitcoin network by measuring the amount of nodes connected at any given time.

As detailed in a 2015 presentation by developer Andrew Miller at the Scaling Bitcoin workshop in Montreal, the tool’s aim isn’t to reduce the anonymity of nodes on the network. Rather, according to Miller, CoinScope’s purpose is to provide a vehicle to assess the health of the network itself.

The white paper drafted in connection with CoinScope describes how one using the tool can see the bitcoin network in a new way by uncovering relationships between nodes and mining pools – a process that yields intriguing data points about the network’s composition.

The paper notes:

“We introduce a “decloaking” method to find influential nodes in the topology that are well connected to a mining pool. Our results find that in contrast to bitcoin’s idealized vision of spreading mining responsibility to each node, mining pools are prevalent and hidden: roughly 2% of the (influential) nodes represent three-quarters of the mining power.”

The main technological aspect that makes the decloaking possible through the CoinScope tool is an element dubbed AddressNode. It works by discovering peer-to-peer links in bitcoin, then applying those links to the live topology of the whole network.

Image via Shutterstock