By Lumai Mubanga. [email protected]
There are different conception regarding the use, mining and ownership of bitcoins just as there are different ideas of bitcoin users. This article will discuss the types of general bitcoin users be it millennials or old folks, and the type of services attached to each type.
It is noteworthy to state from the onset that not every client has a wallet. Also, not every client is directly connected to the network just like not every client will have the entire block chain downloaded to their computers. Additionally, not every client is a bitcoin miner. How do these types of clients or users differ from each other and what levels of services accompany each level?
Basically, the bitcoin network has four basic functions that ultimately defines the user levels. These include network routing, mining, blockchain maintenance and wallet handling services. The user level is aligned to any or more of the above services.
A bitcoin Miner is a client who “mines” bitcoins and is in possession of full functionalities on the network. They are sometimes referred to as Full Node Users. What is involved? A full node Miner is a user with networking capabilities to interface with bitcoin blockchain. He also has a wallet to manage public and private keys. He mines to support the network and he earns his rewards through such efforts. In addition, he actively maintains a full up-to-date copy of the Bitcoin blockchain. They are usually in possession of different bitcoin mining hardware. This category of maybe users fewer compared to others but there was an increased number of users who started mining. What do you need to do to become a miner? Basically you need the knowledge and you also need to purchase the mining hardware, such hardware is expensive to buy. We can safely say, bitcoin miners are the anchors of the ecosystem.
Some clients do not require regular transactions. Such clients do not need a permanent connection to the network, neither do they need an Internet connection. Many clients fall under this category.
Some clients too only hold different wallets. They don’t bother mining or downloading entire blockchain. Their business is simply to send and receive bitcoins through their phones.
Recall that, a blockchain is an autonomous online ledger available to all clients on the bitcoin network. Some clients are able to send bitcoins using their smartphones and as such, there is no need to download the entire blockchain on the phone. The blockchain may be as huge as 160GB in size and a simple user with limited space may not have enough disk space to download it to their computers.
Many users access bitcoins on their mobile phones. These are normally everyday users who are not even concerned with how the technology works or operates.
All in all, the type of knowledge and involvement in this ecosystem will continue to evolve and as many players come on board, we envisage a system that will continue to break even as technology continues to evolve too.