update 16 October 2021

Setting Up Your Ledger Live and Bitcoin Full Node

As your crypto investment career continues to expand, you will eventually consider securing your holdings using a hardware wallet. These devices are far more secure than software-based wallets due to the introduction of an “air gap.” This strategy keeps your cryptocurrency offline when not in use. As such, hardware devices provide the highest level of security to investors. Consequently, more full node operators than ever have chosen to integrate a hardware device into their strategy.

The popular hardware wallet manufacturer Ledger now offers these features as part of their Ledger Live software suite. You can connect your hardware wallet to your full node and achieve the highest level of security available. To start this process, you will need to understand how to launch a Bitcoin Full Node and link it with Ledger Live.

Getting Ledger Live

Ledger Live is the native application for the Ledger line of hardware wallets. This software is what Ledger wallet users need to send, receive, and view transactions on the blockchain. Ledger Live operates on all of the manufacturer’s top devices at this time. Specifically, The Nano S, Nano X, and Blue devices are supported.

Take Your Bitcoin Network Participation Up

Running a full node is one of the best ways to accomplish this task. A full node is a protocol that is designed to validate transactions and blocks on the network. Bitcoin full nodes are also referred to as miners. They are critical to the operations of Bitcoin’s blockchain. Without them, the blockchain wouldn’t be able to operate in a decentralized manner.

In exchange for operating a full node, you become eligible to receive rewards in the form of Bitcoin. Notably, these rewards have systematically decreased since the launch of the platform. Originally, a full node would receive 50 BTC if they were the miner who solved the network’s PoW algorithm first and, therefore, got to add the next block of transactions to the blockchain. Today, the reward is 6.5 BTC.

Full Node Costs

As you may be aware, running a node has some costs that you should be considered. The cheapest way to run a node is on your PC. While this strategy is far less efficient than purchasing a high-powered ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) miner, it’s by far the most cost-effective way. The average PC-powered full node costs around $200+. Of course, these costs can rise if you opt for better mining equipment. ASIC miners can run $3000+

Setting up a full node also requires about 30-minutes in software settings and can take a couple of days for the node to sync. At the very minimum, a full node requires a desktop or laptop hardware running the most recent versions of Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux. This device will need at least 7 gigabytes of free disk space. Also, the drive must have a minimum read and write speed of 100 MB/s.

Full Node Minimum PC requirements

You will also want at least 2 gigabytes of RAM and a high-speed internet connection to handle an upload of 50 kilobytes per second. You will want to ensure that you have an unmetered connection. Importantly, you need this connection to remain stable because you need to operate your node for at least 6-hours a day. Ideally, your node will remain in operation 24-hours a day. However, this is the best-case scenario, and you won’t be penalized for less than constant node operation statuses.

Setting Up Ledger Live Full Node

Now that you have your Full Node setup, you’re ready to get Ledger Live and link your hardware wallet to your node. To accomplish this task, the first step is to download and install Ledger Live (Download). Once the application is running, you must plug in the device. This action will pull up a prompt that will ask you if you would like to set up a new device.

The setup procedure is simple. It will require you to write down your seed phrase. This group of words is the only way you can access your funds if your wallet is lost, stolen, or destroyed. You must write these words down perfectly and store a copy in a safe location. Notably, never store your seed phrase next to your hardware wallet.

You don’t want a thief to get his hands on your seed phrase. If they can access this information, they can access your crypto. Also, keeping your seed phrase separate from your hardware wallet helps to protect your holdings from other problems such as house fires, floods, and unexpected events that may leave your device destroyed beyond repair.

Experimental Features

Once your Ledger Live software is ready to go, the next step is to click the Settings button on the top right corner of the application. This button will look like a gear. Once you press it, some drop-down options will become available. One of the options that will be present is listed as Experimental Features. Once you click that button, you will see where you can select Connect Bitcoin Full Node as an option.

You will need to enter your host address and RPC credentials to complete this step. Depending on your node software, it can find your RPC in different areas of the software. Once you have it, copy the username and password and enter them into the appropriate boxes. If you have your node set up in a manner where you’re required to have an encrypted connection, you will need to turn on the TLS option via the check box on the screen.

Notably, you need to adjust your IP address depending on your setup. If you have your Ledger Live operating on the same CPU as your Bitcoin Core, you can leave this setting at its default IP address, 127.0.0.1, and port 8332. If you are utilizing secondary node software such as MyNode, you will need to copy the address of your node. Notably, the port will remain 8332.

Assigning Your Node to Ledger Live

Once you reach this part of the procedure, it’s time for you to direct Ledger Live to your node. The first step of this process is to instruct the software to only looking for one node. To do this, you will want to enter txindex=1 into the settings panel. This code lets Ledger Live know to sync the node fully.

Syncing Your Node

Your node will begin to download and sync with the entire Bitcoin blockchain. You will want to download and run SatStack to initiate this process with the Ledger Live software. This process can take days. You will want to leave the software running in the background. Notably, this process can take over a day to complete. During that time, you should leave the PC alone to ensure all of the processes complete without issue.

Once your Node is fully synced, you will see the option to select Done in the top right corner. You will want to check the status indicator on the main screen before you click this button. If your Node is prepped, there will be a green Ready on the main screen. Your Ledger Live is now set up with your Bitcoin Full Node.

Other Cool Bitcoin Features Ledger Live Supports

Another cool feature that may be of interest to privacy advocates is Coin Control. Coin Control has been an internal feature that Bitcoiners have used for years. This protocol allows you to select what UTXOs your transactions originate from manually. This option is meant to reduce the chance of blockchain trackers discovering your identity based on shared wallet addresses.

Privacy concerns have been on the rise following a rise in Bitcoin theft. Scammers have begun to utilize blockchain forensic services to discover HODLers. These nefarious actors will then use phishing attacks to try and gather information regarding your passphrase and more. Coin Control is effective at making these processes much more difficult.

Ledger Live Secures Your Bitcoin Full Node Earnings

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The ability to host a full node and use your Ledger hardware wallet benefits the entire Bitcoin network. Hardware wallets provide multiple layers of protection to keep your Satoshis safe. As such, it makes sense to secure your node rewards via one of these devices.

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