Whatever your opinion of Bitcoin, I'm sure you've heard at least once of its most popular slogan: "Don't trust, verify".
This slogan has always stuck with Bitcoin, and it is justified. Bitcoin is indeed an open and transparent system that allows all its users to verify at any time what the truth is.
After learning about this motto, you will also discover that Bitcoiners keep repeating the same thing: you absolutely must run a full node on the Bitcoin network.
I repeat this frequently in what I write. Because only when you run your full node on the Bitcoin network will you be able to have full power over the fruits of your labor. You will become your own bank.
A majority of people miss the point about the need to run a Bitcoin full node
Unfortunately, too many people don't seem to understand the importance of running a full node.
Some will tell you that they are not interested and that they are buying Bitcoin simply for financial gain. Others will tell you that being able to verify for yourself what is happening on the Bitcoin blockchain is not that important.
If I were to ask you why you should run a full node, I don't think you'd even give me the main reason why.
You could tell me that it allows you to participate in the Bitcoin network by relaying transactions running on the network. You could tell me that it allows the Bitcoin network to be more decentralized with one more full node around the globe. Finally, you could tell me that by doing this, one more person is checking that the miners' work is honest.
If you were to say that, I'd say you're right, but you're missing something even more important.
You need to take advantage of the fact that Bitcoin is a trustless system
That essential thing is to make the most of the trustlessness of the Bitcoin blockchain. This is one of the most remarkable properties of Bitcoin. Every transaction is recorded on its ledger, which we call the Blockchain. This is much more than just a decentralized database.
From the moment you run your full node on the Bitcoin network, you will be able to verify everything yourself without having to take anyone's word for it. This is a fundamental difference from the current monetary and financial system where you have to blindly believe the powerful people who run it.
You have to take the word of the Fed on how many U.S. dollars are in circulation. You have to believe your bank that the fruits of your labor that are placed with them are accessible at any time. In reality, it is not, contrary to what many in the general public may imagine.
The reason is that banks are allowed to lend out more money than they can afford because of fractional reserve banking. This allows private bankers to generate more profits with impunity while putting depositors' money at great risk.
This problem of abused trust in the current system is what drove Satoshi Nakamoto to create Bitcoin
The blind trust you must have in the current banking system has been violated many times in history. This is what led Satoshi Nakamoto to create the Bitcoin system:
“The root problem with conventional currency is all the trust that's required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust. Banks must be trusted to hold our money and transfer it electronically, but they lend it out in waves of credit bubbles with barely a fraction in reserve. We have to trust them with our privacy, trust them not to let identity thieves drain our accounts. Their massive overhead costs make micropayments impossible.”
In this quote, Satoshi Nakamoto attacks the entire banking system, from central bankers to private bankers. It is a corrupt system that people can no longer trust.
Bitcoin offers you an alternative that is truly yours.
By running a full node, you no longer have to take anyone's word for it. You verify everything yourself. The system no longer has a single point of failure. You make up your truth, which becomes the common truth for everyone in the Bitcoin system. This gives it considerable weight.
You can constantly check that the Bitcoin rules are being followed. This will only strengthen your belief in Bitcoin. These beliefs will be strengthened not because you are forced to, but rather because you have the free will to make up your version of the truth based on facts.
Running a full node becomes a necessity the day you understand the why of Bitcoin. Then you take it to the next level: self-sovereignty.