The Bitcoin blockchain has grown in size over the years. It is currently approaching the 300GB range, highlighting the need for a bigger hard drive to store the data. Even though the yearly growth rate is decreasing, its full size will remain a subject of debate,
Chunky Bitcoin Blockchain Size
It is only normal to see Bitcoin’s blockchain increase in size. More transactions and blocks are being added to the network around the clock. Even though Bitcoin’s network blocks are just 1MB in size, they add up as more time progresses. This is why the blockchain size keeps going up, albeit its rate of growth has slowed down over the years.
More specifically, the percentual growth per year has decreased. In January of 2019, the annual growth was 25.4%. One year later, that rate had dropped to 21.5%. In theory, this means the Bitcoin blockchain isn’t growing as quickly as it used to in the past. In terms of actual data, however, nearly 58GB was added from 2019 to 2020. That is an increase compared to 48.7GB added between 2018 and 2019.
It is normal for these figures to fluctuate a bit. It all depends on how well the network blocks are being filled. Both 2018 and 2019 were part of what is known as the “crypto winter“. It is a period when people are usually less eager to move coins around, resulting in less block space being used. The year 2020 looks a bit more bullish, thus a bigger size increase is likely to occur.
Storing the Blockchain
For users who create a Bitcoin wallet through the Core client, this blockchain size can be a problem. The same applies to people running a Bitcoin network node. Handling nearly 300GB of data is not difficult, but it can be a logistical issue for some.
Thankfully, cheaper hard drives with bigger storage capacity have been around for a while now. This makes it, in theory, easy enough to store the entire Bitcoin blockchain.
For users looking to create a node through a Raspberry Pi or similar devices, getting an adequately big hard drive is needed. Preparing for the future is never a bad idea. At this rate of growth, a 1TB HDD or SSD should be sufficient for many years to come.
It is a matter of time until the 500GB threshold is reached. This is another sign of how far Bitcoin has come since its inception in 2009. It took until November 2010 before the Bitcoin blockchain was over 0.1GB in size.