Raspberry Pi no longer recommended for use with Bitcoin stack

Rasberry Pi having trouble with IBD

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“The Raspberry Pi, even the 8GB, is rapidly becoming obsolete. The UTXO set has grown tremendously over the last year and is now around 8GB in size. The Pi has very slow disk speeds over USB, which causes disk cache to build up. Once the cache nears 8GB, all operations will be sent to disk and become extremely slow. This is made worse if you are trying to run other services as well. We no longer recommend the Pi for Bitcoin under any configuration” - Matt Hill Troubleshooting hardware DIY, Hacking, & How-To

I’m new to this, and a bit confused. I’m not sure if it’s because I missed something already there, or that it’s not actually there, and I didn’t ask enough questions up front…??

STATUS = I have been working to learn this like any noob would:

  • Heard about it all in one of the Summits about being able to run my own Bitcoin-related node, including on a Pi
  • I said “I have a Pi, I want to do this!”
  • Started researching the DIY
  • Freed up my old Pi4 from it’s other media center use (4GB is the best I have available) which required work and research to replace that system with a different one,
  • went to get a new 128GB microSD for this,
  • downloaded,
  • flashed,
  • got through the ~10 steps getting it operational on my home network (Tor, Apple, whatever)
  • installed the various “Services”,
  • found out that all of the Bitcoin Services depend on Bitcoin Core first so I got that installed and syncing (even though I still don’t comprehend how much space on the miroSD card actually is required so I’m just using the 128G, even though apparently 500GB is needed for the whole blockchain, yet this can be “pruned”…I don’t comprehend that difference),
  • called my ISP to find out how much data I have per cycle, how much I have left, the cost if it goes over that each month, etc),
  • see that the syncing is super slow, and so did more research in the FAQ and community forums…

…to finally NOW find out that a Pi is not recommended at all any longer?? Come on.

  1. If Pi’s are not recommended for bitcoin-related work at all now, is this stated clearly and immediately at the beginning of the DIY documentation, BEFORE someone would even get started? I don’t see it:


Was I expected to go through the links there, to get to this page here, first?


  1. I don’t see where Matt Hill’s quote here is taken from originally. Source?

  2. I wish it could be more explanatory on that page as to what the average monthly data usage is going to be to run the base Bitcoin node service (excluding one’s own transactions),

  3. and maybe even just mention that expected power usage adds up a cost too. If going from a pi to a laptop, that’s likely going to be even more. IDK, so I just mention the concept in case it’s worthwhile to educate a little bit about too. For example, is the laptop going to be humming hard, fan blazing, blowing through many kWh?

That’s my “experience” thus far. Overall disappointing if now I have to convert a laptop instead, maybe a new SSD, etc? IDK Makes me wanna quit.

Unfortunately, we are often mistaken as a “Bitcoin node” project. We are not. StartOS is a general purpose OS for running server-side software. Many of these services run fine on a raspi, and we still support that platform for that purpose. It is a good idea to include a warning on our DIY page, and I will get that added - thanks for the suggestion.

Until about 6 months ago, Bitcoin also ran fine on a Pi, which is why you were hearing this mentioned a lot. Some folks still do not understand the shortcomings, which stem from the ballooning UTXO set. Combine this with the fact that if you already have an 8G pi synced, the odds of it running into issues are still not 100%, leading those users to believe there is no problem. We have spent hundreds of hours and talked to Core devs extensively about the issue, which we now understand fairly well. The pi was great for many years, but unfortunately you have come across it at the end of its life-cycle.

The quote from Matt was likely from Telegram, which is our most active channel at this time.

Measuring Bitcoin’s data usage is not deterministic, and has gotten much more difficult this year with all the additional data. This is a metric created by the network, and the only thing you can do is estimate the max possible: Totally full blocks (~2MB) x average blocks per month (~4350) = 8700MB or 8.7GB per month

Here is an experiment I did to determine power consumption on a pi running a bitcoin stack and some other services. I have not done this on any other devices, but it’s just a matter of making the time to do so. We could not do this for all possible hardware, so if you have a measurement for a device you use, we would love to hear from you. This is a community, not just a company.

I hope that you will continue on your journey. I know it can be frustrating, but keep in mind that you are on the bleeding edge of freedom-based technology, and it will only get better. Also, we (Start9 and the StartOS community) are here to help. You might like to check out this list of devices tested by other community members. A laptop is an option, but we like Mini PCs and Thin Clients, which can also be acquired cheaply and can be easily upgraded.


Thanks for the reply.

I guess I’ll keep playing with the Pi, such as to set up Nextcloud.

Meanwhile I do have the Bitcoin service syncing. It’s at 30% after a week. But if it’s on a pi4 with 4GB memory… is it ever going to actually finish, or am I just completely wasting my time, and the network itself?

Maybe there are other coin/token networks I can be easily supporting in the same capacity, privacy-oriented ones like Monero, Pirate, etc? Or maybe a BTC lightning network instead?

Lastly, should I actually be communicating on Telegram instead of here?

Still learning… thanks for your patience.

My advice is definitely not to bother - when you get to about 90-95% it will slow to a crawl. You may or may not ever complete the sync, and if you do, it will take months. The only workaround for this is to get the blockchain and copy it from another device, but again, you will have problems eventually.

Monero is available on our Community Registry - I have not tested this on a 4GB pi, but it is definitely more lightweight than Bitcoin. It is still resource intensive, so your mileage may vary. The Lightning Network nodes depend on a Bitcoin node, another reason we recommend more horsepower for the Bitcoin stack.

We are happy to help you here, and this forum is especially useful since it is easily searchable by the public, even without an account. Telegram is the fastest, and if you need a quick back-and-forth troubleshooting session, that would be the best choice.

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If you want to play with LN you can use LND and set in Config > Bitcoin node type > Built-in LND Neutrino. It should work then without Bitcoin.