Review: Casa Node

Review

The Lightning Network is still hailed as the go-to solution for the current congestion on the Bitcoin network due to ever-increasing adoption. And for good reason, the Lightning Network enables a large portion of all Bitcoin transactions to be made without directly burdening the Bitcoin blockchain and without compromising trust.

To be able to use Lightning sovereignly, a node must be run. For some, installing and managing a node can be a step too far. More and more plug ‘n play solutions are now appearing to overcome these technical barriers.

An example of such a solution is the Casa Node.

The Casa Node

The Casa Node is a ready-made solution for using Lightning. Casa houses a Bitcoin full node from Bitcoin Core, and a Lightning node from Lightning Labs. Thanks to Casa’s self-made interface, both nodes can be easily operated through one web application.

The software runs on a Raspberry Pi 3B+ with 1 GB of RAM, in combination with a 1 TB hard drive to keep track of the blockchain. This makes it an energy-efficient device that can remain online silently day and night.

Because the Casa has its own operating system and only needs power and internet to work, it is compatible with Windows, Linux and MacOS.

There are advantages and disadvantages to Casa’s ready-to-use package. The node already comes with a pre-synchronized blockchain. This is the advantage that Casa offers; there is no need to wait hours, days or even weeks to download and verify the blockchain.

This is also where the disadvantage immediately comes into play. You no longer have to verify the blocks yourself. When you buy the Casa Node, you trust that the company has not made any changes to the data. As a result, you sacrifice a lot on lack of trust, for the benefit of ease of use.

It is possible to download and verify the entire blockchain yourself from the Casa Node. You can then use the hardware and software that Casa offers, without relying on the correctness of the data supplied. However, this was not done overnight. Synchronizing on a Raspberry Pi can take days to weeks.

Reception

The Casa Node comes in a compact white box. Upon opening, an acknowledgment from CEO Jeremy Welch and a simple instruction booklet for setting up the node appear.

Sealed protection is used to guarantee that you receive the product directly from Casa itself. There is a special kind of sticker on the box that, if the box is opened before, leaves traces. This makes it possible to check whether the product has completed the journey from the factory to the customer unopened. This is important to prevent the supplied data, the blockchain, from being tampered with without the customer noticing.

To make the software as controllable as possible, Casa has made the node software open source. Anyone could check what exactly the node is doing behind the scenes. For example, it can be checked whether private keys are secretly sent to Casa’s servers, and vulnerabilities can be discovered and reported.

In addition to the node, which is in a specially made housing, all necessary accessories are also supplied. For example, the power cable has several plugs so that it fits into the socket on several continents. In addition, the cable for the internet and the cable to connect the Raspberry Pi to the hard drive are also included.

??

In practice

??

Installation

As said before, the Casa Node is synchronized, so only the last remnant needs to be downloaded. After all, blocks will continue to be found, even when the node is on its way to your house.

 

When the Raspberry Pi has started with CasaOS, the initialization of the node can be started. It is possible to create a new bitcoin wallet, or to import an existing one. Think carefully about whether you would actually want to use a seed from another wallet, such as a hardware wallet. The node is connected to the internet, and should therefore not be regarded as a secure storage of bitcoins.

 

 

When you choose to create a new wallet, a new private key is created. The backup of this can be based on a seed; 24 words to recover that private key. It is therefore important that these words are well preserved, because if the node is lost or damaged, the bitcoins present can only be restored with this backup.

To check whether the seed has actually been recorded, preferably offline, a number of words are requested after the creation of the seed. Additional security can be set by means of a password. This password prevents access to the node from anyone on the same network as the device. If one has access to the same network, then the password must first be retrieved before access can be gained to the node.

 

In addition to relying on the blockchain data provided, the Casa Node is trustless. So there is no department where people can knock if they have forgotten their password. The entire setup is at your own risk.

It will take at least a few hours before the node is fully up to date. In order not to stare unnecessarily at the progress of this, it is advisable to have the device synchronized when you go to work, for example, or close your eyes at night.

 

Even after synchronization there is sometimes a waiting time around the corner. For example, if there is a loss of power or internet, the node will no longer work, and synchronization must be caught up, or even partially redone.

Management

When the node is fully synced, the dashboard will indicate that both the Bitcoin and Lightning node are online . From that moment on, the Casa Node can be used.

A bitcoin address can be generated from the Bitcoin node. The bitcoins that you then send to this address will be managed at the Casa. Here you can easily both receive and send bitcoins through the simple dashboard.

 

To actually be able to use Lightning, payment channels will first have to be set up. These payment channels ensure that you get a connection with other nodes on the network. Setting up such channels can be a bit unclear for the beginner; some technical data is needed, such as the IP address, to set up a targeted connection with a specific node.

There is a solution for this, the autopilot. The autopilot automatically provides a number of payment channels with nodes that have good connections with the rest of the network. Although this does not always work flawlessly, it is often a great method to become part of the network and thus be able to make bitcoin payments via the Lightning network.

extension

Meanwhile, a browser extension for the Casa Node. With this extension the node can be managed from the browser. Sending transactions from the Bitcoin node as well as from the Lightning node can be accomplished with a few clicks.

In addition, the extension recognizes when lightning payments are requested on a website. By pressing a Pay with Lightning button, the extension will automatically load the payment request, allowing it to be paid with one click.


Conclusion

The Casa Node is a nice device. It has been developed with an eye for detail, so that everything works intuitively. For the inexperienced user, the simplistic dashboard is just enough to get started with the nodes. For technical questions, a special helpdesk is ready to assist, something that is certainly a plus for such experimental technology.

In addition to the helpdesk, Casa has already done some work in advance to make it as easy as possible to use. There are several manuals with explanations; from functions of the Casa Node, to forwarding your own internet ports.

The hardware has, of course to reduce costs, the minimum requirements to run the nodes. This is occasionally noticeable during use of the device. Loading times are sometimes a bit longer than desired, but you will have to take that for granted.

It is important to realize that both Lightning and the Casa Node are still in an experimental phase. Because both are still in a so-called beta , it must be taken into account that unknown errors may occur. In the worst case scenario, this could mean that credits could be lost. Even if this does not seem to be happening anymore, it is necessary to be on the safe side. Do not manage more money in your online nodes than what is necessary.

Advantages
Turnkey solution
Open source
Self-managed nodes
User friendly
Help desk for questions
Renowned team
Cons
You have to rely on the provided blockchain synchronization
Hardware has the minimum requirements
Pricey

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2024 Cryptocoin Budisma.net