Some bitcoin wallet applications allow the user to make a direct connection from the wallet app directly to a bitcoin full node that the user runs and controls.
The Casa app does not currently have the option to make a direct connection to your own node. Instead, we at Casa operate and manage the bitcoin nodes needed to send your transactions on your behalf.
Despite this, you can use a workaround to verify blockchain data outside of Casa using a watch-only wallet, which we'll detail further below.
What is a bitcoin full node?
A bitcoin full node refers to a point of reference in bitcoin's distributed network. A node is usually a dedicated computer that contains a full, accurate, up-to-date copy of the bitcoin blockchain, and connects to other nodes to share this data to help create a network consensus.
Nodes play an important role in the bitcoin network. By having many copies of bitcoin's transaction history and protocol that are distributed all around the world, it makes the network more robust and ensures that everyone on the network is playing by the same rules and staying honest.
Why would I want to connect to my own node?
Most people don't operate their own bitcoin node, and you don't need a node to use the Casa app. People operate a bitcoin node for many different reasons:
- Nodes increase the decentralization of the network.
- Nodes make it more difficult for malicious network changes to propagate.
- Users can verify their own transactions without having to trust any 3rd party.
By connecting to your own node that you operate, you are playing a small part in eliminating your reliance on 3rd parties, while at the same time helping the bitcoin network.
Why can't I connect my Casa app to my own node?
We don't allow the Casa app to link to a node that you run because doing so would require that we open up the Casa app to 3rd party connections.
If we were to make a change to the Casa app that would allow it to connect to a 3rd party, we would be opening up a major attack vector which could put your bitcoin at risk.
Think of it like leaving the front door to your home unlocked; while this may allow you and your family to get in more easily, it also increases the risk that a stranger could enter your home uninvited.
We would definitely consider giving the app the ability to connect directly to a node in the future if it could be done safely.
Why should I trust Casa for blockchain data?
You don't need to trust us! You can still verify transactions for yourself without having to trust our node by setting up a watch-only wallet with your own node.
All of the public and private bitcoin keys generated by your Casa app are protocol-level keys (they are not proprietary to Casa), which means you're not limited to using the Casa app to verify your addresses or transactions, or even to send funds.
Using "watch-only wallets," you can easily monitor your balance, verify transactions, and verify addresses using open-source, third-party tools.
While the Casa app itself doesn't allow a direct connection to your node, you can still recreate your wallet with just the public keys and link directly to a node that you control.
See Creating watch-only wallets for more information on watch-only wallets and how to set one up yourself.