There are many different ways of interacting with the Bitcoin network. The main choices tend to be :

  • Run your own node
  • Connect to a third-party API
  • Run a self-hosted, light-weight edge-router e.g. a Planaria Eventchain Node

For the purposes of subsequent tutorials and code samples, there exists a special mode for running a Bitcoin node locally called Regression Test Mode or REGTEST. This is a very safe way to get started and the bitcoin client software remains fully functional. In regression test mode you are able to :

  • generate as many bitcoin tokens as your want (local use only)
  • transmit and receive transactions (locally only)
  • query for transactions
  • and pretty much all the other features of a public node

In Regression Test Mode the local node software does not connect to the larger bitcoin network (not even the public TestNet). This gives the developer absolute control over their playground, without having lots of external network events/transactions being broadcast into the local environment.

For the impatient, interested in different ways of interacting with the Bitcoin network, you can have a read through the Application Architecture section.

The different modes of running a local node are :

  • MAINNET- Connects your node to the live bitcoin network
  • TESTNET- Connects your node to the public test network
  • STN - Connects your node to the scaling test network. CAREFULL! The Scaling Test Network generates HUGE blocks. Expect block sizes in excess of 1 (one) gigabyte.
  • REGTEST- Regresstion Test Mode. Runs a node in local-only test mode with no connections to the public bitcoin networks. Great for local development. All the examples in this guide will assume a running local instance, configured in REGTEST mode.