It’s easy to see from hashrate charts that the Bitcoin network continues to grow stronger from a computational standpoint. However, nodes also play an important role in supporting the blockchain, and they’ve been in steady decline.
Although the technical skills needed to run a Bitcoin node have decreased over the years, the resource requirements and obligation have gone the opposite direction. While the network is still healthy, more nodes would help further decentralize the network, disperse trust, and make it more expensive to mount attacks.
There have been various proposals to combat the problem, including cheap dedicated node-running hardware such as the BitSeed and Bitcoin Mini. There are also several Bitcoin Improvement Proposals and various third-party, free market solutions that attempt to incentivise nodes, like the BitNodes contest.
Originally launched in July 2014, with some fairly typical improvements for an altcoin of that day, Spreadcoin featured a smooth reward halving, instead of bitcoin’s 50% stark drop every fourth