Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts, applications that operate exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference. Ethereum also has its own cryptocurrency called ether (ETH), which can be used to pay for transactions, services and applications on the network.
If you want to use Ethereum on your Mac, you have a few options. You can either run a full node, which syncs the entire blockchain and validates transactions, or you can use a light client, which only downloads the headers of blocks and relies on other nodes for verification. You can also use a web browser or a mobile app to access Ethereum applications without running a node.
In this article, we will explain how to use each of these options and what are their advantages and disadvantages.
Running a Full Node
Running a full node is the most secure and trustless way to use Ethereum on your Mac. You will have full control over your funds and data, and you will be able to participate in the network consensus and governance. However, running a full node also requires a lot of disk space, bandwidth and processing power. You will need to download and verify hundreds of gigabytes of data, and keep your node online and updated at all times.
The most popular software for running an Ethereum full node on Mac is go-ethereum, also known as Geth. Geth is an official implementation of the Ethereum protocol written in Go. You can download the latest stable release of Geth for Mac from the official website or install it using Homebrew:
brew tap ethereum/ethereum
brew install ethereum
Once you have installed Geth, you can start your node by opening a terminal window and typing:
geth --syncmode fast
This will launch Geth in fast sync mode, which downloads the most recent state of the blockchain and verifies it against the headers of previous blocks. This is faster than downloading and verifying the entire blockchain, but still requires a lot of disk space (around 300 GB as of April 2021).
If you want to interact with your node, you can attach a console to it by opening another terminal window and typing:
You can also use your node to send transactions, deploy smart contracts, mine ether and more. For more information on how to use Geth, check out the official documentation.
Using a Light Client
Using a light client is a more convenient and resource-efficient way to use Ethereum on your Mac. You don't need to download and verify the entire blockchain, only the headers of blocks. You also don't need to keep your node online and updated at all times. However, using a light client also means that you have to trust other nodes for verification and security. You may not be able to access some features or applications that require a full node.
The most popular software for running an Ethereum light client on Mac is go-ethereum light client, also known as LES. LES is an experimental feature of Geth that allows you to sync only the headers of blocks and request data on demand from other nodes. You can enable LES by adding the --light flag when launching Geth:
This will start Geth in light mode, which downloads only the headers of blocks (around 4 GB as of April 2021) and connects to other nodes for verification and data retrieval. You can still attach a console to your node and interact with it using the Geth RPC API, but some commands may not work or may take longer to execute.
For more information on how to use LES, check out the ec8f644aee