Node – a device connected to the blockchain (computer, virtual server) on which the corresponding software is installed. Maintains the stability of the blockchain.
Nodes communicate with each other in peer-to-peer networks. Joint activities of nodes are carried out within the framework of the appropriate protocols – proof of ownership consensus, proof of work, and others.
Why do you need
Node is the basic element of the blockchain. Main goals:
- data exchange;
- storing the history of transactions;
- consensus check (PoW, PoS);
- creation of new blocks;
- network protection;
- validation of transactions.
Nodes may differ depending on the blockchain, size, function. Some platforms do not contain nodes for mining, but they do exist in any decentralized network.
Despite being equal, nodes can play different roles in the blockchain. They differ in the level and method of network support.
This is the device that stores the entire blockchain transaction base. The more there are in the network, the more reliable it is considered. They also affect scalability, transaction speed, stability, and security. If there is at least one complete node with 100% information, the blockchain can be restored.
The nodes are located in different countries. They ensure stable operation and renewal of the decentralized network. So, to support the Bitcoin blockchain, 12,724 full nodes are working (information at the end of October 2021). This is information about the number of connected and working nodes.
Not all nodes can be complete, some of them do not work. Therefore, the absolute number of nodes is several times higher.
Some users are technically unable to deploy a full node. The weight of blockchains is calculated in hundreds of gigabytes, for example, the Bitcoin network has a volume of more than 350 GB, other cryptocurrencies are smaller. Over time, the weight increases, depending on the number of operations.
A trimmed node is used if there is not enough space for a full one. It is called Pruned Full Node, it is considered complete and has all the powers, takes part in the validity. The size is set by the owner of the device. Works on the principle of a circular recording drive, when there is not enough space, the data is written over the previous information.
Full nodes that work without shutting down are called archive nodes. Such a node takes up a lot of space on a hard disk or other storage devices. Can mine or not.
Nodes can be engaged in mining new coins. The process consists of finding solutions for given conditions. These are cryptographic calculations that are demanding on the performance of the equipment.
Mining nodes can be full or truncated. The owner of the node receives a reward for the work. This fee is the driving force behind PoW blockchains.
In a PoS blockchain, nodes participate in staking – holding coins in a wallet or crypto exchange. The mechanism for making money is simple:
- a PC or server with specialized software, a cryptocurrency wallet is required;
- the node is synchronized with the distributed network;
- funds are entered into the wallet;
- the main condition is constant communication with the network.
The staking procedure participant’s remuneration depends on the number of frozen funds and time. In this case, the power of the PC does not play a role, unlike the PoW algorithm.
Full nodes make up no more than 1% of the total, the rest are classified as lightweight. Such computers do not contain the entire history, they work with block headers. Lightweight nodes depend on full ones. They are among the most compact in the blockchain. They serve as clients of simplified payment verification, they are also called light wallets. On their basis, multicurrency storage can be created. Used in mobile devices. They cannot mine cryptocurrency, do not affect security.
There are lightning nodes. Serve to reduce network loads.
Masternodes are used to check new blocks. This is another type of node. They have special control settings and depend on the network protocol.
A full node is demanding hardware resources. The requirements depend on the specific cryptocurrency used by the blockchain. There are minimum conditions:
- the current version of the OS;
- storage device from 500 GB, read speed not less than 100 MB/s;
- RAM – 8 GB or more;
- unlimited broadband Internet access.
Ways to make money
Investments in the basic elements of a distributed network serve as an alternative to mining, the income from which decreases over time. The options are:
- Harvesting – in the Proof-Of-Importance protocol, for a fee the node works to support other accounts;
- Leasing – in the PoS protocol, the cryptocurrency can be leased to other participants who lack their own funds in staking, for which the owner receives a part of the profit.
You can make money on master nodes. Not every cryptocurrency has nodes with this status, and the minimum amount of coins for work is also different.