What are Nodes?
Recently, Node (button) and Masternode is an increasingly discussed topic in blockchain. That’s right, because Node is a critical component that allows blockchain technology to work and survive. Without a node, the blockchain’s data would be inaccessible. You can understand that nodes are blockchains.
A blockchain exists from blocks of data, which are stored on nodes. Nodes can be any type of device but are mostly computers, laptops, or even larger servers. Nodes form the infrastructure of a blockchain.
All nodes on a blockchain are connected to each other and they constantly exchange the latest blockchain data with each other, so that all nodes are always up to date. They store, transmit and preserve blockchain data, so a blockchain would theoretically exist on nodes. A full node is essentially a device (like a computer) that contains a complete copy of the blockchain’s transaction history.
The role of nodes
When a miner tries to add a new block of transactions to the blockchain, it propagates the block to all nodes on the network. Based on block legitimacy (signature and transaction validity), nodes can accept or reject that block of transactions. When a node accepts a new block of transactions, it saves and stores it on top of the remaining blocks it has stored. In a nutshell, here’s what nodes are supposed to do:
- Nodes check if a block of transactions is valid and accept or reject it.
- Nodes save and store blocks of transactions (store blockchain transaction history).
- Nodes that broadcast and transmit this transaction history to other nodes may need to synchronize with the blockchain (need to be updated on transaction history).
Difference between a miner and a node
Miners always need to run a full node to select valid transactions and form a new block. Without a full node, it cannot determine which proposed transactions are valid according to the current blockchain’s transaction history, as it does not have access to the full blockchain history.
Therefore, a miner is also always a full node. However, a node is not necessarily a miner at the same time. A device can run a full node by receiving, storing, and transmitting all transaction data just like a server, without creating new blocks of transactions.
Thus, a full node in the blockchain is a complete copy of the blockchain transaction history on any device.
How nodes secure the blockchain
Nodes can be online or offline. Online nodes will receive, save, and transmit all the latest blocks of transactions from these nodes to other nodes, while offline nodes will not.
When an offline node comes back online, it will first need to catch up with the rest of the blockchain, by downloading all the blocks that have been added to the blockchain since the node went offline. This process is often referred to as synchronization with the blockchain.
Theoretically, the entire blockchain could run on a single node, but since it’s only stored on a single device, it would be extremely vulnerable to problems like power outages, hackers, etc. or system crash.
The more full nodes the blockchain runs on, the better its resilience to such disasters. When blockchain data is spread across so many devices, it will be difficult for one incident to wipe all this data at once.
Even if a large number of nodes suddenly go offline and become inaccessible due to the global crisis. Also, a single node can keep the entire blockchain running. And even if all the nodes go offline, just one node with the full blockchain history back online will make all the data accessible again.
Who can run a node?
Some blockchains have thousands of concurrently online nodes. Anyone can run a node by downloading the transaction history of a blockchain. Many crypto and blockchain enthusiasts are running nodes voluntarily.
They do this to contribute to the blockchain community, its development, security and integrity, but also simply because it is their preference and makes them feel part of the project. Running a node is considered quite simple for the tech-savvy and also doesn’t require a lot of resources.
However, some blockchains currently hold such a large amount of transaction data that it actually requires a lot of on-device memory to run a full node. As a result, many crypto users just want to use a blockchain with wallet applications. These apps allow them to broadcast transactions from their wallets without being required to download the entire blockchain history on their own devices.
What are Masternodes?
And finally, some blockchains also have masternodes. Masternodes are usually more heavily equipped than normal nodes. Besides validating, saving and transmitting transactions, masternodes also sometimes facilitate other events on the blockchain depending on their nature, such as regulating voting events, providing execute protocol operations and enforce the laws of the blockchain accordingly.
Masternodes are usually always online (24/7) and facilitate more memory than normal nodes. You can understand a masternode like hosting a very large server on the network. Because hosting a masternode typically requires more resources (electricity, uptime, maintenance, storage space, memory), hosting a masternode often provides payment in the form of interest. .
Who can run a masternode?
Not everyone can run a masternode. Because control over the masternode can be abused and thus it requires the host to deposit a minimum amount of cryptocurrency (usually quite large) as collateral. This collateral will be used when the masternode server violates the rules of the blockchain. The interest a masternode server receives is calculated on their collateral deposit.
Dash (DASH) is one of the most popular blockchains with a built-in masternode feature. However, hosting a masternode on the Dash blockchain is not cheap. The minimum collateral to qualify to host a masternode on this blockchain is currently a staggering 1,000 DASH, which is worth $200,000 at the moment. However, it can still be an attractive investment, as the DASH blockchain, for example, returned an annual interest rate of 11% in 2016.
See more: What is Dash? Things to know about the latest DASH coin in 2020
At the time of writing, a live masternode screening website currently running on the DASH network shows 4,941 masternodes running, of which 1284 are in the US and 1038 in the Netherlands.
According to medium
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