Lampros Tech

What Are Nodes in a Blockchain Network? An Overview.

A ‘Node’ is often synonymous with a “Junction” or a “Crossover”. But what does it mean in the context of Blockchain Technology? Let’s find out!

In blockchain tech, a node is a point where data passes through. 

A Node is one of the many components that form an integral part of the peer-to-peer network. It is simply a computer that validates transactions occurring in the digital ledger known as the block.

The peer-to-peer networking protocol allows the propagation of data about transactions and blocks throughout the network.

A user entering a blockchain space

In addition, the protocol permits the nodes to communicate with each other, at random.

FACT: There are about 100,000 nodes that communicate and advertise their nodes constantly.

The Function of Blockchain Nodes

Do you know how nowadays web2 transactions are easy to hack and give you trust issues?

In blockchains, nodes don’t even trust each – talk about teamwork!

Blockchain nodes function independently as a server. Nodes would either receive, relay, or accept data. Some nodes may relay the primary data, while some blockchain nodes only validate the data, and some relay while others publish the transaction’s data in the open network onto a new block.

However, a node that spreads inappropriate information about a transfer or a transaction gets separated from the blockchain network.

Incidentally, blockchain nodes are also storing sites. They record the data of the transaction in encrypted blocks they’ve received.

Nodes on the distributed web are liable to analyze every transaction. They shoulder the responsibility of validating the transaction after vetting. Post vetting, the nodes relay it to the miners or validators who publish it to the network.

Moreover, nodes have the power to decide what the rules of consensus are and behave accordingly. Miners get the blocks and transactions that nodes decided were legit. They give blocks to the nodes that are again under the scrutiny of the nodes – based on whose decision the blocks will propagate to the network.

Blockchain nodes examine the details making sure the double-spent has occurred to the concerned parties. The nodes determined the validity of the consensus rules, not miners because nodes will not propagate lies.

Furthermore, people with specific operating hardware can run or operate as Nodes. A 2 or 4-core processor, Gibs of RAM, Gibs of disk space, and internet speed. You’re all set to be an integral part of the blockchain network. Revolutionizing the web and finance.

A node operator needs a VPN to gain access to the blockchain network

But wait! Do you know what type of node you want to operate? Yup, there are two main types of nodes to operate from, with many sub-types. Discover your type!

Types of Blockchain Nodes

Light nodes

Do you know how you’ve got WiFi that connects to the local area network (LAN) for fast information retrieval instead of the MAN or the WAN servers?

Similarly, the Light Nodes behave as LAN servers. These blockchain nodes store and supply the necessary information to accommodate daily activities or accelerate transaction rates.

Moreover, these nodes are not involved in validating blocks or transactions. For familiarity, they are also known as Simplified Payment Verification Nodes or SPV Nodes for short.

However, a function they do shoulder is storing the block header. Making it easy for the node to quickly analyze and validate the credibility of the block and the transactions within.

Fully Validating Node

Informally known as Full Nodes, these nodes communicate through a random process of connection that it chooses from the network.

Furthermore, distinct and of many types, full nodes serve as the main market for information about a block. They function as the main servers of the blockchain network.

Moreover, a full node has more power apart from validating blocks and storing information on the blocks/ transactions. It plays a major role in blockchain development. If a Blockchain goes through an upgrade, and 55% of nodes approve of the upgrade, it results in the forking of the blockchain.

Forking occurs as the blockchain splits into two – one where the blockchain continues as it is with 45% of the nodes and the new version with the changes proposed, where 55% of the nodes will be functioning.

Nodes are connected to each other randomly

Pruned Nodes

Prune, as a verb, means to reduce something by removing the waste bits.

In a blockchain, Prune nodes are nodes with a definite memory space to record and reserve. These nodes download the blocks to maintain the blockchain ledger. When it reaches a limit, it bins the oldest blocks to make space and store the information of new blocks.*

It technically prunes the disc memory to create space for storing new information.

Archival Nodes

The most common form of nodes one finds in a blockchain network. They maintain the entire blockchain in their database. Unlike Pruned Nodes, these nodes have no limits on memory space.

Archival Nodes are of four types and are as below.

Mining Nodes

Miners operate Mining nodes or Miner nodes. These nodes can either be light or full and work on proving the work done to create a block. 

Thus, known as Proof-of-Work consensus.

Consequently, Miners need to work through a full archival node or retrieve the records themselves from other full nodes on the blockchain to understand the real-time situation of the digital ledger and work in fulfilling the requirements in making the next block.

Staking Nodes

Staking nodes, operated by Staker’s deposit a petit amount of their cryptocurrency while decrypting the blocks’ hashes.

Consider it a race with stakes. You stake a little, join a group of stakers, and the first one to finish the validation of the encrypted block gets rewarded with everyones’ staked money.

So, the Proof-of-Stake consensus method allows staking nodes to be a part of the validation game that goes on in the network.

So, you want to be a staker? Go for it, but it comes at a cost. The fastest staker wins!

Authoritative Nodes

As the name suggests, these nodes are authoritative and permit the joining of new nodes into the network.

Else, you’ll have to imagine a scenario where everyone becomes a node operator and joins the network to validate blocks and get rewarded with their stakes. One may even avail access to information on transactions happening on-chain.

Thus, the Authoritative nodes AUTHORIZE legit nodes to join the network to carry out the deeds and responsibilities respectively.

Consequently, maintaining the digital ledgers’ community of miners, validators, and stakers.

Masternodes

Masternodes are more agile than regular nodes. But this variant of full nodes cannot add blocks.

However, they maintain a record of transactions and validate them. Masternodes are responsible for the input data on blocks. These blocks later go to miners and stakers for validation.

Not to mention, Masternodes are required to be active/online on a Virtual Private Server almost 24/7 and stake or lock away some amount as collateral.

Importance of Blockchain Nodes

Every node behaves as an authoritative verifier of every transaction occurring on the block. They are the soul of the blockchain network that runs the entire arena in the digital space.

Considering each type of node has a specific function to cater to the nodes’ autonomy and place in the network are immense.

As a node operator, you no longer have to ask the validators if the transaction took place or question its validity. Now on the higher pedestal, you’re in charge of validating every transaction that occurs and ensuring no fraudulency happens.

Thus open web is clean, without false information about a transaction.

Summary

A node is a point of communication within the blockchain network. They carry the function of:

  • Behaves as a server.
  • Receives, relays, or accepts data
  • Storing sites that record data.
  • Liable to analyze every transaction.
  • Responsible to validate the transaction after vetting
  • Decides what the rules of consensus are.

There are many types of nodes depending on their functions. The two main types are Light nodes and Full nodes. Full nodes are further classified as:

  • Mining nodes
  • Staking nodes
  • Authoritative nodes
  • Masternodes
  • Pruned Nodes
  • Archival Nodes

The importance of Nodes in a blockchain is of prime essence. Without nods operating a blockchain, most of the blockchain functionality would be lost. It behaves as a point of contact for communication, verifies the block data, and maintains the consensus layer.

Did you like this blog on Blockchain Nodes? Feel free to check our blog on EVM which speaks about a specialized EVM Node! What would you like to read more about? Let us know in the comments below!

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