Blockchain technology has enabled a decentralized approach to commercial and financial transactions. With the advent of investment choices such as cryptocurrencies and NFTs, it has grown in popularity throughout the years. In order to function, these blockchains make use of node technology.
Blockchain nodes keep a complete copy of the distributed ledger and are accountable for the data's trustworthiness. This distributed ledger can be accessed in real time by all blockchain participants, making it nearly hard to obtain control of the blockchain.
This article presents an overview of the concept of a blockchain node and the different types of nodes that make up a blockchain network.
What is a Node in a Blockchain Network?
Nodes have recently been a hot topic in the blockchain community. This is because nodes are an important part of a blockchain's architecture. The data on a blockchain would be inaccessible without nodes.
peered blockchain nodes
A blockchain is made up of data blocks. These data chunks are stored on nodes (compare it to small servers). Any device can function as a node (mostly computers, laptops or even bigger servers). A blockchain's infrastructure is made up of nodes. All nodes on a blockchain are linked to one another and regularly exchange the most recent blockchain data with one another to keep all nodes up to date. They store, distribute, and maintain blockchain data, thus a blockchain exists in theory on nodes.
Let's break down the notion of a blockchain node this way:
- Nodes determine if a block of transactions is valid and then accept or reject it.
- Nodes broadcast and distribute this transaction history to other nodes that may need to synchronize with the blockchain.
- Nodes save and store blocks of transactions.
Types of Nodes in Blockchain
There are two types of nodes: full nodes and light nodes. Full ones provide a copy of the blockchain's history, including all blocks that have been mined. Light nodes are wallets that just download the headers of blocks, saving users hard disk space. Let's take a closer look at the various subtypes.
A full node is essentially a device (such as a computer) that has a complete copy of the blockchain's transaction history. They hold a vast amount of data; for example, the Ethereum full node size in the Geth version is over 750 GB. Full nodes technically keep copies of all transactions that occurred in blockchain.
Full nodes are further classified as follows:
i. Pruned Full Nodes The unique feature of pruned full nodes is that it starts downloading blocks from the beginning and deletes the older ones once the given limit is reached, maintaining just their headers and chain placement. For example, if you set a size restriction of 550MB, you will store all of the most recent blocks that can fit on that hard drive space.
ii. Archival Full Nodes Archival full nodes store the entire blockchain in its database. Their primary responsibility is to maintain consensus and validate blocks. The only distinction between pruned and archived nodes is the amount of hard disk space they consume on your server or PC. Archival nodes are classified into two types: those that can contribute blocks to the blockchain and those that cannot.
The blockchain nodes I've discussed thus far may all join a network and execute their functions without requiring permission from anyone. That is the core of a blockchain: it's decentralized.
Authority nodes are of use to centralized blockchains. The transaction validators will be chosen by the proprietors of these networks. In the Delegated Proof of Stake system, for example, network users vote on who gets to validate the next block.
Mining nodes validate the transactions necessary for the creation of new data blocks. To accomplish this, mining nodes either act as archive full nodes or obtain information from a node. Miners, unlike regular nodes, are compensated for the additional benefits they offer to the blockchain.
Staking is analogous to having a typical fiat money deposit. You purchase coins and keep them while receiving interest as a reward. While multiple perspectives exist on the Proof of Stake consensus technique, the key feature is that earning money may be equated to playing the lottery. Staking is a game of chance that, although having a lower entrance barrier, provides less assurance than mining and can be perplexing at times.
Masternodes cannot add blocks to the network; instead they can only validate and record transaction information. However, when you run a masternode, you're not only securing the network but can earn a share of the rewards for your services.
Light nodes, also known as read-only nodes, are the smallest and most adaptable components of any blockchain system. Their privileges are limited: they can only verify the state of the blockchain, i.e. light nodes can't see account balances, block content, validator status, and so on.
They must be synced with full nodes during their operations. Because light nodes hold little amounts of data, they require minimal software and hardware. Even on a low-powered machine, light nodes may be set up in less than an hour for the majority of blockchains.
It can be challenging for beginners to understand the types of nodes involved in a blockchain network for the first time, thus it is better to provide you with a brief reference sheet for nodes, what they are excellent at, and their drawbacks:
Summary In this article, we looked at the concept of a blockchain node and provided a general overview of the different types of nodes that make up a blockchain network. Understanding blockchain nodes and their types will assist you in developing cost-effective, secure, and faster apps to address your customers' pain points. As a result, if you are a company or an individual interested in blockchain technology, this article will help you explore blockchain nodes and their significance.