A Brief Overview of Blockchain Nodes

Validator node tasks

Data by itself is nothing, data registries are everything. Registry management means full control of any data included in it. There are many approaches to managing data registries, but today everyone is talking about a new approach called Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). The popularity of DLT is explained very simply, because the increasingly popular blockchain it is nothing more than variety of DLT. And if we speak about blockchain, we should not forget about nodes. Nodes are the very devices that store copies of blockchain data, and which add blocks with new transactions to the chain, based on consensus. Validators on the blockchain are responsible for confirming such transactions. They are also called validator nodes.

The main tasks of validators are to compare the received information with the available information and confirm this block in the chain. Blockchain validators ensure data integrity and prevent fraudulent transactions. They ensure that every transaction has a genuine sender and recipient. Many companies or enterprises find it convenient and cost-effective to get a provider`s service related to providing them with validator nodes.

Node structure

What are nodes from a technical point of view? The components of a node are the next: a hardware and software. The hardware is a physical or virtual server with mining equipment. Software allows the node to interact with other nodes in the network, and also ensures that the node performs the necessary functions correctly. In different cases, different hardware can be used to deploy a node. It can be either a home personal computer or a dedicated server with a powerful configuration. We can see, that for any blockchain, a node is the basic structural unit. Moreover, the very existence of a decentralized network is impossible without independent nodes. And it`s not randomly that nodes are  launched by developers at the earliest stages of blockchain project development.

The role of full nodes

To solve various problems, there are several types of nodes. The first type of nodes are full nodes. Their main tasks are listed below.

Task number 1 – checking blocks. Although miners or validators are responsible for generating blocks and processing transactions, each full node of the network must check the finished block and either add it to the transaction history or reject it.

Task number 2 – saving the history of transactions. The fact is that the full or partial history of transactions is stored in the node hoarder. At the same time, the number of copies of transactions can vary from several tens to several thousand. It depends on the size of the blockchain and the degree of its decentralization. But this is not the limit. The fact is that the volumes of databases are constantly increasing, which creates problems when saving them, as the technical requirements for deploying nodes increase. And in those cases when you need to run an archive node with a complete history of the state of the network, the requirements for the size of free space increase significantly.

Task number 3 – data relaying. This means that a node can transmit information to other nodes. This happens only after the node has verified the transaction and added a new block to its copy of the database. The purpose of such actions is to ensure the security of the blockchain by synchronizing the state of the network and maintaining the integrity of the database.

Task number 4 – connecting to the blockchain. The fact is that the nodes act as a kind of communication channels between users and the network. Without nodes, neither the initialization of transactions, nor the calling of smart contract functions, nor other actions of network users related to the blockchain are possible. And one of the tasks of infrastructure providers is precisely to provide their nodes to users for their access to the blockchain.

Other categories of nodes

In addition to the listed main tasks, nodes can have additional functions, the implementation of which requires the appropriate configuration. Let’s list a few more varieties of nodes:

– Light nodes. They store only partial data about transactions, which means they cannot check the block themselves, and rely on full nodes to synchronize the database. But they can provide full access to the blockchain, they are easy to launch and maintain.

– Lopped full nodes. They also store only a part of the transaction history, however, they can serve as a compromise for those users who do not satisfy light nodes, but it is expensive to maintain a full database.

– Archived full nodes. They keep a complete history of transactions for the entire existence of the network. On the basis of archived full nodes,  mining nodes,  staking nodes, authority nodes and master nodes can be launched.

At the end of the topic, it should be noted that there are two more categories of nodes that are not included in the general classification, these are super nodes and lighting nodes.

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