What are nodes?

The definition of a network node can vary greatly depending on the context in which it is used. When it comes to computer or telecommunication networks, the nodes may have different uses. Nodes are able to act as a redistribution point or as an end point for communication. Usually the node is a physical network device, but there are some specific cases where virtual nodes are used.

In simple terms, a network node is a point where it creates, receives, or transmits a message. Now we will look at the different types of nodes in the network of Bitcoin : full nodes, supernodove, mining units and SPV customers.

Bitcoin node

Speaking of bitcoins that are designed as distributed systems, the network of computer nodes enables cryptocurrency to be used as a peer-to-peer (P2P) user-to-peer digital currency. This makes it censorship resistant and requires no intermediary to transact from one user to another, regardless of their location.

Therefore, blockchain nodes act as a communication point that can perform various functions. Any computer or device that connects to the bitcoin interface can be considered a node, since these devices communicate in some way with each other. These nodes are also able to transmit information about transactions and blocks across the distributed network of computers using peer-to-peer bitcoin protocol. However, each computer node is defined according to its specific functions. So there are different types of bitcoin nodes.

Full nodes

Full nodes are the ones that really maintain and provide the security of the bitcoin chain, and they are mandatory for it. These nodes can be defined as fully validating nodes as they participate in the process of checking transactions and blocks according to the consensus rules of the system. Also, complete nodes are able to retransmit new transactions and blocks to the blockchain.

Usually, the full node downloads a copy of the bitcoin blockchain with each block and transaction. However, this is not a requirement to be considered a complete bitcoin node, and a reduced copy of the blockchain may be used instead.

Many organizations and users use full bitcoin nodes as a way to help the bitcoin ecosystem. As of 2018, approximately 9,700 public notes operate on the cryptocurrency network. It should be borne in mind that this number includes only public nodes that refer to so-called “listening” bitcoin nodes that are visible and accessible.

In addition to public nodes, there are many other hidden nodes that are not visible. These are the so-called. “Non-listening” nodes. These nodes typically operate behind a firewall, through hidden protocols such as Tor, or simply because they are configured not to “listen” for connections.

Listening Nodes (Supernodes)

Essentially a listening node or super node is a complete node that is visible to the others. It communicates and provides information to any other node that decides to contact it. Therefore, the super node is essentially a redistribution point that can act as both a data source and a communication bridge.

A reliable super node usually works constantly and has several established connections. It transmits blockchain history as well as transaction data to multiple nodes around the world. For this reason, a super node may require more processing power and a better internet connection than a full node that is hidden.

Miner’s Knots

In order to be able to extract bitcoins in today’s great competition from diggers, one must invest in specialized hardware and extraction programs. These extraction programs or software are not directly related to Bitcoin Core and are run in parallel to test and excavate bitcoin blocks. The digger can choose to work independently, also known as a “solo miner”, as well as in groups – the so-called. digger in “mining pool” or “mining pools”.

While full-scale solo miners use their own copy of the blockchain, the mining pool diggers work together, each contributing to its own hashpower. In the extraction pool, only the administrator is required to complete a full node. This node can also be defined as a complete digger node in the extraction pool.

Conclusion

Bitcoin nodes communicate with each other through the Bitcoin P2P (Bitcoin peer-to-peer) network protocol, thus guaranteeing the integrity of the system. A bitcoin node that behaves incorrectly or tries to disseminate incorrect information is quickly recognized by honest nodes and disconnected from the network.

Despite the fact that operating a fully validating unit does not provide financial benefits, its use is recommended. It guarantees more trust, safety and confidentiality for consumers. Complete units ensure compliance with the rules in the chain. They protect the blockchain network from attacks and fraud (such as double spending). In addition, the full node does not need to trust others and allows the user to fully control their money.