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Full Node

Jun 3, 2023 | Updated Jun 3, 2023
A full node is a component of a blockchain that stores and validates transactions. It is a computer program that ensures the security of a blockchain by enforcing consensus rules and transmitting data to other full nodes.

What Is a Full Node?

A full node is an integral component of any blockchain. It is a computer in a network of connected computers which validate and store transactions on a blockchain. It hosts a copy of the data on the entire blockchain and uses this information to verify the history of a transaction before validating any new data. 

Think of a full node as one of many cars on a train, independent but connected to other cars and performing the same function. In Bitcoin, a full node helps keep the entire network secure and running. It validates transactions and new blocks, and transmits the data to other full nodes on the network. Full nodes also ensure that there is consensus between nodes, and they also vote on proposals for updates to the Bitcoin network. 

Validators that operate a full node have to verify the blocks that have been created by miners on that network. The block has to meet the rules set in the blockchain network. Once a full node verifies the data, it will be added to the copy of the blockchain stored by the full node. The data is then transmitted to other full nodes on the network and the transaction is reviewed and, if the other nodes agree, validated. 

Mining: Full nodes vs miners 

Mining nodes are computers that solve complex cryptographic puzzles to earn the right to create the next block. They are known as miners and compete to unlock the next block and earn mining rewards in Proof of Work (PoW) blockchains. Miners use specialized computer hardwares known as application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) to add new blocks to the network.

Full nodes and miners are integral components of the blockchain, but they have their differences. Miners can create new blocks to be added to the blockchain, while full nodes validate these new blocks (but can’t create their own). Miners receive an incentive for creating these blocks in the form of rewards, while full nodes don’t receive incentives but their transactions have increased security. 

Mining also requires specialized and powerful computers and enormous amounts of electricity to run, while full nodes can run on devices with significantly less power. 

Not all full nodes are miners, as running a full node does not necessarily involve participating in the mining process. However, many miners choose to operate their own full nodes to enhance their mining operations and maintain a high level of independence and security.

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