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Node Meaning

Mar 6, 2023 | Updated Jul 18, 2023
A node refers to a computer that participates in a blockchain network and is responsible for creating, receiving, and transmitting a message.

What is a Node in Blockchain?

Any computer connected to a blockchain network may be considered a node. A blockchain node is a point of communication in blockchain networks. The nodes can transmit information about blocks and transactions carried out within a network’s distributed economic system. 

Nodes enable cryptocurrencies to function as decentralized peer-to-peer (P2P) digital currencies without financial intermediaries. Since blockchains like Bitcoin are decentralized, running a node on its network increases the amount of Bitcoin nodes, ensuring that it is secure and even more decentralized. Additionally, they enforce and uphold consensus protocols to ensure users adhere to the network’s rules. Violating the rules may get you banned from the network.

Types of Nodes

Nodes are classified based on their unique functions within a blockchain network and subdivided into different types of nodes, including full nodes, listening nodes (supernodes), and miner’s nodes.

Full Node

Full nodes, also called fully validating nodes, help verify blocks and transactions using a blockchain’s rules, which are enforced by the network’s consensus mechanism. They are integral to the blockchain protocol and are responsible for supporting and securing the network. Moreover, fully validating nodes can relay new blocks and transactions to the protocol. The full nodes normally download a duplicate, or reduced copy of the protocol, that contains all the transactions and blocks in the network.

Light Nodes

Light nodes are a more lightweight version of full nodes. They do not store a complete copy of the blockchain but instead rely on other nodes to provide them with information about the blockchain. Light nodes are useful for users who want to access the blockchain but do not have the resources to run a full node.

Listening Nodes (Supernodes)

Listening nodes or supernodes are accessible and visible to the public. Using this logic, full nodes that are publicly available are also considered listening nodes. Listening nodes can establish a connection with other nodes to facilitate communication between them. A supernode is responsible for communicating and providing blockchain data to any node connected to it. 

Supernodes serve as the redistribution point and relay station, which ensures that every node connected to it has the right copy of the blockchain, for the communication bridge and the data source. A typical node functions 24/7, transmitting data and transaction history to multiple nodes across the world. 

Mining Nodes Nodes

Mining nodes are responsible for creating new blocks on the blockchain through the process of mining. They perform complex calculations to solve cryptographic puzzles, and when they find a solution, they create a new block and add it to the blockchain. In return for their work, mining nodes receive a reward in the form of cryptocurrency.

Mining nodes demand specialized mining software and hardware, like ASIC machines, due to the competitive and demanding nature of mining Bitcoin. Miners build their nodes to have extra computing power because miners use their nodes to earn block rewards.  While solo miners may download a copy of the entire blockchain to function as full validating nodes, pool miners contribute their hashpower, giving only the pool administrator the capacity to run a full node.

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