What are nodes: types and their capabilities

What are Nodes?

07 Dec, 2019 Endy Callahan

If we consider a node from the point of view of the crypto market, it is a computer connected to the blockchain network of one of the cryptocurrencies. How do these nodes communicate with each other? With the help of P2P protocols that exchange information. Actually, the blockchain system consists of nodes.

In order to understand what nodes are, let's briefly analyze what blockchain is and how it works. Understanding this system will help to find the answer to our question.

Blockchain is a decentralized system that contains all the information about the actions performed with any cryptocurrency. All this information is formed into blocks arranged in a certain sequence. Each such block contains information about transfers, and the place where it is stored is called a node. Most often, it is the user's computer that has access to the blockchain.

What nodes are there? 

All nodes can be divided into two main categories: normal or masternode. Let's understand how they differ from each other.

A normal node is any cryptocurrency user. Such nodes can be divided into two more classifications:

  • A full node is a computer that is connected to the blockchain 24/7 and stores all transaction blocks of a particular cryptocurrency. To make your computer a full node, you need to install on your computer a wallet that contains the full amount of blockchain of a particular cryptocurrency.
  • Lightweight node is fundamentally different from a full node, since it does not contain the full volume (blocks) of transactions. In all other respects, it is the same computer connected to the blockchain. It is also worth noting the multi-currency nature of many lightweight wallets - this allows you to store different cryptocurrencies.

There are also masternodes. These are full nodes that perform certain actions for a reward. To get the status of a masternode, you need to become a full node by downloading the entire blockchain, and then fulfill additional conditions. 

What functions do full nodes perform?

They ensure the efficiency of the entire blockchain system and help to make transactions and guarantee security by protecting users' information and transfers.

If you want to become a full node in the blockchain, remember that this process will take some time. It is also necessary to have enough free space on the hard disk to load the full amount of blockchain on it.