A Bitcoin node is defined as a node that can change significantly according to the context in which it is used. When it comes to computer or telecommunications networks, a node can be used for a variety of purposes, acting as a redistribution or communication endpoint. Usually, a node is a physical network device, but in some specific cases a virtual node is used. Simply put, a network node is a point at which a message can be created, received, or transmitted. In this article, we will discuss the different types of Bitcoin nodes: Full Node, Super Node, Miner Node, and SPV Client.
What is a Bitcoin Node?
Going into the context of blockchain – designed as a distributed system – the network of computer nodes makes it possible for Bitcoin to be used as a decentralized peer-to-peer (P2P) digital currency that is not subject to control. browser thanks to its design and does not need an intermediary to conduct transactions between users (regardless of geographical distance in the world).
Therefore, blockchain nodes are responsible for acting as a point of communication that can perform various functions. Any computer or device that connects to the Bitcoin interface can be considered a node because they generally communicate with each other in some way. These nodes can also transmit information about transactions and blocks in a distributed computer network using the Bitcoin peer-to-peer protocol. However, each computer node is identified according to its specific functions, so there are different types of Bitcoin nodes.
What is Full Node?
Full Nodes (aka full nodes) are the nodes that actually support and provide security for Bitcoin. These nodes are integral to the network. These nodes are also called full validator nodes because they participate in the verification of transactions and blocks against the consensus rules of the system. The Full Node can also forward new transactions and blocks to the blockchain.
Normally, a Full Node downloads a copy of the bitcoin blockchain with each block and transaction on it, but this is not a requirement to be considered a Full Node (a minified copy of the blockchain can be to replace).
A Bitcoin Full Node can be set up through various software implementations, but the most used and popular is Bitcoin Core. These are the minimum requirements to run a Bitcoin Core Full Node.
A desktop or laptop computer with a recent version of Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux installed. The computer must have 200GB of free hard drive space. Memory 2GB (RAM). High-speed internet connection with a minimum upload speed of 50 kB/s. Unlimited connections or connections with high upload limits. Full Node can reach or exceed 200 GB/month upload usage and 20 GB/month download usage. You will also need a 200GB download when you first launch Full Node. Your Full Node should run for at least 6 hours per day. Even better if you run continuously (24/7).
Many organizations and volunteer users are running Bitcoin Full Nodes as a way to support the Bitcoin ecosystem. Currently, there are about 9,700 public nodes running on the Bitcoin network. Note that this number only includes public nodes that are exposed and accessible Bitcoin Listening Nodes (also known as Listening Nodes).
Besides the public nodes, there are many other hidden nodes that are not visible (non-Listening Nodes). These nodes often operate behind firewalls, through hidden protocols like Tor, or simply because they are configured to not accept connections.
What is Super Node?
Basically, a Super Node (aka Listening Node) is a Full Node with a public connection. It communicates and provides information to any other node that decides to establish a connection with it. Thus, a Super Node is essentially a redistributive point that can act both as a data source and as a communication bridge.
A reliable Super Node typically runs 24/7 and has several established connections. This node transmits blockchain history and transaction data to multiple nodes around the world. For that reason, a Super Node may need more computing power and a better internet connection when compared to a hidden Full Node.
What is Miner Node?
To be able to mine Bitcoin in the current competitive state, miners must invest in specialized mining hardware and programs. These mining programs (software) are not directly related to Bitcoin Core and run in parallel to mine Bitcoin blocks. A miner can choose to work alone (solo miner) or in groups (pool miner).
While solo miner Full Nodes leverage their own copy of the blockchain, miner pools work together, each contributing their own computational resources (hashpower). In a mining pool, only the administrator of the mine needs to run a Full Node – which can be called a Miner Pool’s Full Node.
What is Lightweight Client (SPV Client)?
Also known as the Simplified Payment Verification (SPV) client, the Lightweight Client is a client that leverages the Bitcoin network but does not actually function as a Full Node. Therefore, SPV Client does not contribute to the security of the network because it does not keep a copy of the blockchain and does not participate in transaction verification and validation.
In a nutshell, SPV is a method through which a user can check to see if some transactions are included in a block without having to download the entire block data. Therefore, the SPV Client relies on information provided by other Full Nodes (Super Nodes). Lightweight Client acts as communication endpoints and is used by many crypto wallets.
Client Node and Mining Node
It is important to note that running a full node is not the same as running a full mining node. While miners have to invest in expensive mining hardware and software, anyone can run a full validating node. Furthermore, before attempting to mine a block, miners need to collect pending transactions that were previously accepted as valid by the Full Nodes. Next, the miner creates a candidate block (with a set of transactions) and tries to mine that block. If a miner finds a valid solution for that block, he will announce it on the network and other Full Nodes will verify the validity of the block. Therefore, the consensus rules are decided and guaranteed by the distributed network of validating nodes, not by the miners.
Bitcoin nodes communicate with each other through the Bitcoin P2P network protocol, By doing so, they ensure the integrity of the system. A node that fails or attempts to transmit incorrect information is quickly recognized by honest nodes and will be disconnected from the network.
Despite the fact that running a fully validating node does not receive financial rewards, it is still advisable as it provides trust, security and privacy to the users. Full Nodes ensure that the rules are being followed. They protect the blockchain against attacks and fraud (such as double-spending fraud). In addition, Full Node allows users to have full control of their money because there is no need to entrust it to another person.