What are Bitcoin Nodes? - A Simple Guide for Beginners!

24 August 2021

A hub is a gadget or information point in a bigger organization, or all the more essentially, a piece of PC gear joined to an organization. With regards to the web and your family, your telephone is a hub, your PC is a hub, your switch is a hub, and that keen light is a hub as well.

Hubs can take numerous shapes, sizes, and structures. Everyone assumes an alternate part in the working of your family.

On account of the Bitcoin blockchain, there are four fundamental kinds of hubs: full hubs, super hubs, light hubs, and mining hubs. Full, super, and light hubs perform comparable capacities, while mining hubs play out an alternate capacity completely.

Prior to making a plunge, it's ideal to think about the blockchain as a record or rundown of exchanges. A wide range of hubs contribute somehow or another to building or keeping up that rundown.

Mining Nodes

There’s plenty written about what mining is and how it works, simply think of mining nodes as the nodes that produce the blocks for the blockchain. Mining nodes confirm the blocks that should be put into that “list,” in a process known as “mining.”

Mining nodes aren’t actually responsible for maintaining the blockchain, they are only responsible for creating blocks to add to it. After these blocks are created, they are sent over the network to full nodes which validate them and add them to the blockchain.

Full and Super Nodes

As their name suggests, full nodes are responsible for holding and distributing copies of the entire blockchain ledger. As such, they play a vital role in the network as they are the go-to point for validating the history of the blockchain.

The full node is able to validate transactions all the way back to the genesis block, at the time of publishing, the entire blockchain is getting about 242GB in size. Estimates claim there are over 10,000 operational full nodes on the Bitcoin network.

These nodes propagate the blockchain to all other nodes on the network to ensure the most trusted blockchain is maintained. The more nodes, the more decentralized the network, and the harder it is to hack.

Depending on the number of incoming and outgoing connections a full node has, it can also be referred to as a supernode or listening node.
Supernodes are a type of full node that generally operate around the clock to help connect other full nodes to each other and spread the blockchain across the entire network. They serve as information or redistribution relays to ensure everyone has the right copy of the blockchain.

Light Nodes

Light nodes — or thin nodes — perform a similar function to full nodes, but rather than holding an entire copy of the blockchain, they only contain a portion of it.

Light nodes only download the block header of previous transactions, to confirm the validity of the blockchain, and to pass this information on to other nodes. The block header is a summary of a block, it includes information about the previous block to which it is hashed, the time it was mined, and a unique identifying number called a nonce.

Light nodes connect to a parent node, usually a full node; which maintains a complete copy of the blockchain. As light nodes process less of the blockchain and aren’t helping propagate large volumes of data through the network, they don’t need to be as powerful and are much cheaper to own and maintain than full or supernodes.

That said, if a full node is hacked and holds an incorrect copy of the blockchain, the light nodes can serve to dismiss this blockchain as false, and confirm to the full node the correct blockchain it should be maintaining. Think of a group of light nodes as a group of supportive friends helping keep a full node on the straight and narrow.

Using light nodes helps to further decentralize the blockchain network, and spread the true ledger across a greater distance for a lower cost compared to full nodes.

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