Over the past few months, there has been a lot of talk about operating a network node. In the bitcoin world, there are full nodes and pruned node,s both of which are incredibly valuable to the ecosystem. However, some alternative cryptocurrencies implemented masternode support. Everyone running such a node provides vital services to the network in exchange for a financial incentive. It is good to compare all three types of nodes and see how they all operate in a different manner.
Altcoin enthusiasts will be familiar with the masternode concept. Everyone who runs a masternode – for Dash, PIVX, or any other currency supporting it – will need to lock a specific amount of coins in a wallet address used to operate the masternode in question. Once said funds are removed, the user is no longer eligible to receive incentives generated by providing masternode services to the ecosystem.
In the bitcoin world, there is no masternode support whatsoever. Some people feel such a feature needs to be implemented, as it would provide an incentive for more users to put a network node. Then again, bitcoin already has two types of nodes which support the network, as can be seen below. Masternodes are well received in the Dash and PIVX ecosystems so far. Stratis will also implement nodes in the future to support their upcoming Breeze Wallet.
2. Pruning Node
In the bitcoin network, not everyone is capable of running a full network node at all times. The device running the node needs to be connected to the internet at all times and come with a lot of storage space. However, there is an alternative solution available in the form of a pruning node, which reduces storage requirements by quite a margin. This allows users to set up a pruning node on a cheaper device, such as a Raspberry Pi for example.
Moreover, a pruning node reduces the number of transactions that need to be stored. Rather than storing entire network blocks full of data, the pruning node stores the final link of every transaction. Moreover, they can still validate bitcoin transactions and relay them to the rest of the network. It is quite a cost-effective solution for people who want to support the bitcoin network but can’t run a full node at all times. The wallet linked to the pruned node does not need to contain any BTC to provide this service.
1. Full Node
Everyone who supports bitcoin should, in theory, run a full network node. Unfortunately, that also means storing over 120GB of data – a number that will continue to increase significantly every month – which is a major drawback. An old computer, or a cheaper device with external storage for example, is sufficient to operate a full network node. A lot of people use VPS servers for this type of purpose as well, even though that does not necessarily work at all times.
One thing to keep in mind when running a full network node is how the device will use a lot of internet bandwidth. In some cases, this can exceed several hundreds of gigabytes on a monthly basis. It is important to note running a full network node does not require the wallet address to hold any bitcoin whatsoever, unlike when people in the altcoin world operate a masternode. There are also no incentives for running a full bitcoin node either.
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