February 10, 2019, by Marko Vidrih on ALTCOIN MAGAZINE
They are fundamental to the functioning of a blockchain and thus of a cryptocurrency. But often you do not hear anything about them and they are not really known. Anyone dealing with cryptocurrencies — and it does not matter if it’s Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple or IOTA — should be familiar with them.
We are talking about the so-called Nodes and Full Nodes. But what is an IOTA Full Node actually? Why do you need them and should you set one up?
IOTA Full Node — What is it?
First, a little info in advance, so that the system and the relevance of nodes and full nodes are understood: The cryptocurrency IOTA is not based on a blockchain, but on the tangle. The blockchain consists of blocks, which are created by the computing power of the miners. By creating a block, all previous transactions are deemed correct.
It’s different with IOTA and the Tangle. There is no mining and consequently, the consensus has to be found differently. With the help of a full node. The more people join in and find the consensus, the faster, more scalable, and ultimately the more valuable the currency becomes.
For you, it can make sense to install a full node as well. That’s how your investment in MIOTA — the IOTA’s token — can grow. Because if the interest in the cryptocurrency and the coin increases, but there is not enough of the full nodes, the tangle slows down. Thus, the system becomes inefficient and transactions take longer. That’s not good for the whole ecosystem.
But how do you want to tackle it? After all, there is no reward for a miner because the process itself does not exist. Either the community must create incentives, as IOTA’s followers do. They often donate the token of the currency to some full-node operators and thus support them.
- Here, however, other options could be found as to how these operators can be rewarded. It is not very cheap. After all, the hardware costs money and also electricity. But now the question arises, what is the difference between the different nodes?
What is the difference between a Light Node and a Full Node?
The nodes are nodes in a network. They form passages where data and processes are bundled and then take their further path in the network.
A light node now differs because it only downloads and verifies a part of the blockchain. In contrast, a full node downloads the entire blockchain.
Of course, this requires higher requirements, higher performance, more effort, and more responsibility. Thus, there are many more of the Light variants than the Full versions. But the latter is enormously important for a network. Even if they do not exist in such large numbers.
But how many them exists? An exact number is currently difficult to determine. In 2017, there were only about 15 pieces, which is why Tangle has come a little to its limits and the processing of the network took a relatively long time. But now more followers of IOTA operate a node, so this problem has relaxed a bit. But now let us look at how you can set up such a node.
How do you set up a Full Node?
A node exchanges with others constantly about the current state of the network. Important for this is a static IP address. Your router is constantly changing your IP address. This should not happen when running a full node. Otherwise, you will not find it anymore.
- That’s why you have to set up a static IP. That’s not easy. Because it goes beyond the scope of this article, you should google for a guide and follow it. It is always important for the operation of such a node. However, you have to bring a bit of technical understanding.
Now it’s about how to set up a hub. For that, you download the GUI Wallet best. It is a full node with a medium difficulty level. This makes it more suitable than the headless node, which has very high difficulty. With the GUI you can now run Full Nodes to support the IOTA network.
- You can download and use this IOTA Wallet for any operating system — Windows, MacOS or Linux. This works in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. If you are very technically gifted, you can also construct your own GUI. Instructions can be found on the net. For the time being, however, it should be enough for you to download and use the ready-made version.
- Downloading is about connecting your hub to the network. For this, you have to find “neighbors” in the network and connect with them. This works best on the slack channel of IOTA.
- In the channel, search for #nodesharing and find your neighbors there. You can find these neighbors via the menu item Tools and the sub-item Edit Neighbors. Then enter their IP addresses. These are sent to you via the Slack channel.
Officially, it is recommended to register about seven to nine neighbors. Make sure that these neighbors also sign you up as their neighbor. If they do not, your nodes can not connect to theirs.
More than nine neighbors are supposed to disturb the network. That’s why this number is sufficient for the time being.
And what is the next step? Now your node is running and you’re an important part of the cryptocurrency community. In the next step, we’ll look at how to create a node on the Raspberry Pi.
Important notes for working with Full Nodes
It is very important that the nodes run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This should be kept in mind if the hardware is purchased and perhaps servers are rented. Why is that important? If you turn off the computer or laptop with the full node, it will need to reconnect at startup and set up everything again. Maybe your IP address has changed too, so a lot of work is coming to you. That’s why it’s best to keep it running all the time.
In addition, you should have a 4core processor. With two cores sometimes it works, but the double number is definitely better, because of more power. In addition, a connection to the Internet of at least 100 megabits is advisable. Everything underneath makes it difficult and does not do the tangle good again.
Create an IOTA Full Node on the Raspberry Pi
Basically, it is also possible to create a full node on the Raspberry Pi. This home computer, which was developed in 2012 especially for tinkerers and programmers, consists of only one board and is limited to rudimentary versions. However, the product then does a lot.
For a price of about $50, the Raspberry Pi is thus also very affordable. This reduces the cost of running a node and can therefore quickly pay off. Concrete instructions for setting up a node on the Raspberry Pi are available in various forums. A little more technical knowledge and programming skills are a prerequisite for this. Basically, that should work.
The Raspberry Pi was developed by a foundation to bring young people back to technology. That’s why it would be a good idea to connect this beautiful idea by running a node. That is how the future of Tangles and the cryptocurrencies continues to be written.