One of the most impressive technical aspects of blockchain is decentralization that is achieved by storing a copy of the blockchain on every digital device connected to the peer-to-peer network – these connected devices are called nodes.
Purpose of nodes
In blockchain, nodes are used to store and verify transaction data, allowing the whole blockchain to function. They are an essential part of the architecture and enable creating trustless environments, security, and transparency.
In the larger picture, Individual nodes form tree-like structures that are called binary trees. Node owners can redirect some of the computational powers of their devices to transaction validation and earn rewards in the form of transaction fees. This process is called mining. Every cryptocurrency and every blockchain has its own unique nodes.
Nodes can store either complete or partial copies of the blockchain. Those nodes that store complete copies of the entire blockchain are called full nodes. Full nodes are able to validate incoming transaction using a so-called consensus protocol.
Nodes can differ by a role that they perform and in the way that they contribute to maintaining the network. Some nodes in the blockchain act as communication endpoints while other redistribute communication.
Requirements for owning a node
Anybody can become a full node owner and profit from mining. However, different cryptocurrencies and blockchains may have various requirements. For instance, some cryptocurrencies may require a full node owner to own multiple tokens to support the operation of a node.