Blockchain is a distributed digital ledger technology that is used to record and track transactions securely and transparently.
Validators and nodes are two critical components of a blockchain network. While both have similarly important roles, it’s important to distinguish their different functions. In this course, we will highlight the key differences between the two.
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A node* in a blockchain is a computer or other device that participates in the operation of a blockchain network. A core value of blockchain technology is decentralization, where no central authority controls the chain; instead, it is maintained by a network of nodes that work together to validate and record transactions.
In order for a transaction to be recorded on a blockchain, it must be verified by multiple nodes on the network. Each node maintains a copy of the blockchain and uses consensus algorithms to ensure that the transaction is valid and that it is not a double-spend. Once a transaction is verified, it is recorded on the blockchain and broadcast to all other nodes on the network.
There are different types of nodes in a blockchain network, each with its own role and responsibilities:
- Full nodes are responsible for maintaining a complete copy of the blockchain and validating transactions.
- Lightweight or “light” nodes, don’t need to download the entire blockchain; they only download the block headers and validate transactions using simplified payment verification (SPV).
- Mining nodes (PoW) perform complex mathematical computations to validate transactions and create new blocks. These nodes are rewarded with cryptocurrency for their efforts.
- Supernodes or master nodes provide advanced services such as instant transactions, governance, and privacy to the network.
Overall, the nodes in a blockchain network are crucial for maintaining the integrity and security of the network. Without the participation of nodes, a blockchain would not be able to function as a decentralized and trustless system and rather would be governed by one major authority.
Validators, on the other hand, are a subset of nodes that have an additional responsibility of verifying the transactions and adding them to the blockchain.
Validators are chosen by the network to validate transactions based on specific criteria, such as the amount of cryptocurrency held or their reputation within the network.
They can be categorized into two main types: proof-of-work (PoW) validators and proof-of-stake (PoS) validators.
PoW validators compete to solve complex mathematical problems to validate transactions and add them to the blockchain.
Whereas PoS validators are chosen based on the amount of cryptocurrency they stake (hold and put at risk) and are incentivized to maintain the integrity of the network. Validators play an essential role in the blockchain network by ensuring that only valid transactions are added to the blockchain. This aids in avoiding data inconsistencies or issues among transactions.
Overall, blockchain nodes and validators play vital roles in the blockchain network. For KYVE, our validators are on the forefront.
KYVE is split up into two distinct layers: the consensus layer, and the protocol layer. The consensus layer is the backbone of KYVE, relying on validators called consensus validators* to secure the chain in Delegated Proof of Stake*.
Whereas the protocol layer* is technically KYVE’s data lake. This layer relies on validators called protocol validators*. Protocol validators also work on the DPoS mechanism, but more specifically, have two specific roles: uploading and validating. They’re therefore are responsible for fetching data from a data source, validating the data, and storing it.
For each piece of data that needs to be upload, one of these validators is selected randomly according to the size of their stake to be the uploader. The selection is based on how many $KYVE they stake, AKA, put at risk. The uploader is in charge of fetching and uploading the data onto the chosen storage platform (like Filecoin, for example), this way, not all valitors have to take on this duty.
The rest of the validators in the pool are responsible for voting on whether the data is correct or not. Once this process is complete, a new uploader is selected. Want to know more about how validators work on KYVE? Begin the KYVE Fundamentals Level 2 course!
Conclusion & Resources
You made it through the understanding nodes & validators course! You are now able to tell the difference between the two, as well as acknowledge their vital roles in a blockchain.
Want to learn more? Feel free to check these resources: