What are Bitcoin nodes?
A node has three jobs
- Follow the rules: Each bitcoin node has been programmed to follow a set of rules. By following these rules, a node can check the transactions on the network it receives and confirms everything is working fine. If there are any problems, the transaction fails.
- Information sharing: A node’s primary task is to exchange information with other nodes in the network. And the quintessential information a node share is transactions. There are two types of transactions that bitcoin nodes share:
- Fresh transactions: Transactions that have recently been entered into the blockchain network.
- Confirmed transactions: Transactions that have been completed and written to a file. These are distributed in blocks of transactions, and not individually.
- Keep a copy of confirmed transactions: Each node on top places blocks of validated transactions. These are held together in a file known as the blockchain.
What’s interesting is that during a recent 24-hour period, the number of reachable nodes stays to be constant. This suggests that a portion of users running nodes are full-time miners.
Another issue is the demographic distribution of the nodes. The majority of reachable nodes are located in the USA. Whereas in Africa, where Bitcoin could perhaps help people lacking access to financial resources more than anywhere else. There is a regional scarcity of reachable nodes.