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Roles And Functions Of Bitcoin Network Participants

08:30 13/02/2019
Bitcoin Community

Introduction

 

It is very easy to join Bitcoin, Ethereum or any other blockchain-based project. All you have to do is to download a software, set it up according to recommendations, and get it started. However, there may be some difficulties.

 

The first source of problems is the choice of a particular software. Indeed, there are several software solutions for Bitcoin available. At first glance, it is difficult to pick the program that would fit you best. To do this, you need to take into account some key points:

 

  • Device. A client’s type depends on the device you use, whether it is a smartphone or a desktop computer.
  • Operating system. Working with Windows, *NIX family, or MacOS, obviously, requires different programs.
  • Special function you need. If you don’t have one, just choose the most popular client. As a rule, it is the best choice for inexperienced user.

 

With the help of the listed criteria you can easily find the best solution.

 

The second problem follows from the first one. Before starting the program, a user may need to select one of the operating modes. This question is worth considering in more detail.

 

General Issues Of Bitcoin Participants

 

Roles of the Bitcoin community participants can be divided into three categories. We discussed this topic in the previous article. The first categoty is software. The second one is functions of a separate node and their combinations. The third category is the involvement of participants. Here we are not talking about lightweight nodes and mining pools participants since both groups voluntarily reduced their functionality. We will discuss full nodes and their standard functions, which include mining, blockchain storage, network participation, etc.

 

Bitcoin Participants Involvement

 

Regardless of the type of software, full nodes participating in the Bitcoin network have no differences in terms of functionality. All of them mine solo or within a pool. Each node stores the whole blockchain, exchanges data with neighbors, and supports lightweight nodes.

 

When it comes to the blockchain content, there are no differences either. Each node adds similarly structured transactions to blocks and tries to mine them as quickly as possible. Some transactions may play different roles, as it is explained in the Contracts section of Bitcoin Wiki. Still, their functionality is subject to the same rules.

 

Anyway, there is the area where participants may be different in their involvement according to functionality. By placing transactions in blockchain, a full node can use so-called second-layer protocols. These protocols improve functionality of the whole network in different ways. The most popular protocols are colored coins and lightning nodes. A participant can use additional functionality with the help of a special program.

 

Colored Coins

 

This approach uses special tags to tie real world assets to blockchain transactions. Since all data is immutable and each transaction can be controlled by a single owner (in most cases), this is a reliable way to manage ownership without signing. All participants have to do is to accept additional tag format in the program.

 

The Lightning Network

 

This well-known Bitcoin improvement was intended to solve scalability and block-size problems. Participating in the Lightning Network requires a special wallet software and some assets locked in channels.

 

Afterword

 

After the brief examination of roles available for Bitcoin network participants, we can conclude that Bitcoin uses an equalizing approach in its core. Without additional requirements and features, it provides full nodes with the limited variability in roles. In our next articles, we will talk about other projects and their peculiarities.

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