The Algorand blockchain node consists of two types of nodes; non-relay node which is also called participation node and the relay node.
The non-relay node (Participation node)
The participation node helps in participating in the consensus protocol if you have the participation key.
The online Algos will vote and participate as block proposal and block validator in the consensus protocol.
You may participate in the consensus protocol with a lite node since the Algorand consensus works on a light configuration.
Using the light configuration, you will be able to store and remember the last style of blocks.
The participation nodes do not communicate directly peer to peer among themselves. They only communicate with the relay nodes.
In order to participate in the consensus protocol, your node has to be synchronized with the network.
What is synchronization?
Synchronization is the verification of all the history (that happened during the time before you join).
Steps in synchronization
- You start with the verification with the genesis block. The genesis block is the first block on each blockchain to which other blocks can be attached.
- Receive information from the network.
- For each block, you verify that what has been said is correct and true.
By doing that, you are sure that the state of the system is fair and equal to all.
The verification of all the blocks also builds trust since they were all validated by you.
Is there a way to speed up synchronization on Algorand?
Yes, you can speed up synchronization on Algorand using Fast Catchup.
What is Fast catchup?
Fast catchup is the process of verifying the last 1000 blocks rather than verifying the entire blocks on the Algorand blockchain after accepting a cryptographic proof from the previous node.
Other nodes that were in the network before your node produce cryptographic proof that the state of the system is synthetic and compact proof.
The process of fast catchup is based on trust. If you trust their proof, you can start the synchronization of your node very near to the latest state of the chain by accepting their cryptographic proof.
This allows you to speed up synchronization rather than verifying all previous nodes right from the genesis block and also allows you to see the network the way other nodes see it.
Rlay nodes on the Algorand blockchain node are the communication backbone of the Algorand network. It creates efficient communication by finding the efficient path between the messages and the nodes so as to reduce communication loops between the participation nodes.
This process of establishing efficient communication is done in less than 5 seconds through a process called message gossiping.
Algorand network topology
From the above image, there are lighter nodes which represent the participation node and it can be seen that participation nodes are only connected to the relay nodes while the relay nodes connect among themselves.
As of now, there are more than 1600 participation nodes and 120 relay nodes on the Algorand network.
Algorand as a public and permissionless blockchain allows anybody to bootstrap and start a participation node.
By joining the network as a participation node, you provide free and different important services to the ecosystem which includes:
- You can read and verify transactions by yourself without having to trust anybody else.
- If you have a stake, you can become a block proposal and validator in the Algorand network.
- You can have and expose an API to communicate with the network if you want to host a blockchain as a service that uses Algorand as a technology.
Why should I participate in the Algorand network?
- Participation is very simple.
- There is no restriction to the consensus protocol.
- Minimum stake is almost irrelevant since you can participate with 1 Algos.
- Algorand is a pure Proof of Stake consensus.
- Algo hardware and mineral resources are minimal.
- There is no problem relating to big energy consumptions like in mining due to minimal hardware and resources.
- Algorand blockchain does not require very expensive hardware like other blockchain.
How does the proof of stake works?
The Algorand blockchain is a distributed system of nodes such as maintaining a local state based on validating the history of blocks and transactions therein.
Blockchain state integrity is maintained by the consensus protocol which is implemented within the Algorand daemon often referred to as Algo-D
This node software runs and follows the rule in verifying blocks and also expose the rest API Endpoint and API token
PS: API means Access Point Interface
The API Endpoint is the IP address of a node that synchronizes it with the network which you want to probe.
In the case of local machines, the local IP address will communicate to the Algorand network directly using the local machine IP address.
The API token is the key to authenticate yourself as a valid and legit user of this endpoint.
With the API token and keys, you can connect to the Algorand network which is termed becoming an Algo-D client.
How to get an Algo-D client?
You can get an Algo-D client through any of the following means.
- Running your own node.
You can set up and run your own private node on the Algorand network like the Crypto Smart private node on Algorand.
- Third party service
You can make use of a third party service that provides endpoints and tokens.
- Algorand sandbox
This is a docker where all the pieces of infrastructure so as to have a way of accessing the Algorand blockchain.
The docker container contains a node and an indexer. Users of docker are the only node of a small private network and do not interact with other nodes.
Types of Algorand network
The Algorand network consists of 3 networks.
This is the principal and real network in which we have the real Algos.
The test net is a mirror of the mainnet. The difference is that the resources for testnet are free. Algos used for transaction fees are free.
- Beta net
This is almost the same as a testnet due to its free resources.
The beta net is the first place where a new protocol learn first and experimented and also serves as a preview for the protocol before it is moved to the testnet.
This is an excerpt of Crypto Smart educative session with Cossimo Bassi
Who is Cossimo Bassi?
Cossimo Bassi is a solution architect at Algorand Inc. that enlightens people and businesses that want to develop on Algorand protocol about ways to be successful and use the Algorand blockchain the best way they can.
As a continuation of our community development, this week, we will be having another educational session with Champion.
During the session, the facilitator will be talking about understanding blockchain and how to start with cryptocurrency.
This is, no doubt, going to be another explicit release of premium information about the blockchain and cryptocurrency.
The session will be happening live at Crypto Smart Telegram Community by 6pm (WAT) on 14th January, 2022.
Breakdown of the educational session.
- How to start trading Crypto, Basics.
- Trading vs Investing; what’s the difference?
- Different kinds of trading with strategies
- Trading Journal and why a beginner should have one .
Don’t miss this, join the telegram community now!!!
Cryptosmart is a B2B Crypto Asset Management company founded in January 2021 by Karla Obakpolor, a blockchain business developer and Algorand ambassador in 2020.
Cryptosmart offers fast and secure services which are based on a well encrypted system with 24/7 customer support services. Cryptosmart has grown from offering its services to individuals to companies and major enterprises as well as providing crypto education through various crypto courses.