Why you should, (and how to) run an Ethereum (or other Smart Contract Platform) Node
Nodes are the unsung heroes of any blockchain. They handle all of the janitorial duties of a network executing smart contract, supporting dapps, archiving the past, and so much more. Unfortunately most people focus on mining as running a blockchain, and while they are important they are not the network.
First I want to break down some definitions, my information will cover Ethereum particularly but ADA and others are similar.
Full Node – This type of node will store blockchain data, help with block validation, and serves the network pulling info on request. Running a Full Node can be done with as little as a Raspberry Pi 4 and a 500GB USB SSD. A guide is broken down here ( Running an Ethereum Full Node on a RaspberryPi 4 (model B) – kauri.io) I would have added instructions to this post but they did a better job than me and deserve the clicks.
Light Node – Verifies data validity against block headers. Stores header chain but requests most of its data. These can be run on most devices you can achieve lots of uptime with, a guide is broken down here – How to run a light node with Geth | ethereum.org
Archive Node – Stores full block chain, Terabytes of data and for those at r/DataHoarder. If you really want to build a NAS to house this much data check out – Building Your Own Ethereum Archive Node | by Thomas Jay Rush | Medium
Validator Node – Verifies transactions on the Beacon Chain, soon to be main chain on release of Ethereum 2.0. Now there are a couple ways to do this but none official as Beacon chain, but I will mention the great people at RocketPool. They run a decentralized staking protocol (testnet at this point until ETH 2.0 launches, dont use real ETH in their guides) allowing a staking node to be run with as little as 16 ETH, and staking at as little as 0.01 ETH. Their website can be found here Rocket Pool – Decentralised Ethereum Proof of Stake Network, again don't use real ETH as its on a testnet until 2.0 Requirements about the same as a full node. The only kind of node to make money.
(Courtesy of Nodes and clients | ethereum.org )
Requirements vary, running a full node is best for the network, Archive if you can manage and light if have some spare compute. Full Nodes enforce protocols so they are crucial for security. Validators will soon hold up the other half of the network but a decentralized blockchain is only as good as running those, I see lots of people that support coins by buying them, but I want to remind people that this is one of the most effective ways to help a coin. You provide a better development environment for dAPPs and increase network security. Raspberry Pis have greatly decreased the cost of entry.
STRONG NODE – Strong isn't a node, but a protocol. It pays out people who register (10 STRONG to do so) in STRONG as they remain synced with the network. Its very expensive to do right now, and I don't reccomend it until the barrier for entry drops, but it can generate good passive income to fund your node. Linking a community website ( Strong Nodes – Contribute and Earn from Blockchains ) but official one is at ( StrongBlock ) It's a good project and deserves a look over atleast.
Tl;Dr – Running a Node helps boost the security and developer environment for a blockchain. It can even generate some income.
(Mining staking flair because its hardware and mentions staking nodes, let me know if flair is wrong mods)