Archives September 2019

Nodes In Blockchain: Security And Vulnerabilities

Nodes In Blockchain: Security And Vulnerabilities

Nodes and master nodes are an increasingly discussed subject in blockchain lately. That is logical: nodes are a critical component of a blockchain’s infrastructure, and without them, a blockchain’s data would not be accessible. Nodes ARE the blockchain, and what is vital for us now is how do they function and how vulnerable they are.

Full Nodes

Full nodes are those that genuinely support and provide security for Bitcoin, and they are indispensable for the network. These nodes are also called validating nodes as they are involved in the process of checking transactions and blocks, contrary to the consensus rules of the system. Complete nodes can also relay new transactions and blocks on the blockchain.

Typically, a full node downloads a copy of Bitcoin blockchain, with each block and transaction, but this is not a requirement for a full node (an abridged copy of the blockchain can be used instead).

Tracking Nodes (Super Nodes)

In essence, a tracking node or supernode is the same complete node that is publicly available. It communicates and provides information to any other node that decides to establish a connection with it. Therefore, a supernode is basically a redistribution point that can act as a data source and as a communication bridge.

A reliable supernode usually runs 24/7 and has several established connections that transmit blockchain history and transaction data to several nodes around the world. For this reason, a supernode will probably require more processing power and a better Internet connection than a full hidden site.

Conclusion

Bitcoin nodes interact with each other through the Bitcoin P2P network protocol, and thereby they guarantee the integrity of the system. A node that misuses or attempts to distribute incorrect information is quickly recognized by honest nodes and disconnects from the network.

Although launching a full test site does not provide financial rewards, it is highly recommended as it allows for trust, security and privacy for users. Full nodes enforce rules. They protect the blockchain from attacks and fraud (such as double spending). Besides, the complete node does not have to trust others, and it allows the user to control their money entirely.

NOWNodes provides access to full public blockchain nodes for anyone who wants to spend their resources on running their project instead of managing nodes. We are here for you, contact us and start buidling in a matter of minutes!


Private Vs Public Nodes

Private Vs Public Nodes

A node is any computer that connects to the Bitcoin network and uses the p2p protocol, which allows nodes to communicate with each other on the web and disseminate information about transactions and blocks. These nodes, between which information is distributed, comprise a blockchain network. We have prepared for you the explanation of the main perks and differences of Private and Public Nodes for you to benefit the most! 

How Do Public Nodes Function ….

A public blockchain is an open network. Anyone can download the protocol, read, write an addendum to it and take part in the system.

The public blockchain is distributed and decentralized. Transactions are recorded in the form of blocks and are connected so that they form a chain. Each new block has a timestamp, and it is checked by host computers (nodes) before it is written to the blockchain.

All transactions are public, and all nodes are equal. The data in the public blockchain is unchanged: it cannot be changed after the blocks are verified.

On the most popular public blockchain, the open-source cryptocurrency Bitcoin is built. Another outstanding example is Ethereum, with which you can create and run smart contracts. In Public Blockchain, we need to change a bit the incentive for good behavior, because we don’t know who a user is.

Some of the benefits of public blockchains are: open read and write, immutability, security due to mining.

….And The Private Ones

A private blockchain is a network managed by one organization, and you can participate in its work only at the invitation of such an organization and the corresponding permission from it.

Network participants must have permission to read, write or check the blockchain. There are various levels of access to a private blockchain, and information must be encrypted to protect confidentiality.

Private blockchains allow organizations (companies) to use distributed registry technology while eliminating the possibility of data leakage or publication.

However, the above means that private blockchains lack an essential feature – decentralization. Some critics believe that private blockchains are not blockchains at all, but centralized databases that use a distributed registry.

Private blockchains are faster, more efficient and more economical than public blockchains, which require a lot of time and energy to verify transactions. In a Private Permissioned Blockchain, we rely on the fact that we know who a user is.

Some of the bonuses of private blockchains are permitted enterprise, faster transactions, better scalability, and compliance support.

What To Opt For?

When you contrast a public blockchain to a private one, I think it all starts with managing personal data: in a private blockchain, you know from the very beginning who all the participants are.

Using the public nodes, again, you do not know who all these participants are, but this does not mean that you cannot build a permission model on a public platform. Then you, your architects and developers, will have to develop the logic and mechanism for managing personal data.

They are two completely different blockchains. They serve different purposes, and you will see that many of the real-world use cases that you find easily use both types of blockchain.


Hardware Cryptocurrency Wallets: Advantages And Disadvantages

Hardware Cryptocurrency Wallets: Advantages And Disadvantages

One can often meet the articles such as ‘10 Crypto Hardware Wallets’, ‘Best Hardware Wallet 2019’, ‘Access Fork Hardware Wallet’ – but not always get the full meaning. Here is the answer to the main questions. What’s good in hardware wallets? How do they differ from the others? What are the advantages of a hardware wallet? 

What Wallets Do We Choose From

In simple words, a cryptocurrency wallet is a tool that you can use to interact with the blockchain network. Crypto wallets can be divided into three groups: software, hardware, and paper. Depending on the mechanism of operation, they can also be called hot or cold

Most companies that provide wallets for storing cryptocurrencies are software-based, which makes their use more convenient compared to their hardware counterparts. Hardware wallets, in turn, are the most secure, just like paper wallets, which consist of data printed on a piece of paper. Still, their use is currently considered obsolete and unreliable.

Hot Or Cold?

As mentioned earlier, wallets for storing cryptocurrencies may vary depending on how they work on ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ ones.

A hot wallet is any wallet that connects to the Internet. This type of wallet is quite easy to set up, and also provides quick access to your balance, which makes them convenient for traders and other regular users. Our platform NOWNodes is at your disposal in case you will need to create this type of wallet.

In turn, cold wallets do not have an Internet connection. Instead, they use physical media to store keys offline, which makes them more resistant to cracking. Thus, this type of wallet is a safer alternative for storing your coins. This method is also known as cold storage and is especially suitable for long-term investors or “holders”.

A hardware wallet is a physical electronic device that uses random number generation (RNG) to create public and private keys. Then these keys are stored on the device itself, which has no connection to the Internet. Operations cryptocurrency committed to the online mode, but working with the private key is performed at the hardware purse. Even if such a wallet is connected to an infected computer, the data will be protected. Thus, hardware storage is a kind of cold wallet and is considered one of the safest. 

Although these wallets provide a higher level of protection against various attacks, the weak point of such devices is multiple types of firmware failures. Besides, hardware wallets are less convenient due to more difficult access to funds compared to hot ones.  

You should consider using a hardware wallet if you plan on storing cryptocurrency for a long time, as well as for significant capital. Currently, most of these wallets allow you to set your PIN code, as well as a recovery phrase, which can is necessary in case your device is lost.  

If a purse is lost or stolen, it can not bother s taking care of the safety of their funds, no one can access them. But having data for a reboot on a removable device, the wallet can be restored entirely. For owners of large amounts of cryptocurrency, such a wallet will be the most optimal solution. By the way, many hardware wallets can store not only Bitcoin private keys but also several Altcoin wallets.

Main Conclusions For NOW

The advantages and disadvantages of hardware wallets for storing cryptocurrencies are as simple to summarize as using this device, similar to a USB flash drive. Trezor, Ledger or other brands – it is for you to choose!

The device itself does not have Internet access but can be connected to computers, laptops and other equipment, with access to the network. If a transactional request exists, the device will sign it; the private key itself will not receive any of the applications. To cut the long story short, the data of hardware wallets are not given up anywhere. This is the most crucial advantage. The main drawback is the threat of internal software failure. 
You can find the reliable hardware wallet reviews and recommendations on the blog of NOWnodes!


Light Wallet VS Full Node Wallet

Full Node Wallet vs Light Wallet

Wallets are a popular topic in the cryptocurrency space. It’s where you store your money and it’s where you want to keep your funds stored safely. There are web wallets, paper wallets, hardware wallets, and many other alternatives. One thing you can do as well is to keep your funds stored on your own personal node. When you run a full node or a light client, you get a wallet with it, that only you can access. This might be the safest option out there, but it does require some effort. Today, we’ll look at the difference between running a full node and running a light client. How safe it is and what the best option is for you. 

What is a full node?

First, we discuss a full node. This is also known as a bitcoin node. With a full node, you support the blockchain network by devoting your computing power to the network. To get started with running your own node, you have to download a complete copy of the bitcoin blockchain. Besides that, you need to live up to some conditions to be able to run a full node. The current requirements for running a full bitcoin node are; 

  • At least 300GB disk space (Any node should download the entire Bitcoin Blockchain, it’s currently around 248GB but growing exponentially)
  • 4GB of RAM (The more the better)
  • Bandwidth use of 5GB upload and 500mb download a day (+ A stable connection)
  • The opportunity to run the node for at least 6 hours day (Again; the more the better)

When you live up to these requirements and you figure out how to run your own node, you have the possibility to host your own wallet. You control every single transaction that comes in and every single transaction that goes out. Not a single thing you do is out of your control. This means, your transactions are further in line in comparison to the transactions of other people, whenever you decide to perform a transaction using your own node. This means, all actions are in your own hands, plus you support the blockchain of your liking. 

What is a light client?

A light client is a client that lets you utilize all the possibilities of the blockchain network, but it does not require you to run a full copy of the entire blockchain. Running a node can be costly and might be impossible for some people to do so, but there is an alternative; a light client. A light client connects to the blockchain network by simply accessing the internet and talking to other nodes. This means, it does not require such high computing power or disk space, neither does it require high bandwidth. All you need is an active internet connection and you can get started with your light wallet. 

What’s the best option for me?

This totally depends on what you want. If you have a little extra money to invest and you wish to invest in keeping the blockchain you choose safe and steady, you should run a full node. If you don’t have these possibilities and all you want to do is store your funds safely, then you can use a light client. We want to share some facts and based on that you can make a decision; 

  • A full node requires more disk space, computing power and bandwidth than a light client
  • The safety and security for a full node is way better than with a light client
  • A full node is more difficult to set up than a light client
  • A light client can be nothing more than a mobile application, where a full node requires some technical knowledge and some time to install. 
  • Do you have large portions of your funds that you store or are they small amounts used for daily transactions?
  • Do you love Bitcoin and do you wish to contribute to the network?

Whatever the case might be, you need to consider your safety. It’s extremely important to make sure that you know what you’re doing. When you choose to go beyond the traditional banking system, you should be aware of the risks. You are your own security measure now, so you should be responsible and handle your own money with care. It doesn’t really matter if it’s ten dollars or ten million dollars, you should make sure you are the only one that has access. So, if you make the decision to start using cryptocurrency, always make sure you take good care of your property.


The Advantages And Disadvantages of Web Wallets

The Advantages And Disadvantages of Web Wallets

When you purchase cryptocurrencies, you need to store them somewhere. It depends on where you make the purchase, but in general, you need to give a wallet address to the party that sells you the cryptocurrency. Now, in order to create a wallet address, you need to create an account with a party that you trust. You need to find a wallet that suits you the best and that meets your requirements. In order to do so, you need to be aware of the possibilities. One of the options is a web wallet. Today, we’ll explore what a web wallet is, what its advantages are and what the disadvantages are.

What is a web wallet?

A web wallet is a wallet that you can access using the web, usually your browser. It’s usually referred to as an online wallet. Now, there are hot wallets as well, but these can be different from web wallets. Not every hot wallet is a web wallet, but every web wallet is a hot wallet. These web wallets come in several forms, but the main component is a slick interface that makes it possible for you to store your cryptocurrencies in a safe environment. Besides that, you can safely and quickly transact all your currencies to others. Now, let’s see what some of the advantages and disadvantages are. 

What Are The Advantages of Web Wallets?

All of the advantages for web wallets are;

  • You can do any transaction in a matter of seconds because your wallet is online and you can access it easily
  • With some web wallets, you can exchange your currencies for different currencies within the web wallet
  • If you are an active trader and you want to move funds between exchanges, a web wallet is an ideal situation for you
  • Some web wallets use the TOR network for an extra layer of security and anonymity
  • The main point is the user-friendly approach for web wallets. These come in the form of mobile applications and others, so you can access it in various ways in a really user-friendly way. 

What Are The Disadvantages of Web Wallets?

  • When you own large amounts of money in cryptocurrencies it might not be the best idea to use a web wallet. As a web wallet is online all the time, it can be accessed by external parties all the time as well. Most wallets have good security, but some of them might have some flaws in their security
  • Some of the vulnerabilities and threats that web wallets could be a victim too are Malware, phishing scams, DDoS attacks, and outdated security patches and whatnot, that hackers can exploit to their benefit. 
  • With some wallets, you do not have all the control over your own wallet. This means, that you do not own the private keys yourself, but the wallet company does. This means that you are not the person in charge and the company can walk away with your money if they want to. 

Should You Use a Web Wallet?

That’s something that you need to choose yourself. We do not recommend the use of unsafe web wallets, neither do we recommend unsafe hardware wallets. As with any wallet, you should be aware of the company behind the wallet. What is their incentive for holding your money, how are they making money and can I really trust them? Ask yourself these questions first before you make an account with any wallet. And, one of the most important factors, always make sure you have access to your private keys! Not your keys, not your coins!


How to run a node on Raspberry Pi

How to Run a Node on Raspberry Pi

Have you ever wondered how hard it is to set up a bitcoin node? It’s not that difficult. With this guide, we provide a straightforward approach to setting up a node on a very small and inexpensive device. You can get started within a matter of hours and you will have your own bitcoin node up and running!

What is A Node?

A node is the base of the network that allows the Bitcoin blockchain to run. It’s basically a computer that makes sure certain rules are followed, information from transactions is shared across the network and a copy of confirmed transactions is kept. Trying to register a transaction involving an amount of Bitcoin that a user doesn’t have, is the perfect example of a rule not fulfilled that will stop the node from working. When the rules are all correct, the node proceeds to share the transaction with the rest of the network and keeps a record of it in a ledger known as the blockchain. It’s important to know that each network is autonomous, and every time a user registers a transaction into one node, a copy of it is registered into the rest of the nodes of the network. 

What is a Raspberry Pi?

A Raspberry Pi is a powerful computer in the size of a credit card that can be used in any computer monitor or TV. It is considered to be one of the world’s least expensive and most versatile computers, offering a wide range of applications such as browsing the internet, making spreadsheets or playing high-resolution video footage. It is increasingly becoming popular among developing countries and primary schools around the globe thanks to its simplicity. 

How to Set Up a Bitcoin Node on Your Raspberry Pi

Before running your own Bitcoin Node on your Raspberry Pi, there are a few things you might be interested to know. First of all, it’s important to remember that the purpose of a full node is to be kept running somewhere where it doesn’t require you to take care of it, like your mansard or your basement.

Secondly, a full node should be able to keep more than 8 connections to other nodes at the same time, always under a high-bandwidth connection to the Internet. This is due to the fact that if your node doesn’t take incoming connections, it will be taking many resources from the network and it won’t be giving back the performance it initially aimed to provide. A full node will not provide the network with mining activities, but instead, it will help keep the network honest and robust.

With all this in mind, let’s proceed to setting up your node. You will need to have in your possession a Raspberry Pi with its own case, a MicroSD card with at least 8GB of storage (the more space it has, the longer it will last), a power adapter with a MicroUSB cable to keep the device powered up, and an Ethernet cable to connect to your router. According to different sites, the Raspberry Pi 4B is the best in the market to run a full Bitcoin node, with the 1GB version starting at $35. 

The MicroSD card will act as the hard drive of your small computer, and you need to make sure it is formatted in FAT32, which is the only format Raspberry Pi works on. Most likely your card will come in exFAT format, so you’ll need to use the built-in programs for Windows (Disk Management), macOS (Disk-Utility) and Linux (Disks or GParted). Once the MicroSD has been formatted and introduced to the device, establish a connection to the Internet with your Ethernet cable, plug in the power adapter to the device and you’re good to go. For the initial configuration steps, you may want to use a keyboard and an HDMI-ready monitor to simplify the setup process, but you won’t be needing them after that. 

Next up, we need to install the OS on the device. The easiest way to do it is through their NOOBS install manager, which provides a detailed description of the steps on their website. Once it’s done, you’ll need to update your Raspberry Pi and verify that the full node is working. This can be a little tricky if you’re not familiar with coding, but this site will give you a step-by-step guide with all the lines of code you need to introduce from here on. 

And that’s about it, your Bitcoin Node will be now ready to be kept running and you won’t have to take constant care of it. As simple and effective as that!