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Exploring Cryptocurrency Networks

kokou adzo

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cryptocurrency networks

Bitcoin was first introduced in 2008, as the underlying technology for digital currency. Nowadays, the potential of blockchain goes far beyond cryptocurrencies: a Bitcoin node is more than just a record of transactions but an underlying layer to developing Web3 applications.

Learn more about cryptocurrency networks with GetBlock: from its integral parts, nodes, to network monitoring utility which is a blockchain explorer.

What is a cryptocurrency network?

When we talk about cryptocurrency, we imply digital assets that represent stores of value and designate ownership of digital goods relying on blockchain technology. The latter acts as an accounting system for crypto by keeping track of inputs and outputs and transferring information or value from one person to another.

However, blockchain in its modern state goes beyond just transference of value. One of its many use cases is to create a bridge between Web2 and Web3 and give a platform for building decentralized applications (dApps) that do not rely on centralized providers but on code and cryptography instead.

Blockchain provides an immutable record of data stored on nodes, while explorers provide a transparent view of it. Thus, let’s cover these two topics in a little more detail.

Maintaining the network – Nodes

Nodes play a fundamental part in creating and maintaining the networks. They are basically computers that are scattered all around the globe and run specific software to keep the networks up and running.

If we take Bitcoin nodes, they host a copy of every transaction that has ever happened as well as the rules that govern the network – parameters transactions have to adhere to to be considered valid and added to the record to be kept there forever.

Currently, there are around 17,000 Bitcoin nodes situated everywhere in the world with each of them storing about 508 GB of BTC-related data.

As for the functions they perform, multiple nodes work together to verify information and group valid transactions in a block. Additionally, smart-contract-based chains need nodes to operate these contracts.

As for Bitcoin nodes, apart from processing transactions, they are vital for maintaining decentralized applications such as wallets, exchanges, and other DeFi products including lending and farming protocols. In other words, dApps need direct access to nodes to be able to take advantage of blockchain technology.

Reading the network – Explorers

Since the crypto network is a tamper-resistant record of transactions, there should be a way to access this database. Blockchain explorer is an open-source utility to browse activity on the underlying network. They are designed for crypto users, developers, and auditors to track and examine the behavior and operation on the chain.

Blockchain explorers consist of the following components:

Presentation layer, UI: User-friendly application for visualizing crypto operations by using graphs and charts, in addition to search and monitoring utility.

Backend: modules to listen and query the network of nodes to fetch the latest status and update it.

API support: API keys to integrate the explorer with other blockchain applications.

Use cases for explorers include real-time transaction view filtered by date or by blocks, monitoring of blockchain events, suspicious activity tracking, smart contracts tracking, and analyzing overall chain health among some other possible applications.

Therefore, explorer is a nice and accessible tool to wrap one’s mind around how cryptocurrencies work and get a glimpse into what nodes process.

About GetBlock

GetBlock is an infrastructure services provider giving individual users and Web3 developers access to nodes of over 50 various protocols, from popular ones like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Polygon, and BNB to newer chains such as Base and Sui.

With GetBlock, crypto projects building on BTC are relieved of the need to run their own Bitcoin nodes in order to build applications: just register on GetBlock’s website, get your API key to get access to a chosen node, and inject the dApp with blockchain functionality.

The platform provides both free and paid services for beginners and experienced developers to supercharge their products.

Conclusion

Verifiability, transferability, and security of cryptocurrency technology attract many developers and allow it to find applications in various industries. With initial knowledge of Bitcoin nodes and blockchain explorers, the journey to Web3 is open for everyone and exciting to dive into.

 

Kokou Adzo is the editor and author of Startup.info. He is passionate about business and tech, and brings you the latest Startup news and information. He graduated from university of Siena (Italy) and Rennes (France) in Communications and Political Science with a Master's Degree. He manages the editorial operations at Startup.info.

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