Any self-respecting investor, when deciding to buy a cryptocurrency, takes into account many variables, including security. Today we will analyze a very important factor from the point of view of the security of a cryptocurrency: the number of nodes.
If you keep reading you will be amazed and maybe you will change your mind regarding certain cryptocurrencies. We will give you first-hand information that is second to none.
Curiosities of nodes regarding cryptocurrencies
- Which cryptocurrency has the most nodes? Bitcoin and Ethereum have always been in the first places, but the first is Horizen (ZEN), which as of today has 35,900 nodes.
- Which cryptocurrencies have fewer nodes? Monacoin at the end of 2019 had 11 nodes but the one that would stand out the most would be Verge for being better known than with 16 nodes is in the lowest positions.
- Are there any cryptocurrencies that don’t post their nodes? You are right. Cryptocurrencies such as Cardano, Monero, Ethereum Classic or Decred apparently do not publish their number of nodes while maintaining the privacy of those who mine them.
- What is a user agent and why is it important for the security of the nodes? It is the user agent sent with each request to the server and that shows information about the system used. From a security point of view it is important because it is possible to know which version of the systems are used. For example, the main user agent of Bitcoin is Sathosi 0.19.1 considering that the largest version is 0.20 means a system update that guarantees greater security.
- Is it dangerous that there are few nodes? Yes. The fewer nodes it is easier for fake nodes to be created to take control of the cryptocurrency (known as Sybil attack). It is also easier for them to suffer a 51% attack.
- Are nodes important from a security point of view? Yes. The more the integrity and security for the entire network. As a curious fact, in case you have not reflected, if all the nodes of a cryptocurrency reside in the same country and your war would surely be in danger, while with Bitcoin there would still be nodes, since it is present throughout the world.
Bitcoin nodes continue to rise
Our journey continues and makes its first stop in the information we have from the bitnodes.io website. Here we can see that today the Bitcoin network has 10,558 nodes. The US and Germany monopolize a large number of them only surpassed by unknown origin nodes (with hidden IPs).
We can see in the graphs that despite the last halving an acceptable number of nodes remains, having increased by 6.50% during the last 730 days if we see the graph of the last 2 years.
Bitcoin has different types of node. There are the so-called complete nodes that are the ones that provide security and integrity to the network, give confidence, the more there is the better. Such a node can be installed with a moderately powerful computer.
They are not the same as miners’ nodes that provide rewards for which you have to make a significant investment in hardware. Then we have the Supernodes or listening nodes that only provide information to whoever connects with them.
Cryptocurrencies with few more nodes
When we decide to add a new cryptocurrency to our portfolio, the first question we must ask ourselves is: how many nodes does your blockchain have?
Mcafee made a dossier on blockchain attacks and talks about the danger posed by the low number of nodes. When someone manages to control 51% of the nodes of a blockchain network, they can process blocks more quickly than the rest and create their own chains at will, which means that they control the ledger and can therefore manipulate it and create double spending with which seize third party cryptocurrencies.
According to the report, an attack at 51% has never occurred against Bitcoin, but it has happened with Verge and other cryptocurrencies.
Now the question is, can the day come when a 51% attack with Bitcoin occurs? Well, if someone takes control of 51% of nodes at their will they could do it or if the number of nodes decreased.
Remember that in Bitcoin there are several types of nodes, some are for mining that require special software and others that are easily installed by any user who wants to contribute to making the Bitcoin blockchain stronger, so it is very important to carry a control of the number of nodes that exist.
Virus infected nodes: ransomware
The Mcafee report also tells us about a type of ransomware (system hijacker) for the Ethereum blockchain. This ramsomware called Planetary has the objective of infecting the nodes of said blockchain and asking for a ransom.
From my point of view this would be dangerous if you combine an attack infecting nodes, forcing you to reduce the number of nodes with an attack to 51% to take control.
As the report says, when a cryptocurrency has few nodes, imagine 10 nodes to give an example, someone can create 11 nodes (not difficult at all) and take control. The Bitcoin community continues to work to improve security every day.
This content comes to us courtesy of Deckcard23. For more information you can follow him on his Twitter.