Question about nodes vs miners? Conflicting information online? Maybe I’m a dumbass after all?

Wikipedia says: “Because transactions on the network are confirmed by miners, decentralization of the network requires that no single miner or mining pool obtains 51% of the hashing power, which would allow them to double-spend coins, prevent certain transactions from being verified and prevent other miners from earning income.” (Quoted: Article in IEEE Security & Privacy magazine by InfoQ & IEEE Computer Society.)


But then says: “Participants in the process employ hardware components (be that CPUs, GPUs or ASICs) to solve a cryptographic problem. The first person to complete the task broadcasts his results to the network so it can be verified by full nodes and once consensus is achieved – he is granted the right to add a block to the existing blockchain.”

I was under the impression that nodes enforce the network rules? Maybe I’m wrong, or maybe it’s more complicated? I’d like to know, because my ego was a little bruised when some online stranger told me I was an idiot and a paid BTC shill for believing that. It’s ok if I am wrong, but I’d like to know why and maybe some detail so I could understand things a little better. The online person was less than helpful, and didn’t seem to grasp the technology enough to explain it, even if he may have been correct.

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  1. Miners burn the electricity to mine the block.

    Nodes decide whether or not the block meets to rules to be added to the ledger.

    Miners get paid if the nodes add the block to the ledger.

    Nodes that mine a bad block (rule breaker) waste money when the block is rejected

  2. Imagine a person who is going into a gold mine to search for gold. That’s a miner. Now imagine someone who wants to acquire that gold from that miner. They want to check that the gold is real, so they come up with a device that can check this within a split of a second. That’s a full node. It can check that the bitcoin is genuine, and you don’t have to trust the miner’s or anyone else’s word.

    Miners = work for bitcoin and secure the network

    Full node = checks that miner’s work is genuine and there hasn’t been cheating

  3. Good question, asking about the half-truths and misconceptions

    Some history first: at launch, the node software had a built-in miner and there were no alternative mining software apps. Mining was off by default, but many node operators enabled it (Satoshi did not mine all the early blocks). Also, the white paper made no distinction between the miner role and the node role

    Nodes and miners separated when some miners became greedy enough to mine with GPU, then FPGA, then ASIC

    But the roles have always been separate

    Most blog writers have never been able to comprehend the distinction between miners and nodes. The quoted 2014 InfoQ article is a prime example of intellectual laziness, because it falsely claims that proof of work solves the double-spend problem

    Seven years later, writers are still copying these fallacies. I think the fundamental problem is their inability to see why and how Bitcoin is decentralized

    In any multi-step information processing, the information can be changed at any step. If changes can be prevented after the final step, then the information can be considered a system of record. Bitcoin prevents changes by using hashes to lock each block to its successor (hence, **blockchain**), and by using hashes to lock a block’s transaction set to the block’s header

    Bitcoin nodes validate each new unconfirmed transaction as it is propagated around the node network. Miners validate their candidate blocks before hashing them. Many Bitcoin users believe these validations are consensus. They are not consensus. They are policy. Validating an unconfirmed transaction before mining does not guarantee that the transaction is still valid after it has been mined in a block

    To repeat, in any multi-step information processing, the information can be changed at any step. This is especially true in a widely distributed system like Bitcoin

    Mining can not be the final step because that would require the entire community to trust that the winning miner created an honest block

    When a miner wins the mining race because his block has a header which has a hash smaller than the current target he sends his block to his neighbor nodes

    **Nodes do not trust miners**

    Each node applies consensus rules to the block itself, and applies consensus rules to every transaction in the block. If there are any errors, the entire block is dropped. It’s not rejected or returned. The node simply stops processing it. If there are no errors, the node adds the block to its own blockchain, and propagates the block to its neighbor nodes

    **Nodes do not trust nodes**

    Every node repeats the validation of the block, applying the same consensus rules to the block and to all the transactions in the block

    Thus, the final step in Bitcoin processing is the entire node network applying the consensus rules to every new block and its transactions

    The system of record is the blockchain – a separate copy of which is stored on every node

    So your quote is almost correct. This part is inaccurate …

    > he is granted the right to add a block to the existing blockchain

    The miner isn’t granted anything. Each node adds the block to its own copy of the blockchain if the block is valid

    There’s more detail if you’re interested, but for now this is long enough

    > some online stranger told me I was an idiot

    You’re not, but it’s impossible to persuade the “miners do consensus” people. I’ve been arguing with them since 2017

  4. Miners mine the blocks nods keep the the whole blockchain aka all block ever mined, nods tend to agree to keep the longest chain and thats where 51% attacks can take over since they can mine the new blocks the fastest and their chain of block would be the longest

  5. i see it like this the full nodes protect the ledger and the plebs make the path

    and whats really cool is that one day the plebs may even instantly go back in time to get back on the right path

    like for instance today its looking like the miners are showing some flaws in bitcoins path so its likely the plebs will create a new path at critical mass

What do you think?

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