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Master Node

Updated on February 27, 2024
Article byJyotsna Suthar
Edited byShreya Bansal
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Is A Master Node?

A Master Node is a computerized system with the highest authority over other nodes present within the network. The main goal of this node is to hold additional responsibilities and functions besides validation and verification. It was first introduced in 2014 in the Dash network.

Master Node

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Its architecture and mechanism differ from other nodes. Here, the operator must hold specific tokens as collateral to become a cluster. As a result, these coins get locked in for a specific period. Thus, users cannot utilize or liquidate the collateralized tokens for profits.  

Key Takeaways

  • Master nodes refer to particular nodes in a blockchain network that were introduced in 2014 in the Dash network. 
  • Here, operators must lock in a specific amount of cryptocurrency as collateral. However, they cannot be used or traded for profit.
  • These nodes also receive voting and governing rights over the network. So, they can use voting to determine genuine transactions and deny the wrong ones. 
  • Examples include Dash, Zcoin, Pivx, Apache Hadoop, and Kubernetes, which utilize these nodes.  

How Does Master Node Work?

Master nodes have additional features and attributes that give users authority and responsibility. They can enable quick transactions and govern the blockchain network. However, the users operating these nodes must strive hard to maintain the privacy and security of the network. 

Meaning - Master Node

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The consensus of these nodes is associated with Proof of Work (PoW) or its variations. While they can exist in networks that also use PoW, they usually don’t participate in PoW mining. They verify the transactions and maintain the network’s ledger. However, they must deposit specific tokens as collateral, leading to a higher stake. As a result, these nodes can perform block verification and people operating them receive crypto tokens as rewards in return.

For example, in Dash, users must lock 1000 Dash as collateral. Thus, people running these nodes receive a portion of the mining reward. However, the collateral stays active until the user claims to act as a superior node.

In addition, users of these nodes also receive voting and governance rights during the process. If a node gives consensus to a block, it turns out to be valid. Also, they can participate in the voting for network upgrades. Thus, the risk of double spending and any malicious errors in the network is reduced. 

To initiate the nodes, having an entire server, IP address, or virtual private server is vital. With these resources, users can participate in the validating process. A few examples that utilize these nodes are Dash, Pivx, Zcoin, Syscoin, and others. 

Examples

Let us look at some hypothetical and real-world examples to understand the term in a better way:

Example #1

Suppose ABC is an open-source cryptocurrency on a decentralized blockchain system. It allows crypto users to trade coins in the market and buy Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). Master nodes in the ABC network allocate processes to different nodes in the network. It includes resource allocation, maintenance, scheduling, and privacy. Also, they ensure faster transaction speed and privacy. For instance, if James wants to transfer 2000 ABC tokens to Katie, master nodes could expedite the transaction.

Here, if the node fails, its duties will automatically shift to another master-eligible node, ensuring the network’s resilience and continuous operation.

Example #2

According to the crypto updates of April 2023, the campaign Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) witnessed a large-scale attack on its network. The attackers installed the DaemonSets (Kubernetes feature) to hijack the K8 clusters. Reports suggest 60 clusters became a target of malicious actors. They only aimed to create backdoors (bugs) and control crypto miners. These malicious activities were orchestrated through master nodes within the Kubernetes architecture, demonstrating a critical vulnerability in how these nodes manage and safeguard cluster operations.

Advantages And Disadvantages

These nodes are an integral part of the blockchain, but there are certain advantages and limitations to it. Let us look at them:

AdvantagesDisadvantages
It provides a guaranteed financial gain to the owners of these nodes.There is expertise and programming knowledge required to run a master node.
They have the authority to deny or approve the transactions in the network. Plus, these users have the right to vote. There are restricted rights available to the node owners.  
The tokens collateralized often yield returns for the users.Collateralized coins cannot be traded, or they will lose their stake.
They are automatically updated without shifting or restarting the server.It requires a high investment compared to other nodes.
It ensures faster and instant transactions within the network.  

Master Node vs Full Node

Although the master node is a part of a full node, both have different functions to perform. So, let us look at their differences for better understanding:

BasisMaster NodeFull Node
MeaningA special node that controls and governs different activities in a network (or cluster).A full node can maintain and store the entire blockchain’s database.
PurposeTo manage the work processes of worker nodes.To validate the transactions and store the full blockchain.
FunctionIt ensures direct transfers and faster and instant transactions, manages the worker nodes, and maintains privacy.They maintain an entire copy of the blockchain ledger and manage master nodes, too.
CollateralRequires a significant amount of the network’s cryptocurrency as collateral to operate.There is no collateral required.
ExamplesCryptocurrencies like Pivx, Apache Hadoop, Zcoin uses master nodes.Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin have full nodes maintaining their respective blockchain network.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What does the master node in a Kubernetes cluster do?

In Kubernetes, a control plane node (formerly referred to as a master node) manages the cluster’s state, including scheduling and responding to cluster events. The number of these nodes can vary. However, their main aim is to configure, manage the resources, and monitor processes within the cluster. 

2. How to set up a master node?

Following are the steps to set up this particular node in the network. Let us look at them:
● Choose the coin that is appropriate to the research requirements. 
● Buy a certain amount of coins equivalent to the collateral and deposit it in a wallet. 
● Create a suitable environment with the configuration file and IP address.
● Host the node and earn block rewards on verification. 

3. What is the difference between the master and slave node?

The difference between a master and a slave node lies in their roles within a network or system. A master node typically controls and coordinates the operations of slave nodes. It manages tasks like resource allocation and process scheduling. In contrast, a slave node follows instructions from the master node, executing tasks and reporting back its status. This architecture is typical in distributed computing and database systems.

This article has been a guide to what is a Master Node. We explain the concept along with its examples, advantages, disadvantages, and differences with full node. You may also find some useful articles here –

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