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In the early days of bitcoin there was a demand for system administrators who were able to run supernodes to support the network with stable nodes and high bandwidth. Litecoin is still recommending that for it's network.

This document is for sysadmins who want to contribute excess upstream bandwidth to
help strengthen the global Litecoin network.  If you do not understand these instructions
you probably don't want to be a supernode.  10mbit+ is recommended.

I have access to such resources and could contribute an Ethereum supernode. Is this desired? And if so, how to run an Ethereum supernode?

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The Ethereum foundation is actually running a few (bootstrap-)nodes.

enode://a979fb575495b8d6db44f750317d0f4622bf4c2aa3365d6af7c284339968eef29b69ad0dce72a4d8db5ebb4968de0e3bec910127f134779fbcb0cb6d3331163c@52.16.188.185:30303

enode://de471bccee3d042261d52e9bff31458daecc406142b401d4cd848f677479f73104b9fdeb090af9583d3391b7f10cb2ba9e26865dd5fca4fcdc0fb1e3b723c786@54.94.239.50:30303

enode://1118980bf48b0a3640bdba04e0fe78b1add18e1cd99bf22d53daac1fd9972ad650df52176e7c7d89d1114cfef2bc23a2959aa54998a46afcf7d91809f0855082@52.74.57.123:30303

The nodes have a similar goal as the one described in the Litecoin document, from various geographical locations. These bootnodes are hard-coded in the codebase and have a very high max-peers setting so that people connecting to the network will also have at least a handful of peers to connect to right away.

  • The link doesn't work in your answer. – Thomas Jay Rush Dec 30 '16 at 18:19
  • I've updated the link to reflect the new path. – Maran Jan 2 '17 at 14:42
  • It would be preferable to include the essential part (e.g., bootstrap nodes) of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. This helps in case the content behind the link changes or gets removed. – Afr Jan 2 '17 at 17:09
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First, I'd like to clear up the difference in terms, since definitions aren't yet standardized in quickly evolving blockchain world.

  • Full nodes have a full copy of the blockchain. It takes lots of hard disk space and decent amount of CPU power to validate the contents.
  • Supernodes are a subset of full nodes, that additionally are publicly connectable, listening and relaying data to other nodes. It requires even more bandwidth and CPU, since they serve any legitimate request. Also Supernode is a name of a commercial product by Ambisafe.
  • Light nodes, also known as thin clients don’t download the blockchain, but only allow lightweight clients (such as mobile and web3 applications) to request information from full nodes and broadcast signed transactions, ensuring they are included in a block.

So, in case of Ethereum you would want to run Geth node with --gcmode=archive and --syncmode=full flags or Parity node with --pruning=archive flag.

In both Geth and Parity state-trie pruning is enabled by default. When you disable it by setting the pruning method to archive your node will keep all state trie data in archival, which will also keep historical transaction traces and will make the node most useful for others. It's a desired behavior, but instead of approximately 130GB of disk space you will need to allocate about 1.8TB.

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