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I'm new to cryptocurrency, so not sure if I'm asking the right question on this...

I want to develop a game with traditional centralized client/server architecture, probably java application server, SQL database, and clients could be whatever kind of phone apps. I know well how to do this. But then in the game I want to let users make payments to me (the server) in cryptocurrency (ETH), and also me (the server) make payments to users.

Researching this online is confusing as there's so many aspects to the technology, and so many people explaining different things. I'm not sure what I need to do. Do I need to run an Ethereum node on my server? If so, how to do this? I would have to keep my ETH account or wallet or something on the server to make and receive payments. What about the client? Does the client have to be a node, or can it just ask the user to input some key to their cryptocurrency?

I didn't think I needed to make this project distributed like a DAPP, because I "simply" want to make and receive payments, but maybe I'm naive? Is my architectural vision legitimate? If so, how best to implement? And if not, what is a better solution?

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You don't need to run your own node. You can also connect to other existing nodes like Infura. However, if you don't want to make your app like DAPP then my advice is to integrate a third-party cryptocurrency payment gateway. Coinpayments providing best service and they are charging very less amount 0.5% on every transaction.

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