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Teranode is the next big iteration of the Bitcoin node client, the first substantial innovation to the client since the Genesis block.
When Satoshi Nakamoto introduced Bitcoin to the world in 2009, although the protocol was designed to support any kind of transaction imaginable, the node client software itself was more in the state of a minimum viable product.
As the system utilised various cryptographic tools and libraries, it was wise to invite other sets of eyes to examine the software to attempt to eliminate any bugs and vulnerabilities.
In its early days, with very little transactions being processed on the network, Satoshi’s focus appeared to be more on educating others as to how the Bitcoin protocol works and integrating bug fixes rather than beefing up the node client to handle massive transaction throughput.
When Satoshi took his public leave from the development of the system and several other individuals became custodians of the node client, the focus of some became to tinker with the protocol and subsequently the node client to be able to enforce these changes and limitations.
In the various Bitcoin social media forums, there was much discussion around the rationale for imposing these limitations. It’s difficult to find much in the way of evidence in support of these restrictions. Rather, they seem to be the result of an imposed ideology and some misplaced sense of mandating egalitarian outcomes for node operators.
Eventually these tinkering hobbyists attempted to introduce several new proposals which would completely undermine the core functionality of Bitcoin and its game theoretical considerations that confer the security to the network. This led to several deviations and spinoffs of the Bitcoin protocol.
Thus, it came to pass that after having been in the wild for eight years, the most innovative thing that could be done for the system was to restore it to the state that it was released in.
Enter: the Genesis upgrade.
This was done in order to give Bitcoin developers and enterprises a solid foundation to establish their blockchain architecture upon, rather than having to constantly change the stack of their application to accommodate these tweaks to the protocol.
With a technological instrument such as Bitcoin, introducing any changes, even ones which revert the protocol back to its original functionality comes with significant challenges. Workarounds need to be developed in order to still honour transactions which have been generated via the modified protocol.
This meant that the next few years had to be spent removing limitations and restoring functionality without reducing existing functionality in order to give people an idea of what Bitcoin is natively capable of – out of the box.
In parallel with doing today this restorative protocol upgrade there was another team of engineers dedicated towards creating the next generation of the Bitcoin node client which could completely obliterate any perceptions of limitations in terms of block size, transaction throughput or transactions per second.
As the name suggests, the Teranode project comes with the intention of being able to process terabyte-sized blocks. Despite the fact Bitcoin SV already holds the world records for the largest blocks produced on a public ledger with some 4GB blocks processed with the existing node client, some enterprises and developers have nonetheless found their applications or blockchain use cases being somewhat restricted by certain parameters of the client.
This is because the current node software is basically just a polished version of the original MVP that was released in 2009 to include some bug fixes.
In the MVP, the architecture of the client meant that, due to the way data was piped through the software, ceilings for transaction throughput existed. Although they have not yet been met, they have to be anticipated in advance so that Bitcoin can push forward as a reliable enterprise blockchain.
Teranode completely eliminates any of these limitations as originating from the clients architectural and piping of transactions for evaluation, rather placing that onus upon the node operators.
The Teranode client has been developed in such a way that Bitcoin node operators can scale the system linearly via either horizontal or vertical methodologies. This means that if you want to be able to process 1 million transactions per second, the client will support you to either boost the capabilities of a single machine to process them, or network multiple cluster nodes (each specialising in a particular microservice) required to successfully process that load.
A node operator will never be able to blame the limitations of the client for why they are unable to capitalise from fee revenue available for collection but rather will have to accept responsibility for their own strategies for how they deploy their resources to handle that throughput.
In this way, though Teranode may follow on from version iterations of the node client, it should rather be thought of as the first substantial innovation to the client since the Genesis block.
There will likely be many more versions of Teranode to come as Bitcoin SV scales to a global data commodity ledger. However, the tweaking will focus on the configuration of various parameters to allow miners to act in the most competitive way to capitalise on the fee revenue rather than tinkering with the protocol to impose ideological restrictions.