The first earnings period for Secure Nodes started on December 15th, 2017. Almost 3,000 nodes shared 3.5% of the block reward. Our network quickly grew to ⅓ the size of Bitcoin’s because we allowed node operators to participate in the block rewards by running full nodes and staking 42 ZEN.
This was a large achievement considering the project only launched 6 months prior. Our idea behind Secure Nodes was simple: bring in new stakeholders; create a network of nodes which could eventually run dApps, and secure the node network via decentralization.
The current Secure Node Tracking and Payment System was an interim solution meant to kickstart the node network until payments could be moved on-chain. We determined that the on-chain version could not be built as quickly as a stand-alone tracking system and it would be very beneficial to get a system deployed as quickly as possible. The current version runs in parallel to the Horizen node network (not on it) whereas version 2 will be run on a side-chain when it is ready in mid-2019.
Horizen Secure Nodes Today
Initially, we thought that the node count would reach 2,500 and stabilize around 5,000-6,000 within six months. We estimated that the maximum number of nodes we would reach would total 12,000 within a year. In less than a month the count was at 5,000 and it hit 10,000 on May 2nd, 2018. We reached our goals far sooner than expected.
There have been continuous updates and improvements to the tracking systems since the first earnings period. An API was added for third-party applications. New pages and tables were added for operators to view nodes. A credit system was added to distribute missed earnings resulting from certain server issues. Many administrative pages were added to help manage the system. Most recently all the Secure Node servers were moved to a new hosting provider and new servers were added to handle the growth. Along with the node network and tracking system itself, an entire community has grown around the deployment and support of the nodes and tracking system. A complete support desk has been built and staffed and high-quality documentation has been written and made public.
On the one year anniversary of the tracking system, over 133,000 payments have been sent out each week for Secure Nodes. There are currently 23,000+ Secure Nodes running and over 2,800 Super Nodes. We have 2.5 times as many nodes as the Bitcoin network currently claims. Not bad for one year.