SECTION 1 - GENERAL
1.1 What is a node, or masternode?
A node, or masternode, is simply a server, or computer, that hosts a cryptocurrency wallet that is fully synced to a blockchain that has extended functionality compared to normal full nodes. Extended functions include, but are not limited to:
- Establishing a decentralized budgeting or treasury system
- Participation in network voting and/or governance
- Creating a network money supply management mechanism
- Providing increased privacy of transactions
- Providing instant transactions
Due to the extended functionality of masternodes, operators of these masternodes are typically awarded a material share of each block reward found on a blockchain. Reward ratios (i.e. reward share between staking nodes and masternodes) and functionality of masternodes can vary from cryptocurrency to cryptocurrency. Although a masternode can be operated by anyone, every masternode generally requires a commitment of collateral, a predetermined allocation of cryptocurrency units. This collateralization serves two primary functions: (i) ensures a masternode operator has "skin-in-the-game" and will not participate in the network maliciously, and (ii) creates an inherent mechanism to control the circulative supply of currency in a system.
1.2 Can anyone host a node or masternode?
Yes! What makes operating a node appealing is the ability generate passive income without the need to invest in expensive and depreciating hardware. It is Node Forge's mission to lower the technical barriers of operating a masternode, and committed so anyone can participate and help support the cryptocurrnecy ecosystem.
1.3 Does every cryptocurrency network support, or is supported by, nodes?
Not all. Development behind every cryptocurrency is unique and consensus mechanisms behind each project will vary. Typically, a cryptocurrency's method of consensus will dictate whether a network of nodes, or masternodes, are utilized. Cryptocurrency projects that utilize a Proof of Stake ("PoS") type of consensus, or some variation of it (i.e. Delegated PoS, Proof of Credit), typically employ a masternode-like architecture of security and verification. For example, NULS employs a Proof of Credit ("PoC") consensus mechanism and each Agent on their consensus network requires locked collateral to participate in its security. In contrast to a project like Bitcoin, it uses a Proof of Work consensus mechanism and its network is comprised of ASIC-run nodes, rather than masternodes, which don't require any sort of currency collateralization.
1.4 How much does it cost to obtain enough collateral to operate my own node?
Reiterating that masternode functionality and reward ratios vary from cryptocurrency to cryptocurrency, the same is true for the amount of collateral that is required to be committed. Even though Node Forge will provide comprehensive instructions in setting up your very own masternode, prospecting operators should always do their own due diligence on whichever cryptocurrency network they wish to support or be involved in.
1.5 Where can I obtain the collateral needed for my node?
Cryptocurrencies can be obtained from digital currency exchanges. There are hundreds of centralized and decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges and some are more robust than other. While we recommend to to use relatively reputable exchanges, Node Forge does not officially endorse any one exchange. Below is a list of common exchanges, but not limited to:
- Coinbase: https://www.coinbase.com
- Binance: https://www.binance.com
- Bittrex: https://bittrex.com/
- Coinexchange: https://www.coinexchange.io/
- Kucoin: https://www.kucoin.com/
- Kraken: https://www.kraken.com/
Note: The cryptocurrency industry is a new burgeoning market and with it comes less mature infrastructure comparatively to traditional markets. It is important that users do their own research and look into the advantages and disadvantage of every platform.
1.6 What is difference between a "hot" wallet and a "cold" wallet?
The "hot" and "cold" refers to the exposure your wallet(s). The significant advantage of Proof of Stake consensus architecture is ability to compartmentalize the operating processes and storage of assets. This is the case of all of the cryptocurrency projects the Node Forge Platform supports. Generally, the masternode itself (which are hosted on Node Forge) will run a wallet client that requires 100% uptime due to the responsibility of participating as an active node on a cryptocurrency network. This is referred to as a "hot" wallet due to it perpetual public exposure, which would normally pose a risk if any assets were stored on this wallet. The "cold" wallet refers to an operators local wallet where the collateral assets are stored and committed. This wallet is not required to be publicly online, except until an operator needs to communicate with the blockchain to perform any actions or actively manage assets. Committing and storing assets in a "cold" wallet provides an excellent security layer being able to completely shut off any exposure to your digital assets.
SECTION 2 - ABOUT NODE FORGE
2.1 What is Node Forge?
As an established California limited liability company, Node Forge is a multi-cloud service provider of cloud-based and local infrastructure specifically tailored to support the cryptocurrency and blockchain space. We recognize the struggle of widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies is largely attributed to the highly technical nature of the space and we aim to lower those barriers. In addition to lowering the technical barriers for node operators, we also work with upcoming blockchain projects in establishing their initial decentralized ecosystem of full nodes across the globe. We partner with multiple cloud providers (like Digital Ocean, Azure or Hetzner), have access to various globally-located private operations, as well as manage our own data center racks in the United States West Coast in order to maintain a high level of decentralization in our operation.
2.2 How much does hosting a Node Forge node cost?
Node Forge is committed to making sure anyone can host and operate their own Masternode, and that especially means making it affordable to everyone. Node Forge's subscription pricing is based upon hardware system requirements respective to each cryptocurrency. Some cryptocurrency masternodes require more system resources then others, in which case pricing will scale accordingly. Many other competing masternode hosting services charge a percentage of your rewards and we think this is unfair and predatory. Node Forge does not believe in predatory pricing schemes! Node Forge will never adjust prices just because operators might be making more of a return on their masternodes. Our pricing is only dependent on hardware costs. Node Forge is committed to the mission of making the crypto space accessible to everyone.
2.3 How do I pay for a Node Forge node?
Node Forge makes billing convenient. Node Forge does not require long-term contracts, though we provide long-term prepaid options for flexibility (contact email@example.com to inquire). All payment options are recurring and automatic on a monthly. Node Forge accepts credit card and debit card payments options. Cryptocurrency payment options is slated for future development. It is important that the experience is as seamless as possible so operators do not need to worry about the uptime of their masternodes.
2.4 Are there setup fees, or any other additional fees beyond the normal subscription?
Was it mentioned that Node Forge does not believe in predatory schemes? Node Forge sees all the upfront and tacked on fees of competitor platform as unnecessary. There are NO additional, setup or hidden fees tacked on beyond the billing rate. Node Forge believes in keeping everything as simple and straightforward as possible.
2.5 Does Node Forge need to hold my collateral?
No. Operators will have full control of their digital assets. Committed collateral on all masternodes will be stored in your own local wallet, also known as a cold wallet.
2.6 Will Node Forge need my wallet's private keys?
No. Node Forge will NEVER ask you for the private keys to your wallet(s). Please be wary of phishing scams and/or making your keys publicly available. You are fully responsible in securing your local cryptocurrency wallets.
2.7 Where do the rewards from my Node Forge node get deposited?
Rewards will generally be deposited directly into your local cryptocurrency wallet (cold wallet) where your collateral is secured. You will have full access to all rewards your masternode generates. In some cases, some project wallet software will allow you to designate a specific wallet you would like your node reward to be distributed to. Operators are encouraged to inquire and research respective project documentation and/or communities for more details.
2.8 Running my node is no longer profitable. What's the deal?
Our stance on no predatory pricing suggests that the pricing structures of our nodes are NOT AT ALL dependent on price movements, returns or profitability of any cryptocurrency project. We are solely a service provider and our pricing is guided only by our own costs. Furthermore, we will generally follow system specifications recommended by project teams, but we will also consider our experience running nodes. Node Forge is typically very engaged with developments teams for the many projects we support and will always look to optimize performance for the node we host. As Node Forge's platform continues to evolve and discover ways to successfully scale operations, we are always looking to pass on those saving to our customers and we have been known to reduce price levels for the many projects that benefit from our efficiency. It is also important to node that the cryptocurrency space is a high-risk and volatile industry and we do not guarantee the returns on any cryptocurrency project.
2.9 I don't see the project I am interested in on Node Forge's list of supported networks? Can I still engage Node Forge for asssitance?
Absolutely! We actually support dozens of projects beyond what we have listed for support. In fact, about half of our hosting services are custom tailored to not just individual node operators but also institutional customers (i.e. companies, investment funds and other service providers). We do many ad hoc setups for customers as it can be problematic to be all encompassing of all the existing projects in the cryptocurrency space with how fast the industry is growing. If you feel there is a project Node Forge can assist with and host, don't hesitate to reach out to us via email or our Discord community and we look to see if we can provide a frictionless solution.
SECTION 3 - TECHNICAL
3.1 How and when do I setup my wallet for my masternode?
We make the setup process a breeze! We provide step-by-step instructions for wallet setups for each coin Node Forge supports. While a user goes through the provisioning process on the Node Forge Platform, we will provide a link to the guide at the appropriate time you need to take action to link your wallet to our system. All setups will require an account so users can begin to start setting up their masternodes. Our documentation depository for these setup guides can be found on the official Node Forge Confluence/Documentation Wiki. If prospective operators require additional technical support, the Node Forge team can also be reached in our official Discord community.
3.2 I purchased a masternode but it says "Your node is being created." What is actually happening?
Rest assured everything is working correctly. Typically when masternodes are purchased they are provisioned right away and customers can begin the setup process immediately. On the back end, Node Forge has pre-provisioned nodes waiting in queue for prospective operators so service can be immediate. However, when demand is high and customers are provisioning masternodes faster than what is in queue on the back end, the Node Forge Platform kicks into high gear and is working to catch up with demand, and will result in displaying a message to customers that "Your node is being created." Waiting customers will notice a pending line item on the dashboard under "My Nodes" which reserves a place in queue for the next node. The creation process of these nodes usually only take at most 30 minutes, whereas some occasions it's only 5 minutes. In either case, you will be notified via email that your node has successfully been provisioned and you'll see the status icon will have changed on your dashboard.
3.3 I provisioned my masternode and setup my wallet, but I haven't received a reward yet and its been 24 hours.
Typically it takes a 3-5 days before a masternode starts receiving rewards but it can vary from project to project. For example, Syscoin (SYS) usually take a couple days for a masternode to sync and be recognized as a validating node on the network but rewards are generally awarded daily. The NULS network is designed "round robin" so all nodes on the network have very regular securing activity and results are more immediate. However, for Aleph for example, node rewards can range a few weeks at a time. Operators are encouraged to inquire and research respective project documentation and/or communities for more details.
3.4 I am running a masternode on a network that just updated software version. Do I need to do anything?
No! For all nodes, or masternodes, being hosted on our platform, we try to make running a node as stress free as possible so we handle all maintenance and software updates. However, because operators still retain custody of their own assets and run their own wallets, operators are responsible for updating their own local wallets.
3.5 The status of my node is "healthy" but the block count is always a couple dozen blocks behind. Is there something wrong?
No, the masternode status is reliable and accurate. Node statistics are pinged every 5 minutes so there will be slight lag in statistics and block count compared to "real time." However, if there is an error on the backend, the health of your node will have a "degraded" status and will therefore need technical attention from Node Forge staff. If this is the case and we aren't already on the issue, don't hesitate to drop us a line in our Community Discord. Nodes that are deemed to be in a "degraded" state, issues are immaterial more often than not.
SECTION 4 - BILLING AND INVOICES
4.1 Does Node Forge offer specialized pricing?
Currently, we offer only one-month recurring subscription plans. However, Node Forge does offer specialized pricing and discounts for bulk subscriptions. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire as specialized pricing may vary depending on the node project.
4.2 Can I pay for my subscriptions in cryptocurrency?
The current state of the Platform does not support cryptocurrency payments. However, we plan to eventually support payments in cryptocurrency in the future.
4.3 Can I review a previous subscription order?
Yes. When you are logged into your account, under Settings, click on the Invoice History tab. There you will see all historical billing associated with your account. Furthermore, you can download PDF invoices for each payment that was made.
4.4 I ordered my node but it has exceeded the 72-hour reserved setup window. Can I get a concession?
Yes. In general, our nodes will provision in less than 24 hours from time of order. However, there are instances where projects have extensive resource requirements and go beyond cloud capabilities where bare metal rigs are necessary to be setup. This situation may push up against our slated 72 hour reserve window. In the event this reserve window is lapsed, we will credit your account on a per diem basis for every day that lapses. All inquiries on setup can be directed to email@example.com.