It’s official, Public Node has launched.
Public Node is a community initiative that provides individuals and small businesses a low-cost way to support the health and resilience of the Stellar network. We accomplish this through memberships that pool our resources to pay for the cost of running full validator nodes.
To provide for Stellar what public broadcasting provides to radio, television, and people – a trusted and meaningful public voice within the Stellar network.
Community Coming Together
For some time now, the community has been talking about pooling resources to overcome the financial barrier of running a full validator node so that we too can help strengthen the Stellar network. Meridian turned out to be the catalyst that got enough of us together to figure out a way to do it. In other words, Public Node is undoubtedly the result of putting a bunch of Lumenauts in a single location.
Options to provide financial support
Now that we have our first full validator node running, we need to work together to pay for it! To pay for Boötes, and for many more nodes in the future, we implemented the first-of-its-kind Blue Orion stellar subscription service. The Blue Orion subscription service provides us a reliable stream of financial support and conveniently keeps us from having to come knocking on the community’s door each month when our bills come due. For those of you that do not remember, Blue Orion was one of the winners in the inaugural Stellar Community Fund. With Blue Orion, we can offer four membership options that automatically withdraw either XLM or AnchorUSD from your Stellar wallet each subscription period (annually or monthly).
Voting on Protocol Proposals
In addition to helping decentralize and strengthen the Stellar network, Public Node members can help Public Node decide how its nodes will vote on proposed protocol changes. We currently implement this through a private Keybase channel with a simple majority rules “yes” or “no” vote setup, but have plans to make this more robust in the future.
Secret Key Safety
Given this is a new initiative, it is particularly important that you send us questions and feedback so that we can mature this project together. We are already working on an expanded list of FAQs to help answer some of the questions we have received.
There is one question, however, that we want to address right out the gate. Specifically, is using my secret key in a web browser safe? In short, it can be, just as many people safely use their secret key on the official Stellar Account Viewer. That said, the best practice is to:
Only use your secret key on websites you trust.
Triple check the web address to make sure it matches the website you trust. In the case of Public Node, triple check that your web browser reads “Blueorion.cc” when entering your secret key.
Use non-custodian options, like Blueorion.cc, where your secret key is not stored or sent over the internet.
Only use a hot wallet with enough funds to maintain the subscription. This is because every time you use your secret key, there is an increased chance of it getting into the wrong hands. For example, if your computer is infected with certain malware.
Lastly, if this is still too much of a security concern for you, we completely understand. Blueorion.cc is researching ways to implement Ledger-initiated subscriptions (albeit there are some technical challenges with it). In addition, we also offer a one-time contribution method that lets you send support in whatever size and method you feel most comfortable.
We look forward to growing Public Node together because we passionately believe that individuals and small businesses should be a part of the diversity that powers the Stellar network.