Our First Year
Public Node just passed its first year of operation and with that we bring you the customary reflection of what we accomplished during that year as well as our plans for our second year of operation. In short, we crushed it and aren’t slowing down.
On the hardware front, we accomplished everything we hoped to and did it faster than we originally thought. As a reminder, our first objective in support of our mission was to operate one community-funded full validator node.
After meeting that objective in December of 2019 with the launch of our first full validator node Boötes, we started working towards our fault tolerant setup – i.e., to have three nodes so that one of our nodes could be offline for maintenance or other reasons and Public Node’s validators would continue to validate the public ledger.
In that same month, which was about a month after Meridian in Mexico City, we had our second node Hercules up and running. Then, two short months later we achieved our fault-tolerant three-member quorum set with the launch of Lyra. That’s not to say we did it without making a few mistakes. The most memorable being our launch of Hercules in Brazil which we quickly realized was wrong once the bandwidth bill started to climb. Thankfully, we identified the issue early and fixed it while still validating the Stellar public ledger the entire time.
With Hercules moved and our fault-tolerant goal met, we pushed to launch twin publicly accessible Horizon endpoints – Artemis and Apollo. This brought our total hardware to an impressive 5 servers spread across North America and Europe. Further, our uptime has also been quite Stellar. ?
Public Node Validating Uptime
Our Blog and Podcast
An important part of supporting our mission is to produce educational content. We started the year by blogging and ended it with podcasts. By our anniversary we had produced 5 educational blogs and 19 educational podcasts. A huge thank you to Brian Goldberg and Sam Conner for producing all those fantastic podcasts! We receive a lot of praise and appreciation from the Stellar community for those podcasts.
Stellar Protocol Upgrades and Votes
Public Node, and its members, participated in two validator protocol upgrade votes – one on Stellar protocol 13 and the other on Stellar protocol 15. And no, we didn’t miss a vote, rather the Stellar Development Foundation and the Stellar community agreed it made more sense to skip protocol 14 and jump straight to protocol 15. Both votes we participated in were significant from an enhancement standpoint, but were easy from an approval standpoint – both received an unanimous yes from all involved.
Looking to the Future
We accomplished a lot in our first year. Our growing membership and listener base inspires us to maintain that momentum. To maintain that momentum we will spend our second year investing in our written educational content and in our hardware resilience.
Our educational blog started the year strong but tapered off as our podcast received our undivided attention. Given the popularity of our podcast, it was the right decision, but we now believe we are in the position to do both. We are in the final stages of selecting two writers dedicated exclusively to maintaining our blog. Starting in March, expect to see a regularly occurring Public Node blog.
Our 2020 hardware performance has been measurably fantastic. However, we have identified a few areas that could use some improvement. The good news is all can be addressed simply by increasing the number of people running our hardware.
The transition from a single software engineer to multiple software engineers will spread the workload and keep our nodes healthy, up-to-date, and validating. Further, with this additional help, we are going to implement improved monitoring to ensure we can identify problems early. Lastly, as everyone knows, blockchain doesn’t sleep, but people sure do. With multiple software engineers and some geographical distance between them, we will improve the chances that the servers remain up and our people well rested. Similar to our blog writers, we are in the final stages of selecting our second software engineer.
Sponsors and Public Trust
The combination of our solid 2020 record and our 2021 plans set us up to deliver on two goals for 2021. We want 2021 to be the year we gain our first corporate sponsor and also the year our validator nodes reach the next level of trust within the Stellar Consensus Protocol.
With that 2020 reflection and our goals for 2021 set, we would like to end on our gratitude for our members and their unwavering support, both financial and otherwise. Public Node is a community-run initiative and we know that without you, there is no Public Node.