I've been exploring the intricacies of node types in Polkadot and other Substrate-based networks and came across a scenario that has left me curious. I understand that full nodes and archive nodes serve different purposes, with full nodes focusing on the current state and a more recent part of the chain, and archive nodes maintaining the complete chain.

My question revolves around the scenario where a network has numerous full nodes but lacks an archive node, either temporarily or permanently. Specifically, I am interested in understanding:

  1. Syncing from Genesis: In the absence of any archive nodes, is it possible for the network to sync from the genesis block? Or does the network rely solely on more recent --sync warp for synchronization?

  2. Historical Data Retrieval: How does the absence of archive nodes impact the ability to access historical data? Can full nodes compensate in any way, or is historical data effectively lost?

  3. Network Resilience: Considering a hypothetical network with a million full nodes and a single archive node, if the archive node disappears, what are the implications for the network's ability to reconstruct its past states from the genesis?

  4. Operational Impact: How does this setup affect the day-to-day operation of the network? Can the network continue producing new blocks without any archive node, albeit with a loss of historical data?

  5. Incentives for Archive Nodes: Finally, what incentives exist for operating an archive node, given their importance in maintaining the full history of the network?

I am keen to understand both the technical and practical aspects of this scenario. Any insights, references, or experiences would be greatly appreciated.

  • In the nature, there is no such thing like "equality" and as an idea, I can propose that could be legit to implement some indicator for archive nodes, to show off that they maintain full state of a network. Nov 30, 2023 at 9:41


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