Coordinator in Crypto Networks

Coordinator is a specialized client through which nodes can validate their copy of the ledger for specific transactions.

What is coordinator?

Blockchain is a complex series of transactions stored in a distributed registry. Using a decentralized network of validator nodes, this ledger is verified. This is the most simplistic way of looking at blockchain, but there are many other elements of its functionality. In addition, every blockchain is different. For example, the basic functions of the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchain may be the same. However, they have very different applications.

With blockchain technology, a coordinator acts as a system for tracking and verifying validator nodes. Over a period of time, the coordinator issues milestones. Basically, these milestones are transactions written to the blockchain, which the validator nodes use to verify that their copy of the ledger is correct. It should be noted that not all blockchains have a client-coordinator.

An example of a blockchain that uses a client-coordinator to verify the ledger is IOTA. The IOTA blockchain was based on this coordinator client to add an extra layer of security and ensure that all copies of the distributed ledger are valid. However, now the IOTA Foundation has implemented the next step in its roadmap, and the coordinator client is completely removed from the system.

According to many blockchain and cryptocurrency enthusiasts, coordinators hinder the decentralized power of the technology. Because they essentially have concentrated power to affect all copies of the ledger on the network simultaneously, they are considered centralizers. A blockchain with a coordinator client cannot be fully decentralized.

Blockchain technology is ideologically based on decentralization, so centralizing is an undesirable trait. For this reason, IOTA, for example, relied only on its coordinator from the beginning. Implementing such a client was intended to give developers enough time to work on the system, while ensuring its security from the start.

Now, as blockchain technology grows and evolves, new consensus mechanisms are emerging. With these, blockchain is becoming fully decentralized. To continue with the IOTA example, the network now relies solely on its directed acyclic graph (DAG) to verify transactions and verify nodes. From this perspective, coordinator clients may not be a viable security solution for much longer. Even so, for projects that are just getting started or for projects that prefer centralized blockchain management, a coordinator client can be a useful way to secure the entire network.

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