Actors in a Blockchain Network

Published by Mario Oettler on

Which actors do we have in a typical blockchain network like Bitcoin? We have several actors with different roles. It is important to notice that each actor chooses his roles voluntarily. Nobody is forcing him to become a user or miner or whatever. Each actor is also free to leave the network at any time. And actors can have (and typically have) multiple roles.


The users create transactions and accept coins as payment. Typically, this is done by using a wallet. Without users, a blockchain would be pointless.


Miners solve the proof of work puzzle and create blocks. They maintain the consensus and make sure only valid blocks are appended to the blockchain.

The miners also have other tasks:

  1. Collecting all transactions in the network.
  2. Check every transaction if it has a valid signature or if it is a double-spend attempt. If there is anything wrong, the miner doesn’t include this transaction in his block. 
  3. Adding all transactions to a block
  4. Trying to solve the puzzle as fast as possible

Full Nodes

They store the blockchain data and relay transactions in the network.


Every software needs maintenance. Developers take care of that. They code all the software necessary to use cryptocurrency, like mining software, wallets, exchanges, etc. This means they transfer the protocol into the software. And thus, they have a huge influence on the protocol.


This is the end-user software with that a user can create transactions (send coins) and check the balance of its addresses. Wallets take care of the secret keys and are a convenient way to use cryptocurrencies.

Wallets come in all kinds of flavors like mobile apps, desktop apps, web services, or browser plugins.

All these actors need to work together to make a cryptocurrency or blockchain successful. A cryptocurrency is not useful if it has many miners and nodes but nobody wants to use it. At the same time, it is a bad situation if there are many users but no developers who maintain the node software. This will result in outdated and vulnerable software.

All actors need to play together. For example, if the developers change the protocol in a way that upsets users, users will switch to other cryptocurrencies. This results in a lower value.