Masternode

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In addition to a normal blockchain secured by mining nodes, some cryptocurrencies such as Dash also has a network of servers called masternodes which facilitate mixing and fast transactions. The servers run the masternode daemon and each one needs a certain amount of collateral (for the Dash network 1000DASH is required for a masternode) to be accepted on the network. Interest is received for running the service. This is particularly attractive because the collateral can remain under full control of the user and doesn't need to be on the same server as the daemon is running on. This means you can use third-party hosted services (such as masternode.me for Dash nodes) too with no risk of losing your collateral.

Most are forks of Dash, most have lower entry-level and higher returns, but come with the disadvantage of being less reputable coins that could dump in value unexpectedly. A list of coin supporting masternodes along with the statistics can be found here.

Dash masternodes

Dash is the original masternode cryptocurrency and is very stable, but has extremely high entry-level of around half a million US dollars (as of late 2017). You can use a hosted service such as masternode.me which is extremely easy to get up and running with, very stable and very low cost.

VIVO masternodes

One such coin that's worth trying is VIVO which has a reasonably low entry cost of about 1BTC and an excellent return of 300%pa (about US$1600/month at current prices) and has an very easy to follow setup guide (see this for multiple nodes with cold-wallet and this for compiling which is needed if running on other than Ubuntu 14) - don't forget the sentinel setup too or your node may stop working, and note also that sentinel requires that you have an rpc user and password in your vivo.conf. A block explorer for VIVO can be found here and masternode states here. The main community discussion is in Discord here.

After setting my first VIVO masternode up I first found that it about ten hours for the blockchain to sync which looked from the debug log to be due to a lot of bad actors on the network. The nest strange thing was that the address "0" I used to send my collateral to was different to the address "0" returned by the same command after the masternode had successfully started. However rewards did start to arrive successfully after about 14 hours, they arrive in the "immature" category and become available ("generate" category) after 100 blocks which is about four hours).

The rewards are sent to the same account ("0") as the collateral, and you need to use sendfrom "0" to spend them, remember that the fee will be subtracted from the account (and the subtractfeefromamount options is not available for the sendfrom command), so be sure you don't eat into the 1000VIVO collateral because simply sending the missing VIVO back will probably not work. No password is required for the send operation by default.

Note: To check the status of your node according to the network, check here, this may be different than what you get from your local masternode list or status commands. You may need to nuke the chain data and resync.

Feedback: I've been finding the VIVO masternode to be pretty unstable. You need to check on it each day and often give it manual attention. The project development and support doesn't inspire much confidence. I have been getting rewards most of the time (about US$60-$70 per day on average), but overall I think probly best avoided.

Stratis masternodes

Stratis is a stable coin backed by a good project and they will be introducing masternodes to the network soon. Three different levels of masternodes will be available with successively higher collateral requirement and return.

Info coming soon!