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Audo Kowitz
Audo Kowitz Komodo Team
Marketing Manager

Discord User ID: 403137719049519106 (Audo#5667)

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Journeys in Blockchain: Kadan Stadelmann

The CTO of Komodo Platform discusses the impetus behind his drive for decentralized systems.

by Darren Kleine – March 12, 2020


Notary Nodes

Becoming And Operating As A Notary Node Operator

To undrestand what notary nodes are read the 'About Komodo Notary Node Network' post.

Daily Duties & Routines

As a NN operator, you take part in securing all the coins and assetchains that secure themselves through delayed Proof of Work, or dPoW. There are many aspects to being a notary node operator, all with the goal to keep notarizations going 24/7.

Monitoring a Notary Node

A large part of being a NN operator is making sure your Notary Node is notarizing. There are many things that can (and will) go wrong, for which you need to set up tools to quickly see what is going wrong.

So, what does a notary need to track to keep notarizing?


Notarizing is done through Iguana. Iguana runs as an application on a server, so the most important thing is to check whether Iguana is running, using a simple ping or special scripts.

Coin Management

The coins that are currently notarized, need to be running as well, since a transaction is done for every notarization. In addition, this means that every coin must have enough funds to be able to do a transaction. Actual transactions are done in small amounts, but many coins have a notarization frequency of 10 blocks. Many small transaction amounts quickly drain your node’s balance.

Whenever a new coin is accepted to be notarized, it is important to install the coin’s daemon, synchronize the blockchain and set up Iguana to be able to notarize the newly added coin as swiftly as possible.

Coins often need updates. Being on call whenever a coin needs an update is an important task of a notary, especially when the update concerns the security of the node. A notify system exists when all notaries need to be notified quickly. All notaries are part of a notary group in Discord and Riot, the latter being used as a fallback if the Discord service is down.

Notaries are not always near a pc or laptop. Many have set up email services or Telegram bots to be notified of any downtime.

Responsiveness of a Node

For continuity’s sake: making sure your node keeps notarizing as much as possible. This has an economic reason: Each of the 64 nodes mine approximately 1500 KMD per month. Every year, 28 of the 64 best performing nodes get to keep their notary spot, and so they get to keep another year of rewards. It is therefore important to get as many notarizations as possible.

In addition to the previously mentioned things to monitor, a notary tries to keep all its coin wallets as light as possible. Wallet management, as the notaries call it, has keeping as few UTXOs as possible for each coin on the node as its primary goal. Without getting too technical: it is important for a coin daemon to be able to offer an Unspent Transaction Output (UTXO) to the other notaries, since 13 of the 64 notaries participate in a single notarization.

The probability that your node participates in the next notarization is higher when your coin daemon can supply an UTXO very fast. In order to make this fast, the wallet must not contain too much history, since not only Unspent Transactions are stored in a wallet, but also Spent Transactions.

Scripts have been made that track the size of a wallet, or that periodically reset a wallet to keep the wallet as light as possible.

Another degree in which a node can perform better is to have a good network connectivity to all other nodes. There are many things that help connectivity, such as the physical location of a node or the internet settings that are specified in the node’s network controller.

CLI Knowledge

All of this requires knowledge of Linux and being comfortable working with the Command Line. Installing a coin, synchronizing it, setting up the notary software, management of wallets, improving the node’s connectivity to other nodes, cronjobs, monitoring; it’s all part of a normal day in the life of a Notary Node Operator.

Helping Others

Although it is not necessary, it would be in a node’s best interest to help the Komodo Platform and / or your fellow notaries as good as possible. Some examples of this are:

  • Testing newly developed tech
  • create tools that help the Komodo Platform forward
  • write scripts for other notaries to use
  • helping the devs to fix bugs

A notary can write their own tools, or use any of the tools that other notaries graciously made available. (see this repository)

The Daily Tasks

  • Ensuring that you’re not on a fork
  • Checking you have UTXOs to spend (all funded by the network) for notarizations.
  • Checking you have a responsive system
  • Tuning your system so you are in agreeance with the rest of the network about which are the best performing nodes for this sequence
  • Updating Komodo or any of the notarized chains when they have upgrades to their code base

The last point is the most important. Komodo’s Notary Node network is a secure functioning network of blockchains. Any weakness will be exploited. Komodo cares about blockchain technology, whether it is from Komodo or from another project.

The usual sys admin tasks apply. Running several blockchain daemons and dozens of blockchains inevitably comes with some management tasks. It is a baptism of fire for the first 6 weeks, even if you’re already familiar with running full nodes.

Developing scripts to make managing your notary node easier is the primary goal in the first few months. There is a heterogenous method of maintenance amongst Notary Node Operators, with vanilla scripts that make some (but not all tasks) easy.

When the scripts fail, what do you do? At that point, your node will not be participating in notarizations. It may not even be mining. The scripts may fail when you least expect it. If you’ve worked in a real-time telecommunications setting (audio or video), this is the type of troubleshooting that can be expected. Blocks sometimes don’t arrive and the issue could lay anywhere in the 7-layers of tech or it could be some software bug.

The most important part is making sure your node is up. Has it mined a block in the last 100 blocks? If yes, you probably have half a healthy node. If your node participated in a notarization in the last few minutes, you are 80% healthy. But are you performant?

The 80/20 rule certainly applies to the scoring system. The scoring goes on notarizations and notarizations are somewhat of a competition. If you have an 80% healthy node, you will likely be in the bottom 20% of the scoring for your region because there are a number of enthusiastic devops and sys admins in Komodo’s Notary Node network.

There will be some itch that needs scratching— constantly! Will you itch, will you scratch? How long will you itch before you scratch? Some scratches will be multi-week, multi-failure attempts to optimize. This is the third season of notarizing. Not every itch has been scratched, and there will of course be new itches to scratch because we have Komodo, which is bleeding-edge technology. Komodo technology is not only for innovation, it’s for performance.

The first season’s Notary Node Operators were different from second season’s. In the second year, Komodo’s delayed proof of work (dPoW) security service was extended to non-Komodo blockchains. This means the second cohort of Notary Node Operators faced a new set of challenges that the first cohort didn’t need to deal with.

The third season notaries are likely to need to manage resources better than second season notaries. As Komodo is innovating with cross-chain technology and clusters of chains, new maintenance tasks will need to be overcome to be a top-performing node.

Campaign Promises

Candidates usually run extended campaigns towards Komodo community members, in hopes of getting their votes. These campaigns often involve committing to promote and improve the Komodo ecosystem, ranging from Komodo ecosystem development efforts to various marketing activities.

These promises should be covered on each candidate’s campaign profile page, along with their VOTE address(es) and the region(s) in which they are running for election. All candidates are able to update their profile on their own by making a pull request on Github.

After the election is complete, the campaign promises will be archived so that anyone can review what was promised and make an assessment about each Notary Node Operator’s performance.

More Information

To read more about Komodo notary nodes see the following resources:


2020 Elections Announcement: Komodo’s Fourth Annual Notary Node Election To Begin On March 16, 2020

Notary Nodes

About Komodo Notary Node Network

To understand the how to become a notary node operator and what it involves read the 'About Komodo Notary Node Network' post.

What Are Notary Nodes?

Notary nodes are servers dedicated to performing critical tasks for the Komodo ecosystem. test.

  • Security — perform delayed Proof of Work (dPoW) notarizations to provide Bitcoin-level security
  • Interoperability — notarize data throughout the ecosystem to allow cross-chain communication
  • Decentralization — run a full node for each blockchain in the ecosystem to increase each network’s distribution

There are a total of 64 notary nodes in Komodo’s globally-distributed network.

  • 60 Nodes are voted in by the Komodo community
  • 4 nodes reserved for Komodo Dev Team for testing purposes

The notary node network is divided into 4 regions:

  • North America (NA)
  • Europe (EU)
  • Asia-Russia (AR)
  • Southern Hemisphere (SH)

To promote decentralization, each of the 4 regions contains 15 notary nodes.

Komodo Elections

Every year, the Komodo community holds an election to choose who will operate notary nodes.

The 28 best-performing notary node operators are automatically re-elected.

  • Performance is measured according to the number of completed notarizations
  • The top 7 nodes from each of the four regions are re-elected

The other 32 positions are opened up and the community elects new operators.

  • Anyone can run in the election. You don’t need to own any KMD or be on the team.
  • At the end of the voting period, the top 8 addresses with most VOTE tokens within each four regions win. Thus, in total, 32 new operators are elected.

Voting With VOTE Tokens

A special VOTE token is used to conduct the voting for Komodo’s Notary Node election.

For each annual election, a new VOTE token is generated and airdropped at a 1:1 ratio to all KMD holders. VOTE tokens from previous years’ elections cannot be used.

The tokens can be accessed with the same seed phrase or private key (WIF) for the address in which you store your KMD coins.

Please note that users who store their KMD on an exchange will not receive VOTE coins. Storing your assets on an exchange makes it impossible to hold your own private keys, and thus impossible to receive any coin or token from an airdrop, including VOTE tokens.

Community members simply send VOTE tokens to their preferred candidate(s).

Notary Node Incentives

Operating a notary node requires a valuable skill set and a significant commitment of time.

To encourage talented individuals to serve as Notary Node Operators, incentives are provided.

Each notary node is periodically allowed to mine a block at an easy level of difficulty. This gives them the opportunity to earn the block reward before any other miner.

  • Approximately 75% of blocks in the Komodo blockchain are mined by Notary Nodes
  • With 1 minute block times, 75% of all blocks amounts to 1,080 blocks each day
  • Each of the 64 notary nodes is given roughly 17 “easy” blocks per day
  • Block rewards are 3 KMD per block, not including transaction fees
  • Each notary node earns about 50 KMD per day, adding up to ~1500 KMD per month
  • Transaction fees also add a small amount to the total KMD earned

Technical Description

For those who wish to gain a deeper understanding of the purpose of Notary Nodes, here is a more technical description about what exactly they do.

To understand the role of a Komodo Notary Node, you first need to understand Komodo’s Delayed Proof of Work (dPoW) security mechanism.

In short, the dPoW security mechanism uses a series of cross-chain notarizations to provide Bitcoin-level security to every dPoW-protected blockchain. Komodo’s Notary Nodes perform the notarizations.

Every 10 minutes or so, Komodo’s Notary Node essentially creates a backup for each dPoW-protected blockchain by recording a block hash, the corresponding block height, and name of the coin being notarized. This is done by performing a transaction on the Komodo blockchain, and storing the data as a message in “OP_Return”.

Then, using the same procedure, Komodo’s Notary Node network writes the same important chain data from the Komodo blockchain onto the Bitcoin blockchain.

The transaction ID (txid) of this Bitcoin transaction is then written back to the Komodo blockchain, providing a verifiable link of the chain state history. This extends Bitcoin’s enormous hash rate to protect against 51% attacks.

As dPoW requires making a great many transactions on both the Komodo and Bitcoin blockchains, the cost of running dPoW security is approximately 180 BTC per year.

The role of Notary Nodes in the dPoW system is to come to a consensus on the height and hash to be written to the BTC ledger.

In order for a notarization to take place, 13 Notary Nodes must agree on the block height and block hash. Then, the notarization transaction needs to be validated by the entire Komodo network, just like any other transaction.

Even in a worst case scenario of Notary Node Operators trying to disrupt the Komodo network or the network of a dPoW-protected blockchain, the only power the malicious nodes would have is to withhold a notarization. This might limit the effectiveness of dPoW security but would not cause any real harm.

Underperforming Notary Nodes are easily identified and risk losing their seat at the next election. Since the 28 top-performing Notary Nodes are automatically elected each year, operators are incentivized to run their nodes diligently.

Notary Node teams also contribute to the betterment of Komodo’s ecosystem through core code updates, app/dapp development, representation at events, and community outreach. There is a high level of autonomy regarding methods of contribution, outlined in the proposals of each node standing for election, allowing the voting community to evaluate the merit of each proposal and progress toward achievement of previously-stated goals.

It is important to note that Notary Nodes are not Master Nodes. They do not have the power to refuse or change transactions. They simply take the history of transactions that a blockchain’s decentralized network has agreed upon and make it completely immutable.

Notary Nodes are not intended to be purchased as an investment without ongoing maintenance and ecosystem contribution.

More Information

To read more about Komodo notary nodes see the following resources:


2020 Elections Announcement: Komodo’s Fourth Annual Notary Node Election To Begin On March 16, 2020

The Simple Idea Behind Komodo

Imagine thousands of businesses using a shared blockchain. Whatever upgrade or change the blockchain developers implement would affect all the companies using that blockchain.

Wouldn't it be a far better approach to build multi-chain architecture where each business can have a customized blockchain?

Out of that simple realization, the idea of Komodo  was born in 2015.

Just Learn Komodo Platform with Jason Brown

In this video we discuss Komodo Platform, which is in my opinion one of the most underrated projects in the crypto space!!! Jason Brown is the Head of Business Development.

By Just Learn Crypto Show – Feb 10, 2020
Industry News

In The Future You Can Create Your Own Stablecoin With Just A Few Clicks Or Commands

What if you could launch your own stablecoin with just a few clicks or commands? The Komodo blockchain wants to make this possible. 

By Justin O'Connell – Feb 10, 2020

Komodo Project Spotlight: Audo

  • Role: Audo is a marketing manager handling many day-to-day tasks within the team. He is especially involved with community-building activities and thinking about the overarching Komodo story and message concepts.
  • Background: Interest in precious metals led to the discovery of Bitcoin and eventually into other blockchains projects. Audo started his Komodo career in 2016 as a community manager and has since then been an active member of the marketing team.
  • Discord ID: Audo#5667 (403137719049519106)


I believe that decentralized software architecture with the spirit of open source development plays a crucial role in creating a free, global, and accessible world. Komodo is one of the few projects which have diverged from the pack and is taking an unorthodox approach instead of following the current trends. Because of that, we say we are pushing the boundaries of the blockchain industry.

None of the countless blockchain applications will be successful until the blockchain technology matures, and the rudimentary architecture is in place. In other words, you have to level the terrain before you can build a house. While others are trying to use the latest technology to construct their "house" on unstable ground, we are here to strengthen the surface so that they can eventually succeed in what they are trying to build.

Meet Komodo, a project that is doing the groundwork for global blockchain adoption. Help us spread the message and join the community.

Feel free to reach out to me in any community or marketing related matters.



Audo Kowitz

Presentation: Benefits And Challenges of Multi-Chain Architecture

Komodo Platform presented in under 15 minutes by Komodo marketing manager Audo Kowitz. The presentation took place in OKEx Cryptour Ukraine 2019 event in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Download the presentation slides.

About the Event

Presented on December 5, 2019. 

We got invited to present Komodo in the OKEx event in Kyiv, Ukraine. There were a decent size crowd and a pleasant atmosphere. Blockchain and cryptocurrencies have a good foothold in Ukraine.

Contribute & Represent Komodo

We are always ready to help our community present Komodo in a meetup or event. Reach out to us, and we will provide you a presentation template and brief you about our technology offering.

We are an open-source project, so you don't have to get our permission to contribute. For example, our Komodo ambassadors all started promoting Komodo out of passion and then, later on, claimed their more official position.

If an opportunity represents itself don't hesitate, we got your back.

This post is archived because it's no longer valuable or valid.

Discord Channel Structure Proposal

The Komodo Community Portal fills many gaps we have tried to fill with Discord.

The problem has been that content gets lost on Discord, so we have given each topic a channel to make it easier to scroll up and find the relevant messages and pinned posts. The result has been an enormous list of channels that overwhelms any newcomer.

Now that we have the portal, we should take another look at the Discord channel structure and try to find ways to make its use more efficient.

Reasons For Restructuring

  1. We want to encourage the discussion to happen on the portal instead as it provides us with long term benefits.
  2. With fewer channels, we would concentrate the conversation and make the Discord feel more active.
  3. It is hard to stay on-topic in live chat, so why don't we accept that and use few more general channels instead?

Share Your Thoughts

Read the proposal and answer the poll:

  • Yes, I agree we should reduce the number of channels and rethink the structure
  • No, the current Discord structure works, and we should keep it as it is

Share your thoughts below!

1) Read The Proposal 2) Answer The Poll 3) Discuss Below

BCH Developer Funding Plan

Bitcoin Cash has announced an "Infrastructure Funding Plan for Bitcoin Cash."


It is an interesting topic that I think has valid arguments and concerns from both sides. Such a mining fee provides funding for future development, but it does make the project more centralized. Who decides how the funds are used?

On the other hand, are there really any projects that wouldn't be in the hands of a few people? Does the funding mechanism really change anything in terms of who ultimately holds the decision making power? 

However, it is impossible for developers to develop for free for long-term. The current corporate donation mechanism has some significant problems:

Such a decision certainly provides the project with more freedom & flexibility. The corporate funding mechanisms come with their own set of problems, that also tend to centralize decision making.

It is definitely an interesting experiment to drive more value to the BCH project.