Currently, a 4-core processor and 8 GB of RAM are the minimum requirements. In the near future though, GPUs may be required.
Any node can send and receive transactions on the Coda network. Additionally, any node can choose to be a "Node operator". Node operators play two specific roles:
1) Block producer - this is analogous to being a Bitcoin "miner" or a "validator" in other proof-of-stake networks. By staking coda, you can be selected to produce a block and win the block reward
2) Snark worker - this job is what helps compress data in Coda's network. The snark worker nodes generate proofs of transactions, and the block producer buys these proofs on the network (we call it a "snarketplace" :)) - thus, the snark worker gets rewarded a bit of the block reward for their efforts.
Block producers (the validators who add new blocks to the blockchain) are required to buy SNARKs from the network (or from what we call the Snarketplace) and will pay out some of their block reward as fees to the Snarkers who generated SNARKs. This creates a secondary incentive mechanism in the network to reward nodes that help compress transactions.
The Coda testnet's goal is to improve Coda's stability, improve the software through bug fixes and addressing user experience, and to test the economic incentive design in Coda. By participating in the testnet, you get to be the first participants in the Coda protocol, and help develop it from ground zero.
Head over to the testnet landing page to learn more and get started.
First, check out Github issues to see if this is a known issue. If the error you experienced is a new issue, file a Github issue with the appropriate tags (daemon, bug). Coda developers will triage the issue and fix it in a future sprint -- thanks for your help!
Yes, check out the block explorer here: https://codaexplorer.garethtdavies.com/.
Coda's consensus mechanism is an implementation of Ouroboros Proof-of-Stake. Due to Coda's unique compressed blockchain, certain aspects of the algorithm have diverged from the Ouroboros papers, and the version Coda uses is affectionately called Codaboros. Stay tuned for more details on Codaboros and some technical writeups on its details and implementation.
Coda achieves scalability through the use of recursive zk-SNARKs. By generating a proof that attests to the validity of historic blockchain states, Coda can keep the blockchain size fixed. This allows for increased throughput due to block size limits not being as taxing on the network, thereby increasing the scalability of the network.
Practically speaking, the limiting factor ends up being bandwidth, so it depends on the average quality of the internet connection among block producers. If the average connection is a symmetric 2MB/s, then it’s about 2000 tps.
It very likely will. However, it is far less of an issue than it was a few years ago. The Zcash team has done a lot of great work on improving the process, and it’s now possible to perform a multi-party computation (MPC) ceremony with hundreds of participants. There would only be issues if every one of those participants were to collude - if just one participant is honest everything is fine, so there is a lot more confidence in the modern approach.
Coda does not support smart contracts currently. The development team is looking into smart contract models, and it is on the roadmap for future development.
No, Coda does not natively implement privacy features at the moment. However, privacy is key consideration for cryptocurrencies, and is also on the development roadmap.