Technically-sophisticated users can use their skills and access to a server to host blockchain data as a Data Host for the world to access. In return, these Data Hosts will receive income for their efforts in the forms of Chain Incentives and Gateway Payments.

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Authentication Load Balancer (Auth LB)

In front of all RPC and Unchained APIs, is an authentication load balancer. This is where rate limits are enforced, and the authentication layer (depending on payment gateways, see below). If authentication passes, queries are routed by chain to an nginx load balancer that balances between multiple RPC Unchained and chain stacks.

Unchained and ChainStacks

A Data Host is comprised of two separate processes that together form one ChainStack

  1. A blockchain RPC daemon (i.e. bitcoind, or geth, etc.) that connects with a blockchain and provides access to raw unindexed blockchain data
  2. Unchained, which is an open-source service developed by ShapeShift engineers that reads, parses, and indexes raw blockchain data into a local database built for that particular blockchain, and exposes easy-to-use queries for applications

Both services are expected to be running healthily by each Data Host for the blockchains they choose to host.

If an operator chooses to host Bitcoin, they must run both the blockchain daemon bitcoind as well as Unchained for BTC.

Becoming a Data Host

Payment Gateways

An operator of a Data Host can configure one or more payment gateways for access to their Data Host. All Data Hosts will expose an endpoint for users to query that provides details of all gateways available on that particular Data Host.

Each paid gateway specified by a Data Host will have a GUID that identifies it and can be used to track payments for that gateway on-chain.

Here are some examples of gateways that could be established via configuration options:

Payments Gateway