From Day 1, Flow has been on a path of progressive decentralization. To date, we’ve made incredible progress and have achieved decentralization as follows:
Today, we are announcing one big step in that direction: anyone can now run a Flow node. We are excited to introduce a new permissionless node type called an Observer node: an unstaked node that runs on consumer grade hardware, and provides a locally accessible, continuously updated, verified copy of the block data. Learn more about how to run an Observer node.
Our progress with permissionless node operation is just beginning. We have other exciting milestones coming up by the end of this year. Permissionless deployment of staked nodes will start with Access nodes by the end of the year, with other node types to become permissionless in 2023 and beyond.
Furthermore, an additional specialized node type, called an Archive Node, will also be available by the end of the year. Archive nodes provide access to historical data which is no longer accessible via regular access nodes, as well as to be able to run Cadence scripts without being subjected to rate limits. The Archive node is a result of a community contribution from Optakt, and will also be permissionless. See our full length forum post for more details.
With the introduction of the permissionless Observer node, the network unlocks participation opportunities for everyone. Having your own node means you don't need to trust information about the state of the network provided by a third party, including other benefits such as privacy, security, reduced reliance on third-party servers, censorship resistance, balanced load distribution, and increased decentralization of the network.