Coinkite has revealed that it is employing Obelisk, a technology that functions as a full bitcoin node and data server.
Coinkite says that “there are not many of them available” and therefore, it has put one together on its own. There is scant documentation on how it works and “if you don’t know what it is, you don’t need it.” It is generally a more difficult interface to deal with but the advantages make it worthwhile.
Coinkite does not want to rely on “a few specialized companies” for up-to-date data, which is required for some of the up and coming projects. Most importantly, Coinkite’s API for business applications relies on the protocol.
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Obelisk provides up-to-date blockchain data in a binary format of 0MQ Sockets. It supports the bitcoin protocol without using the typical the RPC-JSON protocol of Bitcoin Core. In the words of Satoshi Nakamoto:
“The current system where every user is a network node is not the intended configuration for large scale. That would be like every Usenet user runs their own NNTP server. The design supports letting users just be users. The more burden it is to run a node, the fewer nodes there will be. Those few nodes will be big server farms. The rest will be client nodes that only do transactions and don’t generate.”
The technology is better known for its use in Dark Wallet, though Coinkite points out that it does not endorse “everything they stand for”, rather it just likes the technology.