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Daedalus wallet is a 'full node wallet' does that mean it acts like a validator node on the network while active? or does it simply mean that it validates all the transactions on the blockchain for internal use only?

Does the distinction make sense? If I leave Daedalus running on my laptop will it do meaningful work for the network?

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From my understanding, it does meaningful work for the network. When you run Daedalus, you run a local cardano-node with which Daedalus' back-end interacts via the node-to-client IPC protocol (more info). From documentation we can see that cardano-node does validate and relay blocks. I wasn't able to find anything about how validation affects relaying but I suppose nodes don't relay invalid blocks.

[update]

I think my assumption was correct. I found a superb video from Andrew Westberg's youtube channel. He talks in more details about how Tx is propagated. Take a look at step 3.3, where cardano-node runs a validation before relaying info further.

1. Cardano-node to mempool (transactions aggregation phase, where mempool is a place where store transactions we hear in a network)

  1. Cardano-node places the tx into its mempool.
  2. Nodes connected to yours ask it “You seen any new transactions lately?”
  3. Your node responds with “Sure have, you want them too?”
  4. Their node asks “Yes, I’d like to have those particular transactions”
  5. Your node says, “Here you go”.
  6. Rinse/repeat and everybody’s mempool looks roughly similar with the transactions it holds.

2. From mempool to block

  1. Some stakepool out there wins the lottery and decides to mint a newhblock.
  2. They add txns from their mempool into the block until it is exhausted or the maximum block size is reached.
  3. The stakepool then places the block at the tip of its own blockchain.
  4. Any transactions added to the block are removed from the stakepool’s mempool.

3. From block to the network

  1. Other nodes ask the stakepool, “You seen any blocks lately”
  2. The stakepool responds, “I sure have. Looks like I’ve got one more than you do. Here’s the header information and the hash.”
  3. “That looks like a valid block, do you mind sending me the whole thing?”
  4. “No problem, here you go!”
  5. Rinse/Repeat and now the whole network agrees that the new block is valid.
  6. All nodes remove the transactions that occur in the block from their mempools.
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Just to add clarification to answer from @Yanis , in the current implementation - Daedalus plays a role in helping network only when serving an incoming connection, which would be the case if your node is listening on publicly reachable IP:port combination and you have a peer who specified your IP:port in their topology.

However, it does provide you assurance of any transaction you submit is directly submitted to network by broadcasting to the topology (by default only IOG nodes, who would relay it further to network).

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does it simply mean that it validates all the transactions on the blockchain for internal use only?

Yes.

does that mean it acts like a validator node on the network while active?

No.

Does the distinction make sense? If I leave Daedalus running on my laptop will it do meaningful work for the network?

No.

The description you are referring to:

Daedalus is a full node wallet. This means that unlike light wallets (e.g.Yoroi, Adalite etc.) Daedalus downloads a full copy of the Cardano blockchain and independently validates every transaction in its history. That way you get maximum security and completely trustless operation, without centrally hosted 3rd party servers.

only means that Daedalus holds a full copy of the ledger which means the wallet can validate every single block from the past. There is no pruning as you would have with lightweight wallets.

However, Daedauls runs cardano-node in wallet-mode/passive mode, meaning it cannot verify new transactions coming to the network - only producer nodes do that. They can extend the blockchain.

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