How does a typical fedimint instance work?

A fedimint, with a lowercase-f, is an application server instance of the Fedimint protocol. It is part of a system run on a set of computers (fedimint servers) managed by a small group of leaders called “guardians”. Together these form a Federation.

These guardians ensure that the computers continue to run, by ensuring there is a supply of electricity and internet service. If one of the guardians stops operating, the Federation can continue operating with a reduced set, until that guardian is restarted. This adds resilience.

The guardians also support the community through several roles, including:

Onboarding: The guardians run through a quick online wizard to set up the Federation and get the first users to join, by sharing an onboarding link or QR code.

Custody: The fedimint servers generate private keys (a secret code) that can be backed up by the guardian to ensure the community’s resources can be recovered in case of issues.

Help: Guardians can provide additional helpful services to a Federation, for instance support the recovery of resources using Fedi.