The only cost is my development rate. Ordinarily this rate is $75/hour (which would be $3000 based on the number of hours needed for this plugin), but in recognition of the fact I have two delegates on the ARK Public Network for passive income, I am willing to significantly subsidise this by requesting $1000 only. For more information regarding why my delegates cannot cover the entire cost of development, please see the Miscellaneous section.
As for benefits, there are several:
1) It could optionally completely conceal the IP address of any node using the plugin, so they cannot be identified. The true IP would never be revealed to any other node, nor would it appear in peer lists. This means nodes could not be identified to be targeted in a cyber-attack against the ARK (or bridgechain) network, but potentially more importantly (and unrelated to security), node operators can enjoy peace of mind as they can be reassured that they would not be subjected to vexatious abuse complaints – with potential legal consequences – from their hosting providers.
2) It allows relay operators who are stuck behind a restrictive corporate firewall – such as some exchange nodes – to run a full node properly which is currently impossible with stock ARK Core. As it stands now, any node behind a corporate firewall or NAT cannot sync with the network in real time, nor can they receive transactions sent into the network from other nodes; instead they can only download new blocks every minute which means they continually fall out of sync and cannot be used for any time-critical purposes. This plugin would change that, as these nodes would instead look and feel like normal nodes, since they would immediately receive blocks as and when they are produced by delegates and would also process incoming transactions as they propagate across the network.
3) As things stand currently, each network powered by ARK Core uses a hardcoded port for peer-to-peer traffic which cannot be changed. For example the ARK Mainnet is 4001, ARK Devnet is 4002 and the Qredit Mainnet is 4101. All fine, because each port is different. But, for example, at the time of writing, the nOS Devnet also uses port 4002, which clashes with the ARK Devnet. This means that it is impossible for the same IP address to run a node for both ARK Devnet and the nOS Devnet at the same time, so an operator wanting to run both concurrently would need to use a separate IP address, which normally means paying for a second separate server. There could be other clashes too, especially if ARK Core gains popularity in future with numerous bridgechains as there are only a finite number of ports available. This plugin would eliminate this barrier, allowing the same server with the same IP address to run multiple clashing networks all at the same time, with no loss of functionality, even if they use the same peer-to-peer port. This has a potential cost saving for operators as they could run many networks on the same server, up to a theoretical maximum of over 65,000 networks per IP address.