Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has listed several problems that need to be handled to fix the issue of centralization on the leading smart contract blockchain.
During the ongoing Korea Blockchain Week (KBW), Buterin revealed that the centralization of nodes is one of the major problems. He recommended that the challenge be fixed by reducing the cost of running nodes and making such activities less difficult.
Fixing Ethereum’s Centralization Issues
Data from Ethereum mainnet statistics shows that most of the network’s nodes are run through centralized entities – roughly 60% handled by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and 6% run by Google Cloud. This means that AWS runs 1,810 nodes out of the 5,901 active Ethereum nodes while Google Cloud handles 186.
The centralization issue has raised concerns about the Ethereum blockchain facing the challenge of a single point of failure. Some industry experts have also warned that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos could shut down Ethereum-based decentralized applications by simply turning off AWS.
Speaking at the KBW event, Buterin said the node centralization problem is a “big piece of the puzzle” to make sure Ethereum remains decentralized in the long run. He explained that statelessness is an essential technology in making it easier for people to run nodes.
As the Ethereum Foundation noted in a report about statelessness, decentralization is impossible if the benefits of running a node are only available to users with expensive hardware. Statelessness involves the ability of a network to validate blocks without relying on any centralized service providers.
“Today, it takes hundreds of gigabytes of data to run a node. With stateless clients, you can run a node on basically zero… In the longer term there’s a plan to maintain fully verified Ethereum nodes where you could literally run it on your phone,” Buterin said, disclosing that Ethereum will take significant steps towards statelessness during the upcoming Verge and Purge upgrades.
Ethereum Statelessness to be Fixed in 20 Years
While statelessness is a major part of the Ethereum roadmap, the network’s founder mentioned that the issue would most likely be fixed in ten to twenty years.
Nevertheless, Buterin outlined other steps that can be taken to enhance Ethereum’s decentralization, including easing documentation, eliminating barriers to distributed staking, and making staking more secure and convenient.
Meanwhile, the computer programmer stated that achieving higher levels of scalability is currently the most pressing concern for the Ethereum network.
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