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Issue #396: A quick path to centralization

Jan 11, 2019
Marty's Ƀent

Issue #396: A quick path to centralization


Here's an interesting piece that the Block dropped yesterday exploring Infura, a company that hosts A LOT of nodes on behalf of Ethereum users and companies. The burden of running a full node has become too cumbersome for the average user as the size of the blockchain and, more importantly, the need for fully synced nodes to constantly verify state changes requires more and more powerful hardware at an accelerated pace. As a result, users and popular dApps/companies running on Ethereum have outsourced their node operation to Infura, who outsources their node operations to Amazon. Not the best look for a project marketing itself as decentralized.

As you can see from the highlighted section above, Ethereum full nodes are dropping off the network at an alarming pace, accentuating the centralizing nature of Infura as it concentrates more of Ethereum's traffic onto its servers. The Ethereum project is about to embark on a journey to upgrade their protocol so that it becomes leaner, more efficient, and more accessible to the average user. We shall see if they can pull off their ambitious plan successfully. It seems as though the Ethereum project is racing the clock against centralization. The scary thing about this situation is the fact that major apps like MetaMask are putting a lot trust in Infura (a 3rd party) and setting a precedent that this is acceptable behavior within these distributed systems. It may be all peachy at the moment, but what happens when a nation state or corporation decides these systems are no longer okay? Having a company like Infura as an Achilles heel could be a death sentence.

*prepares for the "lol you don't even understand Ethereum, ignorant maxi." responses.*


Final thought...

NEED a house with a fireplace, maybe two. Enjoy your weekend, freaks.


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