Ethereum developer addresses the node centralization concerns before Merge

  • Lead Ethereum developer said that they proposed to prune the Ethereum blockchain to avoid centralization but faced major backlash in the past.
  • He adds that the Ethereum state needs to be a constant size for people to successfully run their own nodes.

The Ethereum blockchain network is just a few weeks from undergoing one of the most-awaited network upgrades, The Merge. This will help Ethereum transition to a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus model from the existing Proof-of-Work (PoW) network.

As the Ethereum Merge upgrade shall happen sometime around September 15, concerns around node centralization have been brewing up fast. As we reported last week, the majority of the 4,653 active Ethereum nodes run over centralized cloud servers. More than 50 percent of the ETH nodes have been running on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Some industry experts believe that this could prove to be a central point of failure post the Merge event.

Ethereum developers address mounting concerns

Maggie Love, co-founder of Web3 infrastructure firm W3BCloud had put forward a similar concern. She stated that the centralization of nodes in the Ethereum PoS blockchain is a big concern that nobody seems to be focusing on.

Responding to it, Ethereum lead developer Péter Szilágyi said that they have been aiming to prune the database since Devcon IV. The concept of “pruning” means reducing the size of the blockchain to an extent where developers can create a reliable registry of a specific size.

He further noted that the idea faced a heavy backlash at that time and blamed those behind the backlash for the current state of centralization. Péter Szilágyi said:

We’ve been saying it since Devcon IV. Either the state gets pruned, or you will end up with nobody running home nodes. Everyone went crazy at the thought of state rent. Alexey almost got crucified for researching it. Well, now you’re seeing the effect of no pruning.

Our proposal was simple: the Ethereum state needs to be “constant” in size. That way it can run forever. The constant can be pushed up like the block gas limit if need be, but it musn’t grow unbounded. Until that’s solved, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.

The lead Ethereum developer further stated that there are still many attempts to solve this. “But until it’s solved, you can’t blame people for not wanting to maintain an ever larger “infrastructure” for running a node,” he added.

Ethereum Foundation confirms Merge upgrade

The Ethereum Foundation has confirmed recently the upcoming Merge upgrade. As per the details, the Ethereum Merge upgrade will happen in two parts. On September 6, Ethereum PoS will begin with the Bellatrix upgrade scheduled on the Beacon Chain at 11:34:47am UTC.

This Beacon Chain serves as the consensus layer of the Ethereum blockchain. Later, the Paris upgrade will be triggered by a Total Difficulty threshold dubbed the Terminal Total Difficulty (TTD), which will happen anywhere between September 10-20.