Fixing Ethereum node centralization may take two decades: Vitalik Buterin
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  • The project’s founder explained how a reduction in node costs could help its goals.
  • Developers’ contributions decreased, and validator activity fell.

Ethereum [ETH] co-founder Vitalik Buterin, while admitting that node centralization was one of the blockchain’s biggest challenges, said that it could take 20 years to fix. Buterin, who was speaking at the South Korean Blockchain Week, gave reasons for his opinion.

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Ethereum nodes are necessary for the blockchain to function as they are responsible for validating transactions and monitoring the functional status of the blockchain.

Node operation requires a reduction

Currently, Ethereum has about 6,801 nodes with most of them hosted in the United States and Germany. About 35% of these nodes rely heavily on Amazon Web Services (AWS), which is a centralized entity.

According to Buterin, it takes about 100 gigabytes of data to run a node. And for Ethereum nodes to be fully decentralized, the cost of node operation needs to be reduced while Statelessness also needs to be taken seriously.

On 31 August, the Ethereum Foundation updated its roadmap where it discussed the role of Statelessness, state, and history expiry. In the document, the foundation defined Statelessness as a bit of a misnomer for changing the way Ethereum nodes handle state data. 

While highlighting how weak Statelessness may come before the strong one, Ethereum mentioned the need for Verkle trees. For the unaccustomed, Verkle trees are small, fixed-sized “witnesses” that could be used to verify blocks on the blockchain. The document explained:

“Weak statelessness is in an advanced state of research, but it relies upon proposer-builder separation and Verkle Trees to have been implemented so that small witnesses can be passed between peers.”

With statements like the above, it is expected that a lot of development might occur on the Ethereum blockchain soon. Meanwhile, on-chain analytic platform Santiment revealed that development activity on the blockchain had slowed down.

Assessing the road ahead

Development activity measures the public GitHub repositories connected to a project. An increasing value of the metric indicates a rise in developer contributions or code commits. On the other hand, a decrease in development activity signifies a shrinking dedication to polishing a project’s network.

Therefore, Ethereum’s development activity implied that commitment to polishing the network was not at its peak. When it comes to staking activity following its last major upgrade— the Shapella upgrade, on-chain data revealed that it has been up and down.

Source: Santiment

From the chart shared above, Ether deposits on the Beacon Chain have reduced. This meant the rate of validator entry into the Ethereum staking system has decreased.  Regardless of the staking state, Ethereum seems to be focused on the upcoming Dencun upgrade.

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While Dencun might not be as big as the Merge it aims to reduce transaction fees on the blockchain. The upgrade could also increase transactions throughout. 

At the time of writing, Ethereum’s throughput is currently around 13 Transactions Per Second (TPS). But with the upgrade, the throughput has the potential to have a much higher TPS.

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