Is There A Point In Running Your Own Ethereum Node Now?

  • “If we don’t stop relying on Infura, the vision of ethereum failed.”
  • This was Afri Schoedon, former Ethereum Core developer who quit the project in early 2019, describing the technology in October 2018.

As of last year, Infura was reportedly handling around 13 billion code requests per day and underpinning the majority of decentralized applications (dapps) in the Ethereum ecosystem.

However, Infura has been operated by a single provider, ConsenSys. As such, there were concerns about a single point of failure for the entire network.

Also, Joseph Lubin, the co-founder of Ethereum who also founded ConsenSys is an investor in Infura.

Now, on Oct. 4, ConsenSys fully acquired Infura announcing,

“…We’ve decided that a future inside ConsenSys is the best future for our team, our users and this rapidly emerging ecosystem.”

Back in 2018, Michael Wuehler, the co-founder of Infura, told CoinDesk,

“If every single dapp in the world is pointed to Infura, and we decided to turn that off, then we could, and the dapps would stop working. That’s the concern and that’s a valid concern.”

He further stated at that time that any dapp that uses Metamask is also “inherently” dependent on Infura, as a matter of fact, “nearly all dapps potentially depend on Infura.”

And this raises the bigger concern, decentralization applications are basically built on centralized services.

Centralization Issues Go Deeper

Moreover, more than 60% of the Ethereum nodes are running on the cloud, with the majority of them on Amazon Web Services (AWS). It operates almost 25 percent of all Ethereum nodes.

Comprised of 8,933 nodes, only just over 34 percent are hosted independently while the top 10 cloud hosting providers amount to over 57% of all Ethereum nodes. Furthermore, Alibaba Cloud, Google Cloud Platform, DigitalOcean, and Hetzner together host a major chunk of the network.

In such a case, if one day Amazon wants Infura no more, 25% of the network will be suddenly working no more. And if the rest of the cloud provider were to do the same, over half of the network will go dark.

Recently, cryptocurrency exchanges like Binance had problems with withdrawals due to AWS failures. Last year as well, South Korean exchanges were forced offline after AWS servers suffered nationwide failure.

This is certainly a real risk for a blockchain that is supposed to be decentralized but only seems to be making a move to centralization.

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