Ethereum co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, has identified node centralization as a significant problem plaguing the Ethereum network.
He suggested that the solution lies in making nodes more affordable and easier to operate.
Currently, out of the 5,901 active Ethereum nodes, most are managed by centralized web providers such as Amazon Web Services.
Experts argue that this centralization of nodes creates a potential point of failure for the Ethereum blockchain.
During Korea Blockchain Week, Buterin outlined six areas that need attention to tackle centralization, with node operation being a crucial aspect.
He proposed the concept of “statelessness” as a significant step towards decentralization.
Stateless clients would alleviate the need for massive data storage, currently in the hundreds of gigabytes, allowing nodes to operate with virtually zero data.
This would, in turn, eliminate the dependency on centralized service providers to authenticate network activities.
However, this opinion has sparked opposition from prominent firms in the Web3 space, such as Andreessen Horowitz (A16Z), with their view “on the impossibility of stateless blockchains”.
Buterin explained that true decentralization could only be achieved when Ethereum can run on economical, modest hardware.
Buterin admitted that the journey towards statelessness, a critical part of the Ethereum roadmap, is a long-term project.
He suggested that resolving these technical issues may take a decade or two.
Other steps towards reducing Ethereum centralization, according to Buterin, include simplifying documentation, lowering barriers to distributed staking, enhancing security for staking, and making it more convenient to stake Ether in general.
However, Buterin emphasized that the most urgent task for Ethereum is to achieve higher scalability levels.
Currently, Ethereum scaling protocols heavily rely on zero-knowledge (ZK) rollups, a tool praised within the Ethereum community for its ability to enhance throughput on the main Ethereum chain by moving computation and state storage off-chain.
However, this approach has the downside of typically causing more centralized control.