3 cloud providers accounting for over two-thirds of Ethereum nodes
Data shows that over 50 percent of Ethereum nodes are geographically concentrated in the US and Germany
By Shashank Bhardwaj
A recent study showed that 65 percent of Ethereum nodes are housed in centralised data centres. According to the study, two-thirds of them come from three major data providers of web services. The study further revealed that centralised web providers control the vast majority of the 4,653 active Ethereum nodes. This can expose Ethereum to central points of failure. The results of the study were revealed on Monday through a tweet.
The tweet read, "Crypto needs to decentralize. Three major cloud providers are responsible for 69% of the 65% of @Ethereum nodes hosted in data centers. Of the estimated 95% of @Solana nodes hosted in data centers, 72% are hosted with the same cloud providers as @Ethereum."
Aside from the 69 percent of modes hosted on the Ethereum mainnet, Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosts more than 50 percent of modes. Furthermore, over 15 percent of nodes are hosted by Hetzner, while 4.1 percent are hosted by OVH. Solana is in a similar predicament. Hetzner hosts 42 percent of the Solana nodes. OVH comes in second with 26 per cent of the total hosted Solana nodes.
AWS accounts for hosting 3 percent of Solana nodes. This list of web hosts, however, is not exhaustive. Web hosting services on Ethereum are also provided by centralised companies such as Oracle, Alibaba, and Google. These companies host 4.1 per cent, 3.9 percent and 3.5 percent of Ethernodes, respectively.
This study raises the question of whether centralised web providers such as Amazon could manipulate Ethereum in any way. The report is significant because Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, recently stated that crypto has lost its right to protection. However, he did not specify who has the responsibility to protect it. It is worth noting here that it was reported in December 2020 that the high cost of node infrastructure might make Ethereum vulnerable.
The report stated, "High costs to run infrastructure make it more likely that nodes would run infrastructure with cloud computing providers (i.e. AWS)--making Ethereum more exposed to central points of failure."
Geographical centralisation is also a major issue in this scenario. The United States and Germany have the highest concentrations of Ethereum nodes. In the former, around 46.4 percent of nodes are concentrated, whereas 13.4 percent of the nodes come from the latter. This represents nearly 60 percent of all distributed Ethereum nodes worldwide.
Government intervention from one of these two countries is thought to have a significant impact on Ethereum's decentralisation at the node level. Therefore, it is high time to take the necessary precautions to safeguard Ethereum's decentralised nature.
The writer is the founder at yMedia. He ventured into crypto in 2013 and is an ETH maximalist. Twitter: @bhardwajshash
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