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Vitalik Buterin spoke about possible threats to the centralization of Ethereum
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Vitalik Buterin spoke about possible threats to the centralization of Ethereum

May 20, 2024

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin identified three main problems that threaten the decentralization of the network: MEV, liquid staking and the cost of running a full node.

Vitalik Buterin published an unscheduled post on Twitter in response to criticism from key developer of the Geth client Peter Szilágyi. Buterin agreed with the concerns expressed by the programmer, calling them justified.

Regarding MEV, Buterin noted two approaches to protect users: “minimization” and “quarantine.” The first approach involves reducing additional profit due to the protocol architecture, such as in CowSwap.

The second approach involves using in-protocol methods to reduce or eliminate MEV. Buterin noted that minimization cannot completely eliminate MEV, while quarantine may be accompanied by risks of centralization. “If developers can completely exclude transactions from a block, this could lead to attacks,” Buterin said, but admitted that developments in this direction are “really interesting.” Buterin also noted the low popularity of individual staking. Most users prefer centralized services such as Coinbase, or DeFi platforms such as Lido or RocketPool.

He named the main reasons for this as the need for a deposit of 32 ETH to obtain validator status and the high requirements for hard disk space to run a full node - at least 4 TB.

Buterin proposed reducing the deposit size and reducing the withdrawal time to increase the availability of staking.

He added that the issue raises a number of philosophical questions, especially in the area of staking economics.

Wrong decisions can lead to centralization and the ‘re-creation of the traditional financial system’; the right decisions can create a successful ecosystem with a diverse set of individual stakers and decentralized poolsButerin wrote

To reduce the hardware requirements for running a node, Buterin noted the importance of implementing the Werkle tree and EIP-4444.

If both options are implemented, node hardware requirements could drop to less than 100 GB, and perhaps to almost zero if we completely eliminate the need for history storage for non-staking nodes.Buterin said

He associates further progress in this direction with the development of ZK-EVM, which will eliminate the need to perform calculations using only evidence.

There are many blockchain projects focused on high speed with an emphasis on decentralization later. I don't think Ethereum should be one of them concluded Buterin

Let us recall that in March the programmer called the next five years “decisive” for the mass adoption of Ethereum

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