Welcome, and thank you for being part of the MyZucoins community! Let’s get into an interesting piece of crypto, finance, or tech news to stay ahead.
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. Read more here.
The Ground-Up Crypto Rethink: Zucoins’ Splitchain
We have to admit, the Zucoins team upon hearing the news, was surprised to hear this from one of the major blockchain system’s co-founders.
The decentralization strategy of Zucoins and the Splitchain network, with an emphasis on simplicity and user-friendliness, is a great lesson from Ethereum’s challenge with node centralization.
Unlike Ethereum, where the majority of nodes run through complex configurations that seemingly operate within a handful of centralized web providers, the Splitchain network uses a very different method of running caching nodes on commodity systems.
This approach, which opens the ability to run the Splitchain network on commonly available service providers, of all sizes big and small, increases the network’s decentralization by lowering the barrier to entry—this is key and is only now getting its moment in mainstream attention.
Ethereum’s goal of running on basic and affordable hardware resonates with Zucoins’ multi-year commitment to this issue.
The Splitchain network’s architecture has been designed from the ground up to be a much more approachable system that’s easy for people to learn and use.
By keeping the system requirements minimal and user-friendly, Zucoins can ensure wide accessibility, encouraging further decentralization.
Furthermore, utilizing infrastructure that is already widespread across the globe, Splitchain should encourage more grass-roots development, as getting involved is much easier.
This comes down to Zucoins’ focus on expanding their decentralization by first getting the basics right.
Trying to modify and migrate a running system is like trying to change the wheels on a car while it’s moving—incredibly hard.
That’s the thing with decentralized systems—you can’t apply common thinking to it.
Most of what a normal software engineer has learned when building system architectures gets thrown out the window.
If you apply everyday commercial systems and app thinking, you end up gradually steering towards a centralized system.
It’s a deceptively hard nut to crack.
By default, almost every solution you will hear in the mainstream crypto narrative, even amongst bright software engineers, ends up encouraging skewed incentives, resulting in another way to attack or centralize the system.
For example, by shrinking the number of key players over time, moving control into the hands of a few.
Zucoins’ approach for Splitchain has been to think in terms of balancing systems, with counteracting forces and distributed pressure, while keeping it relatively easy to participate.
Doing this means you end up diving deeply into all kinds of general-purpose scientific principles to try to frame and model the system’s behaviors, then having to test, analyze, modify and repeat it all again when new discoveries are made.
There’s also the need to combine all of this into a simple package that will run on all kinds of devices and services.
It’s why Zucoins has to be careful with the release of their decentralized system’s components, doing so step-by-step.
Once you let the parts of a decentralized system go—that’s it, it’s off.
No turning back.
In a sense, it’s more like the early days of prototype jet planes more than anything.
From that point, any flaws or misaligned protocols become extremely sticky and hard to change mid-flight.
And because a decentralized system won’t really ever land again once it’s taken off, the stakes are even higher.
In the end, it all comes down to building what we believe is the best crypto system out there and managing those risks as carefully are we can, embedding the right behaviors into the protocol, for the system’s best chance at long-term stability when those ties are cut.
As we’ve said before, this system is not one for speculators. One of Splitchain’s core focuses is on utility and productivity.
The focus is to build cutting-edge infrastructure for the next generation of the Web, that is, Web3, solving the hard issues plaguing others in the industry.
Looking at other publicised efforts by Bitcoin and Ethereum to correct major issues has sometimes resulted in a ballooning of alternative versions and community conflicts—each incompatible with the original system (these are called “forks”).
Most recently, this occurred with Ethereum’s switch to Proof of Stake (PoS) in September 2023.
Another innovative aspect of scaling that was solved for the Splitchain network was to reduce the amount of data flowing across the network.
In blockchain systems, having all network nodes store every bit of history since the beginning of time, for everyone, is an obvious bottleneck.
While blockchain groups have been researching this issue for many years, it seems they won’t solve them fully any time soon, using their current methods.
The Splitchain network has already addressed this issue by caching the results produced by transacting peers, reducing the data that needs to be stored and processed.
This not only makes the network more efficient but also helps to address the scalability issues that Ethereum currently faces.
What’s more, uniquely, the Splitchain network only caches the last two transactions for each peer using the network.
Not your entire history back to the beginning of time.
Your full history only sits on your device, in your wallet.
This is vastly different from how traditional blockchains operate, and it requires a fundamentally different way of operating.
It’s not something others can just shoehorn in over a weekend.
Ethereum’s efforts to simplify documentation can offer key insights for Zucoins.
By proactively working towards these goals, Zucoins can further improve the system’s accessibility and user-friendliness.
This would encourage broader participation and enable Zucoins to build an even stronger community around its cryptocurrency.
Of course, the Zucoins team has already scheduled these sorts of processes, as part of their decentralization plans.
There are so many industry firsts and unique approaches packaged together inside of Zucoins and Splitchain.
One of our goals with this newsletter is to gradually cover them all, bit by bit, as we have been. We hope you keep following along on the journey and let us know how we’re doing.
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All the best,
Peter & Rob