Geth’s share is now over 70%, which creates risks of losing money when software failures occur

Coinbase will start using new Ethereum execution clients to reduce network centralization

29.02.2024 - 08:10

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2 min

What’s new? US crypto exchange Coinbase’s cloud service intends to diversify its ETH staking architecture by adding support for Nethermind and Erigon execution clients in addition to the already used Geth. The upgrade is aimed at improving the security of client assets and the Ethereum blockchain. Earlier this year, concerns were raised in the community about the increased popularity of Geth: its share in Ethereum exceeds 70%, increasing the centralization of the network and creating risks of losing coins in staking in the event of a software error.

Press release

What else is known? Coinbase explained that they previously exclusively used the Geth client because it was the only one that met internal technical requirements. However, since the last evaluation, other clients have been significantly improved, allowing them to be incorporated into the exchange’s staking architecture. “By incorporating Nethermind and Erigon, our Ethereum validators will be even more resilient,” the company said.

The exchange will begin using the Nethermind client this week and will migrate approximately 50% of its validators to it over the next few weeks. As for Erigon, its support will be added in the coming months.

The exchange’s long-term goal is to maintain diversity in terms of Ethereum client usage at both the consensus and execution levels. Coinbase clarified that customers of the staking service do not need to take any additional action due to the upcoming changes.

Coinbase Cloud had already taken a similar step two years ago with regard to consensus clients, with approximately 39% of validators currently using Prysm, followed by Lighthouse (33%), and Teku (19%).

According to the ClientDiversity portal, there is more diversification at the consensus level compared to the execution level. Thus, the most popular consensus clients are Prysm and Lighthouse, with shares of 37,51% and 33,24% respectively, followed by Teku (18,72%), Nimbus (9,4%), and Lodestar (1,13%).

At the same time, the recommended share of each software at both levels should not exceed 33%. Given this figure, the situation is much worse at the execution level, where Geth still dominates with a 72% share. It is followed by Nethermind (16%), Besu (9%), and Erigon (3%). Despite the excessive centralization at the execution level, Coinbase stressed that no users lost their funds when using the exchange’s staking service.

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