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Coinbase to address Ethereum client diversity woes

coinbase-to-address-ethereum-client-diversity-woes
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Coinbase to address Ethereum client diversity woes

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has announced plans to diversify its Ethereum execution client infrastructure.

Coinbase’s decision comes in response to the increasing dominance of Geth (go-ethereum) in the ecosystem, which has been a point of contention among industry experts and stakeholders. The company announced the initiative in a Jan. 23 X post. According to the thread published by Coinbase Cloud, since its inception, Geth was the only Ethereum (ETH) execution client that fulfilled the company’s technical needs for Ethereum staking.

Although we’ve evaluated execution clients since 2020, none have met Coinbase Cloud’s requirements to date. Many other operators on the network have reached the same conclusion, which is part of the reason why 84% of Ethereum validators run Geth. However, the tide is turning.

Coinbase Cloud | Source: X

Geth plays a crucial role in the Ethereum network, handling transactions and the deployment and execution of smart contracts. The dominance of Geth has raised concerns about centralization and the risks associated with a single client.

Coinbase is now proactively conducting a technical assessment of alternative Ethereum execution clients and is committed to integrating another client into its infrastructure. The exchange plans to provide a comprehensive update on this process by the end of February 2024.

The situation underscores a broader issue within the Ethereum network, as highlighted by Ethereum.org. The website notes that approximately 85% of all nodes operate using Geth, raising the specter of systemic risks should a major bug occur, affecting transaction processing or allowing for the execution of payloads.

This concern gained further traction following a critical bug discovered in several versions of Nethermind’s execution client on Jan. 22, which reportedly led to processing failures of blocks on Ethereum.