Coinbase Adds 2 Software Programs for Ethereum Staking, to Reduce Concentration Risks

The publicly traded U.S. crypto exchange said it would add support for the additional Ethereum "clients" – computer programs used to access and run the distributed network – to help reduce dependence on the dominant Geth software.

AccessTimeIconFeb 28, 2024 at 5:54 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 10:23 p.m. UTC
  • Coinbase said its Ethereum staking program, which has previously relied only on the Geth execution client software, plans to eventually distribute its usage evenly between Geth and two additional options, Nethermind and Erigon.
  • The move comes roughly a month after a bug on the Nethermind client knocked out 8% of Ethereum validators, highlighting the risks of an overreliance on Geth, and the lack of "client diversity."

Coinbase, the publicly traded U.S. crypto exchange, said it's moving to help reduce risks on the Ethereum blockchain by adding support for two additional computer programs known as "clients" that users rely on to access and run the distributed network.

In a blog post, Coinbase Cloud announced it's adding support for the Nethermind and Erigon execution clients, "which will diversify the execution layer within our Ethereum staking nodes."

Ethereum is heavily reliant on users running the Geth execution client, currently representing about 74% of all clients. Nethermind accounts for 13% and Erigon 3%, with another option, Besu, providing 9%.

Ironically, it was a bug on Nethermind last month that knocked out about 8% of Ethereum blockchain validators that shined a light on the network's lack of "client diversity." The fear is what might happen to the blockchain if there were ever a debilitating bug or other problem involving Geth.

Coinbase tweeted at the time that "Execution client diversity on Ethereum is a critical concern for all of us at Coinbase," adding that the company was "performing our latest assessment of alternative execution clients and will have more to share on that process and our next steps by the end of February."

On Wednesday, the company tweeted that "Over the next month, we plan to migrate roughly half our validators to Nethermind. Long term, we intend to evenly distribute between Geth, Nethermind, and Erigon."

Edited by Nikhilesh De.


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