How is the health of Ethereum? This site shows its decentralization

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The Ethereum network has many factors to take into account when analyzing its current state in relation to its decentralization. For example, the diversity and number of clients, the availability of miners or validators and their geolocation are aspects to consider. Taking all this into account, a web portal highlights several “dangerous” aspects about the current state of the network.

The site in question is Project SunshineY it currently indicates that Ethereum is at 61% health. This is further illustrated by a scale with emojis, in which the current situation calls for a face with a neutral expression, right in the middle of the seven possible states.

The critical point for Ethereum is that of customer diversity (or server software) used to connect to the network. This is important because the lack of diversity causes security and financial risks, both for the nodes and for the chain itself. For example, if a majority customer suffers a bug or fails, this could alter the existence of the entire blockchain from the creation of invalid blocks.

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How is the health of Ethereum? This site shows its decentralization

For the current version of Ethereum (1.0 or execution layer), a diversity of 14% is measured, qualified as “dangerous” according to the site, which in turn is based on ethernode data.

Meanwhile, in Ethereum 2.0 the current diversity is 47% according to blockprint, although migalabs and ethernode, two other sources available on the site, indicate less. For this reason, from Project Sunshine they emphasize having “caution”. Other experts have recently warned the same thing, as this newspaper reported at the end of March.

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Other indicators that do not reach the objective set by Project Sunshine are non-hosted validators, that is, those that operate independently and without depending on data centers (such as cloud hosting), and their geographical location. Both are measured with nodewatch as the source.

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How is the health of Ethereum? This site shows its decentralization

Regarding the former, the current 41% is still far from the target of 50%. To get out of the “caution” category you are in now, you should hit 60%. The relevance of this point lies in the fact that nodes based on cloud-hosted services are susceptible to attack. A failure could take many nodes out of service at once, making them easy targets.

indicators considered to determine the state of health of ethereum decentralization
All the indices that Project Sunshine considers to measure the health of Ethereum. Source: Project Sunshine.

Regarding the geographical location, the minimum to get out of the “caution” range is 66%. Currently, decentralization in this sense is 50%. Through geographic diversity, it is possible to mitigate “real world” risks, such as government blockades or natural disasters, among others.

Finally, two healthy aspects in Ethereum today are the number of clients in both versions of Ethereum, which have 5 clients each. If there were only one client, the same thing that was raised before would happen: a failure in any of them would harm the entire network.

What is Project Sunshine?

Project Sunshine is an autonomous initiative, meaning that not related to the Ethereum Foundation nor is it directly related to the developers of the network. Its developers identify themselves as Ether Alpha, a team that is dedicated to creating open source tools and resources.

As described in the portal, its purpose is to “identify vectors of centralization, determine the metrics to monitor, establish objective values ​​​​or those that represent a risk for them, and then work with the community to achieve those objectives.” To do this, the site relies on third-party sources such as ethernode, nodewatch, migalabs, and blockprint.

In the home of the site you can find six boxes with the main statistics for Ethereum today. This includes both the current model of the network, Ethereum 1.0 or Execution Layer, and the one that will come soon, Ethereum 2.0. The latter is also called the consensus layer, as CriptoNoticias has reported.

As explained previously, the aspects that are measured and reflected in this portal are: diversity of clients in the consensus layer, diversity of clients in the execution layer, number of clients in the consensus layer, number of clients in the the execution layer, non-hosted (independent) validators, and geographic diversity of validators. In addition, there are four boxes that are not yet available for consultation, as they will be activated when the transition to Ethereum 2.0 is completed. These include diversity in staking pools, non-pool validators, staking weight of government entities, and staking weight of the entity with the most validators.

health indicators for ethereum 2.0 are not yet available
Certain indicators related to Ethereum 2.0 are not yet available on Project Sunshine. Source: Project Sunshine.

What can be done to improve the health of Ethereum?

In line with the premise of “working with the community to achieve those goals”, Project Sunshine also provides practical advice to optimize each aspect evaluated on site. These can be viewed by clicking “Take Action” or TakeAction. Entering also explains what measurement is and why it is important to Ethereum.

Thus, for example, in the case of the diversity of clients for the current version of the network or for its future consensus layer (Ethereum 2.0), it is advisable to opt for minority clients, both individually and when joining a pool, and support projects that prioritize customer diversity.

Similar recommendations are provided for the other indicators to improve the overall health of the network. For example, it is advised to move to servers not hosted in the cloud and use tools like Eth-Docker and Rocket Pool for node management. It is also advisable to work with projects oriented to the self-hosting of nodes in order to avoid dependence on third-party services.

Finally, regarding the geographical location of the nodes and validators, it is suggested to work with hardware resistant to infrastructure problems and with protocols that take this issue into account, such as Rocket Pool. For decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO), meanwhile, a recommended action is to get involved in the regulation that may affect the network of protocol validators.

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