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ETH Validators


Jun 19, 2023

Risks of Centralization in Rising Validator Rates

The discussion surrounding the increase of the validator limit has brought forth a range of issues that need to be considered. Notably, the current waiting times and the overwhelming interest in setting up Ethereum validator nodes have prompted developers to contemplate a significant adjustment to the existing limits.

To address this concern, developers have proposed raising the validator limit from 32 ether (ETH) to 2,048 ether, representing an astronomical 6,300% increase. As a consequence, major entities like Lido and staking services offered by crypto exchanges have had to deploy multiple validator nodes to meet the growing demand for staking yield services.

During a recent Ethereum core developer call, developers acknowledged that the current limit has led to a rapid expansion of the network's validator set, but it has also resulted in a substantial increase in the number of validators running the network. The proposal, originally put forward by Ethereum developers Mike Neuder, Francesco D'Amato, Aditya Asgaonkar, and Justin Drake in early June, is currently undergoing a debate and is not actively being implemented as of Monday.

Validators play a crucial role in proof-of-stake blockchains, such as Ethereum, by processing transactions and contributing to the overall security of the network. However, there are potential issues associated with raising the validator limit that need careful consideration.

One potential concern is the potential centralization of power. Increasing the validator limit may concentrate influence in the hands of a few large entities or wealthy individuals, which could undermine the decentralization principles that blockchain networks strive to achieve.

Another issue to address is the scalability of the network. While raising the validator limit may alleviate waiting times in the short term, it could place additional strain on the network's resources and potentially lead to decreased performance or increased costs for participants running validator nodes.

Furthermore, the economic implications of increasing the validator limit should be examined. A significant rise in the limit may result in a disproportionate distribution of rewards, favoring those with larger holdings of ether. This could introduce economic inequalities within the network and discourage smaller participants from actively engaging in the validation process.

These potential issues highlight the need for careful deliberation and consideration before implementing any changes to the validator limit. Balancing scalability, decentralization, and fair participation will be essential to ensure the long-term stability and success of the Ethereum network.

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