“Stateless Ethereum” may help to achieve true decentralisation

What 

“Stateless Ethereum” has been proposed as a way to counter the current issues developers are facing with the blockchain infrastructure, and achieve true decentralisation of the cryptocurrency ecosystem

Why 

The state size of Ethereum continues to grow as new accounts and smart contracts are added. And the equipment necessary to run a node locally is not available to the vast majority of users. This leaves users dependent on centralised API providers

What next 

“Stateless Ethereum” could help to mitigate the reliance on centralised service providers by encouraging users to run their own nodes. This would allow users local access to the blockchain and operate “in a truly private, self-sufficient and trustless manner” as cited by The Ethereum Foundation

The story 

“Stateless Ethereum” has been discussed by one of Ethereum’s co-founders Vitalik Buterin as early as 2017. But this term has gained relevancy in light of recent access restrictions and the upcoming full launch of the Consensus Layer in the second quarter of 2022. The term refers to the “state” size of Ethereum, which continues to grow as new accounts and smart contracts are added. This leaves users dependent on centralised API providers, Ethereum researcher Sandra Johnson explains

CoinBase proposes that in order for “Stateless Ethereum” to help achieve true decentralisation, there needs to be a shift on an industry-level, by increasing the availability and use of decentralised API providers. And on a protocol-level, allowing users to run a node using their entry-level computers, which will allow them unrestricted local access to the blockchain.

As explained by Ethereum developer Ben Edgington, this becomes feasible by utilising state providers. These state providers in essence maintain Ethereum’s history, allowing for the introduction of stateless clients. This enables users to run their own nodes, resulting in true decentralisation and a more resilient network. 

“Stateless Ethereum” is a viable option as state providers are being investigated by the ConsenSys Quilt team, and they’ve cited and analysed three options for the implementation of state providers.

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