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“Ethereum isn’t Decentralized”…And Other Myths

“Ethereum isn’t Decentralized”…And Other Myths

Ask a Bitcoin maximalist to sing you the song of their people, and it’ll sound something like this:

That’s a lot to unpack. First — an assertion that Ethereum is centralized, followed by a never-to-be-witnessed again “immaculate conception” premise for Bitcoin’s emergence, followed by the implication that only Bitcoin is invulnerable to being co-opted by government agencies and scammers.

Do the space cat’s claims have merit? Let’s take a closer look, starting with the big one.

Is Ethereum Centralized?

For the sake of this analysis, we’ll broadly define a centralized blockchain as follows: an environment where a single actor, or a handful of actors, can exert unilateral control over the platform’s day-to-day functioning and ongoing development.

Your own definition might vary somewhat, but I think we can all agree that a centralized blockchain is one that could a.) be easily taken over by governments or corporations, and/or b.) have its functionality and development unilaterally dictated by its core creators & development team. That’s not much of a desirable outcome…hence the need for decentralization!

With that in mind, let’s turn to some of the most common arguments maximalists make when talking about Ethereum’s supposed centralization. We’ll examine their claims and consider evidence to the contrary.

Claim: Ethereum’s nodes are centralized. It takes too long to sync them, and there aren’t enough of them.

According to etherscan, there are currently over 6000 unique Ethereum nodes spread around the globe. Ethernodes shows a higher figure of around 7500.

By way of comparison, Bitcoin’s node count is somewhat more robust, at around 11,000 nodes.

Does this higher node count mean that Ethereum is centralized, while Bitcoin is not? While more nodes is certainly better (all things con...

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