Ethereum co-founder Vitalk Buterin believes that future upgrades to the network could make it possible to run full nodes on mobile devices, helping to decentralize the network and improve its scalability.
Speaking during Korea Blockchain Week, Buterin addressed the decentralization and scalability challenges facing themainnet, as initially reported by CoinTelegraph.
“In the longer term there’s a plan to maintain fully verified Ethereum nodes where you could literally run it on your phone,” Buterin told the conference, reiterating a point on the Ethereum roadmap.
Full nodes are computing devices that validate and verify all transactions and smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain.
Currently, a full node requires hardware specifications including a solid state drive (SSD) larger than 2TB, along with 16 GB RAM. These requirements have increased the level of centralization, with most full nodes run on centralized servers like Amazon Web Services.
Buterin highlighted six key problems that must be addressed in order to solve centralization of the Ethereum network, calling full nodes a “big piece of the puzzle” in the pursuit of greater decentralization on Ethereum.
He pointed to Ethereum’s roadmap, which includes “stateless clients” using “Verkle Trees,” as a means of significantly reducing the hardware requirements for running full nodes on the network. He noted that, “Today, it takes hundreds of gigabytes of data to run a node. With stateless clients, you can run a node on basically zero.”
Statelessness involves reducing the network’s reliance from all nodes needing to store the entire state of the Ethereum blockchain to only requiring limited space for validating transactions. In a recent blog post, the Ethereum Foundation outlined the concept of weak statelessness, in which only block producers need access to full state data, while verifiers don’t require the entire data.
However, Buterin also mentioned that implementation of statelessness comes with “technical problems,” which may be resolved in a “10-year timescale, maybe a 20-year timescale.”
Distribution of staked ETH
Buterin also tackled other centralization concerns, including the need for a more widespread distribution of staked ETH and making documentation easier for developers and users.
In a recent message posted to the Reflexer Finance Discord community, he recommended adding “non-dominant forms of staked ETH (excluding Lido)” as new collateral options on the stablecoin lending platform.
Lido currently accounts for more than one-third of the total staked ETH, which has raised centralization concerns.
Lastly, Buterin emphasized that scalability remains the most pressing issue, with progress being made through the adoption of rollup solutions, especially those based on zero-knowledge proofs.