Too Much Information: Securing the Ethereum Network Coming to a Gridlock?

The Ethereum blockchain has grown to 60% that of Bitcoin, with reports of unfeasible node synchronization.

Ethereum was once dubbed the Bitcoin killer, but it may be close to killing itself, falling prey to a bloated blockchain and greater difficulties in archiving or synchronizing. Recently, a discussion centered around the growth of information for synchronizing the blockchain, as well as the weight of archival nodes.

A Parity developer, Afri Schoedon, @5chdn, agreed with the findings, stating that Ethereum could, in practice, become hard to use, as well as insecure.

Others believe the memory requirements and time for synchronization are still not that cumbersome. Most Ethereum users rely on running a light client, but even using some of the most widely distributed wallets, such as Parity, can be slow.

Because things are moving so fast in the world of blockchains, only a year ago, no one suspected the Ethereum network would be so overloaded, even with very rudimentary distributed apps and smart contracts. In the coming years, the propagation of the Ethereum distributed ledger may have to find a new solution, or face the crash of the network.

The trouble with Ethereum is not only the archival information - but the more active usage and information propagation from blocks coming in every second. The recent analysis shows that large blocks in fact may lead to the need for centralization:

“Because of Ethereum’s exponentially growing blocksize, the bottleneck is not regulated below these external factors and as such results in a shrinking and more centralized network due to network demands that increasingly exceed the average users hardware and bandwidth.”

The observations are, even now the demands of the Ethereum network is causing nodes to die out, requiring special attention and hardware to synchronize successfully. A healthy network of nodes, which also increase in numbers, is crucial for a cryptocurrency - and for Ethereum, it is a time of crisis.

The same vulnerability does not affect Bitcoin, which uses other propagation principles. But for all the ambitiousness, and hundreds of ICOs waiting to build distributed apps, Ethereum could see its nodes blink out due to too much per-second data load.

Currently, Ethereum is seeing a propagation of decentralized exchanges and other services - and the potential for a lowered number of nodes, or the need for a central service, is unnerving.

Time will tell if the Ethereum network survives. For now, the ETH asset has seen its market price slide by 20% this week, reaching $566.75, down another 9% in the past day.