The programmer considers that 524 thousand nodes would be enough to achieve optimal operation. More than 100,000 validators are currently registered to participate in the Beacon Chain.
Vitalik Buterin proposed limiting the number of active validator nodes in version 2.0 of the smart contract network. The Ethereum co-founder noted that there are currently 115,000 active validators in the Beacon Chain. That is the first step for Ethereum 2.0, but he believes that the figure could reach around four million nodes.
The developer believes that this figure could be detrimental for several reasons. He stressed that there will be more work for client creators, who would have to ensure that the programs can handle that amount. Besides, operators would have to make sure that their equipment is capable of processing the calculations.
A Lower Number of Nodes Would Allow Taking Advantage of Their Capabilities
Buterin suggests establishing a ceiling of active nodes that allow taking advantage of their capabilities efficiently. The developer recently noted that that limit could be around 524,000 nodes.
“If there are more active validators than the ceiling, some ‘sleep’ randomly and probabilistically for a period between a few hours and a few days. Sleeping validators do not receive rewards and have no responsibilities, and they can even go offline during that time,” Buterin explained.
Implementation of Vitalik’s Proposal Would Reduce Verification Burden
According to the developer, the varying difficulty of verifying blocks and keeping pace with the chain on the Beacon Chain is annoying. He believes that such an implementation would reduce the burden of verification, making it easier to handle nodes for validators and non-validators.
A limit of active validator nodes will increase the certainty about the level of hardware that is enough to validate the Beacon Chain. In other words, operators could save funds when configuring their equipment as it would not be necessary to over-invest.
Staking on Ethereum 2.0 Would Be More Accessible to Participate as a Validator
Buterin’s proposal would make the staking (or amount of funds blocked to participate as a validator on the network) more accessible as it could decrease. Currently, those operators who want to participate must have available a total of 32 ETH. However, services such as exchanges and pools offer alternatives to form collaborative groups.
Right now, 3.7 million ETH (equivalent to around USD 7,700) are committed to the project, according to data from the Ethereum Launchpad.
Participating nodes that propose and validate blocks receive incentives, which are linked to the total amount of ETH “staked” on the network. Those who had funds at the beginning of the call obtain an annual rate equivalent to 21.6%. As more validators have come in, the figure has dropped, and the current annual return is around 8%.
The activation of the Beacon Chain, a validator registry network that temporarily operates in parallel with the Ethereum network, occurred in late 2020. That was the first step on a long road to going from a Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus to a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) one. The first is based on computing power and electrical energy, while the second is based on capital and software.
By Alexander Salazar