Decentralized Infura Approaches Launch, Consensys In Talks With Web2 Firms

Decentralized Infura Approaches Launch, Consensys In Talks With Web2 Firms

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ConsenSys, the leading blockchain technology company, is preparing to introduce a decentralized version of Infura by the close of this year, a move that could significantly reshape the way Web3 applications access blockchain data.

The plan to create a decentralized version of Infura was first announced a year ago. Infura stands as the primary gateway for a multitude of DApps (decentralized applications) to fetch real-time on-chain information from the Ethereum blockchain.

However, concerns that with its exclusive control under ConsenSys, Infura's decentralization may represent a solitary point of failure. This was manifestly evident in November 2020 when the MetaMask wallet became non-functional due to an Infura outage, causing disruptions for centralized exchanges and various DeFi projects. Additionally, Infura drew criticism for adhering to U.S. sanctions against Tornado Cash, although its hands were tied being a U.S.-based entity.

Redefining Open Infrastructure

ConsenSys's chief strategist, Simon Morris, highlighted these plans during the Korea Blockchain Week. He detailed a "federated phase", a tentative six-month trial phase with the network remaining under centralized governance.

“We’re looking to launch something later this year, but then there’s going to be what they call a federated phase that they’re expecting to like to last of the order of six months [...]

The revamped infrastructure will comprise a decentralized marketplace, hosting up to five diverse data providers from various global locations. Consequently, Infura would transition to being merely one of several network providers. This decentralization is aimed at enhancing Ethereum's accessibility, making it more robust against potential censorships and reliant on multiple data sources. Morris explains:

“If you have different people setting up their infrastructure in different ways on different cloud providers using different node software, then you can start to build antifragility into [the system].”

This new framework strives to emulate a TCP/IP-like design that stands immune to regulation, fostering a new Web3 architecture. Harris emphasized the goal to catalyze a paradigm shift.

Consensys is pithy with its disclosures, but it was implied thatboth crypto native corporations and major Web2 cloud service providers have already expressed interest in joining this initiative, although confirmations about giants like Google Cloud or AWS being involved remain absent.

"There's interest from both of them [Web2 and Web3 providers]... they kind of see this as a novel, kind of potential source of a huge amount of business in the future," Morris shares.

The initial "federated stage" is considered pivotal to identify and rectify potential flaws while retaining centralized oversight. By 2024, expectations lean towards transitioning to a permissionless marketplace for data providers. This step towards decentralization is vital, as Web3 wallets such as MetaMask heavily depend on Infura. A single judicial order can potentially shut down monopolistic data providers, posing significant challenges. As for governance, options on the table include either a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) or a designated foundation.

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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