- Infura acts as key infrastructure for the Ethereum network. Infura’s crash caused problems for users on Binance, Metamask. and other popular apps.
- Some have suggested that the issue highlights an overreliance on ConsenSys-backed Infura project.
- Running a full Ethereum node is one solution for supporters of the blockchain to achieve true decentralization.
Share this article
This morning’s Infura outage has highlighted some of Ethereum’s most widely-discussed flaws, reigniting discussions around the true meaning of decentralization.
Why Infura’s Outage Was a Problem
Infura is one of Ethereum’s principal infrastructure providers. This means that it contributes full nodes to the network, which exchanges and apps like MetaMask run on.
While it’s undoubtedly more convenient for such apps to use Infura rather than running their own node, it’s hard to escape the fact that they’re essentially relying on another party. The service is primarily backed by ConSenSys, the blockchain software company run by Ethereum co-founder Joe Lubin.
Problems arose due to a bug in Geth, an Ethereum client. When Ethereum’s core developers fixed the bug, the change caused anyone running an older version of Geth to split into a minority fork. As a result of this, some apps failed to show accurate data.
Transactions failed, and exchanges like Binance opted to halt all ETH and ERC-20 transactions. The Ethereum Foundation’s security lead Martin Swende gave a rundown of what happened on Twitter earlier today:
Older geth-versions contained consensus-flaw(s) which were hit today on mainnet. The “change introduced” was actually fixing those issue(s). This is a reminder to keep your node(s) up to date! https://t.co/oZatRUgENS
— M H (((Swende))) (@mhswende) November 11, 2020
Outage Sparks Community Debate
Though the issue was quickly resolved, it sparked a furious debate over Ethereum’s level of decentralization.
Some have raised questions…