Coinbase supports Nethermind and Erigon to ease Geth dependency

Coinbase plans to support additional execution clients as America’s largest crypto platform aims to improve the Ethereum blockchain’s resilience and mitigate the risks associated with the network’s heavy reliance on a single client.

As detailed in a Coinbase Cloud blog post, the initiative involves adding support for Nethermind and Erigon execution clients in order to diversify the execution layer within Coinbase’s Ethereum staking nodes.

The Ethereum network has traditionally seen a significant concentration of users operating the Geth execution client, which accounts for 74% of the network’s client usage. In contrast, Nethermind and Erigon represent 13% and 3%, respectively, with Besu covering another 9%.

The dependency on Geth has raised concerns within the Ethereum community, particularly after a recent bug in Nethermind temporarily disabled about 8% of the network’s validators. The incident highlights the potential vulnerabilities stemming from a lack of client diversity.

Coinbase said it recognizes the critical nature of this issue, and thus is addressing it head-on. The exchange disclosed that it was evaluating alternative execution clients and promised to share its findings and future plans by the end of February.

True to its word, Coinbase has now outlined a plan to reduce its reliance on Geth by migrating roughly half of its validators to Nethermind within the next month. The long-term goal is to achieve an even distribution of validators across Geth, Nethermind, and Erigon.

Coinbase experienced yesterday what it termed “degraded performance,” with many users reporting their accounts showed a balance of $0. This happened as Bitcoin’s price spiked to nearly $64,000, causing major disruptions for users of Coinbase and Robinhood.

However, the crypto exchange assured users that their assets were secure despite the alarming display errors. “We are aware that some users may see a zero balance across their Coinbase accounts and may experience errors in buying or selling,” a statement on Coinbase’s status page read.