Q&A With Ripple’s David Schwartz on XRPL Roadmap

Bradley Keoun

ETHEREUM’S DIVERSITY PROBLEM. In the blockchain tech context, “client diversity” refers to the goal of having multiple software programs – known as “clients” – available for node operators and validators to access networks; as the thinking goes, if one of these clients goes down, due to a bug or some other mishap, there are plenty of other clients that would remain largely unaffected, preserving the blockchain’s uptime. Ethereum’s problem, based on a debate that erupted on the social-media platform X over the past few days, is that it’s heavily reliant on the client software Geth, which powers around 85% of the blockchain’s validators. As our Sam Kessler reported this week, a bug on the “minority” client software Nethermind, which powers around 8% of the validators that operate Ethereum, knocked out a chunk of those operators on Sunday. Since the share was relatively small, the blockchain kept running as designed. But some experts took the opportunity to point out how bad things could have gotten if Geth had gone out. Cygaar, a crypto educator, noted in an X post that “Ethereum has terrible client diversity,” adding that, “A critical issue in Geth can lead to potentially millions of ETH being destroyed from validators running Geth.” DCinvestor, a pseudonymous crypto investor with a large social media following, claimed in an X post that they were pulling their staked funds from Coinbase until the company switches its validator operations to a system that relies less on the Geth client: “I can’t ignore the risks.” Per the website, ClientDiversity.org, which billboards the mantra, “Diversify Now,” the goal is for no individual client software to have more than a 33% market share.

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