Ethereum Exceeds 1 Million Validators! What are the risks?

The Ethereum network has reached a new milestone, with over one million validators now securing the blockchain, representing around 26% of the total ETH supply. While this growing number of validators strengthens the network’s security, some members of the community are questioning the potential challenges associated with an overabundance of validators.

Ethereum network reaches one million validators

According to statistics provided by Dune Analytics, a platform for tracking the progress of staking on Ethereum: on March 28, 2024, the network reached a record, with over one million active validators. These validators collectively staked 32 million ETH, which equivalent to around $114 billion and accounts for more than a quarter of total ETH supply.

This achievement highlights the considerable community confidence and commitment to the proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus model adopted by Ethereum.

Validators play a crucial role in maintaining the security of Ethereum. They are responsible for monitoring the network, proposing and validating transactions, and detecting any malicious activity, such as double-spending. To become an Ethereum validator, you need to stake 32 ETH. In exchange for their contribution, validators receive rewards in the form of a share of ETH share. A share that they can restock or keep safely on a hardware wallet, such as the one from our partner D’Cent.

Among the staking options available, Lido stands out, representing around 30% of staked ETH. This platform allows holders of smaller amounts of ETH to pool their assets to participate in the staking process. The popularity of Lido is explained by its ability to democratize access to staking, thus offering a more significant number of users to contribute to network security Ethereum.

High number of validators raises concerns in the Ethereum community

Although more validators generally improve blockchain security, some members of the Ethereum community express concern about potential problems arising from an excessive number of validators.

Evan Van Ness, a venture capitalist and Ethereum advocate, suggests that there may already be “too much” at stake. Gabriel Weide, a staking pool operator warns that an abundance of validators could lead to an increase in “failed transactions”.

Faced with the challenges posed by the growing number of validators, the co-founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, recently proposed a mechanism to improve network decentralization. In a blog post published on March 27, Buterin suggests penalizing validators proportionally with their failure rate average.

Thus, if many validators fail in a given slot, the penalties for each failure will be higher. This approach could potentially reduce the advantage of large ETH stakers over smaller ones, thus promoting a better distribution of power within the network.

Alongside this encouraging news, the Ethereum community was recently hit by some bad news: the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has opened an investigation about the Ethereum Foundation, as part of its ruling on applications for approval of Ether ETFs (ETHs) filed by major financial institutions such as BlackRock and Fidelity.