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Just a little under four years ago, Cloudflare announced its first tryst with Web3 with its gateway to the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS). This was followed up by the announcement of its experimental Ethereum Gateway. Now, Cloudflare has announced the commencement of its next set of experiments, helping new technologies achieve stability and maturity.
A New Series Of Experiments
Now that the initial series of Web3 experiments have drawn to a close, Cloudflare has launched a new series of experiments that would be focusing on solving the environmental and scaling challenges that plague modern blockchain technology. Over the past couple of years, there has been significant growth in the use of underlying technologies powering Web3. While this has been a catalyst for start-ups, there have been some negative consequences, especially for the environment.
The Problem With Proof-of-Work
Cloudflare has underlined its commitment to building a better internet and addressing blockchain technology’s impact. While blockchain technologies such as Proof-of-Work have been at the forefront of getting the Web3 ecosystem started, they have had a profound impact on the environment. Proof-of-Work also does not scale well and cannot keep up with the usage that we are currently seeing. Add to this the fact that Proof-of-Work networks are extremely wasteful and electricity-intensive.
This inefficiency of Proof-of-Work was, by design, guaranteeing the security of the blockchain. While the use of blockchain was low, this was considered as an acceptable tradeoff for security; however, as usage has registered a significant increase, scaling needs to keep up.
Web3 As A Catalyst
Until recently, Web3 had not gained much traction and was often described as an up-and-coming ecosystem dwarfed by the traditional internet traffic. However, this reality has now changed, with traffic to Bitcoin and Ethereum networks surging. With the emergence of technologies such as Smart contracts, DeFi, NFTs, and DAOs have become a critical part of the developer community. There is also the emergence of next-generation blockchains such as Solana, Avalanche, Polygon, and Flow.
Cloudflare To Support Development Of Ethereum
As the Ethereum community approaches the transaction from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake, Cloudflare will begin to launch and fully stake Ethereum validator nodes on the Cloudflare Global Network, embracing the Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism. The nodes will fulfill a critical role as a testing ground for research on energy efficiency, network speed, and consistency management. Running Proof-of-Stake validator nodes on the Cloudflare Global Network will allow Cloudflare to support the development and deployment of Ethereum.
Running validator nodes on Cloudflare will allow Cloudflare to offer more geographic decentralization, especially in places such as LATAM, EMEA, and APJC. This will ensure that the network remains outage resistant, secure and bring it closer to its goal of achieving decentralization for all.
Won’t Run Its Own Infrastructure
Cloudflare believes that running Ethereum validator nodes on its network allows it to help with research and experiment with scaling the next generation of blockchain networks. As part of the experiments, Cloudflare has also affirmed that it would not be running its own Proof-of-Work infrastructure on the Cloudflare network.
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