Ethereum Essentials: Node Nuances

Quick Take

  • In order to be an active block and transaction verifying participant in the Ethereum network (a majority of dapps, miners, Infura, etc.), the disk size required to run a full node currently sits at ~130 – 150GB
  • The growth in Ethereum’s chain size is well known (+200% Y/Y), however the size itself isn’t the only friction, as fully synced nodes require constant cryptographic-linked verification in order to confirm transactions.
  • The cost to run a full node will vary dramatically across an end-user. For many, users can run a full node on AWS for anywhere from $50-$100 a month, or even a local instance (~300 GB of SSD) for as low as ~$30/month.
  • Considering the rapid decline in active Ethereum nodes (down ~66% since the start of 2018), the costs of minimizing trust may be getting too high for the average active network participant.

This report, with the help of the TokenAnalyst team, is an indirect follow-up to our recent Infura piece, exploring the costs to run nodes for various users in the Ethereum ecosystem and how the cost tradeoffs impact trust.

What is an Ethereum full node, and which users run one?
One of the bigger points of confusion surrounding Ethereum is the distinction between ‘full nodes’ and ‘archive nodes’.