Ethereum Infrastructure Developer Infura Is Decentralizing, Protocol to Launch Next Year

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Ethereum engineering firm Infura is creating a Decentralized Infrastructure Network to launch sometime next year, the firm announced Friday at the ETHBerlin hackathon.

The network’s working title is the “Decentralized Infrastructure Network.” According to a statement, this new network will provide “millions of future users” access to Web3 products “without outages and downtime due to a single point of failure.”

Infura provides backend infrastructure for Web3 companies to launch their products. It offers businesses a way to connect to blockchains like Ethereum without having to run their own nodes. As it gains more customers, Web3 as a whole becomes more centralized as firms run their projects through Infura. 

Back in 2019, Infura said decentralization could be achieved if every person ran their own node. Now, the company’s Decentralized Infrastructure Network could be an alternate solution.

Infura co-founder E.G. Galano told Decrypt in an interview that he doesn’t want Web3 to be reliant on just one or a few infrastructure providers like Infura. 

“As time goes on, the blockchain grows and grows, [and] it becomes more difficult for people to run their own infrastructure,” Galano said. “So you could fast forward in time, however many years and say, will it only be Infura? Will it only be a handful of entities like Infura? And that didn’t feel like the right thing.”

While the “Decentralized Infrastructure Network” doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, the name will likely change over time.

“We’ll have to pick a better name for it,” Galano said, adding that the company is “pretty straightforward” when it comes to naming new products (Infura itself means “infrastructure” in Japanese).

And the recent Ethereum merge—which happened earlier this week and moved the blockchain from proof of work to proof of stake—is just coincidental timing.

Galano said that Infura first began working on this initiative in 2017, dabbling in research for the network on and off over the last five years. “Because of our day-to-day operational needs of serving MetaMask users and all developers building on Infura, we couldn’t put the amount of time and effort into this research it needed,” he said.

Now, the network is ready to move forward with its next development stage: engineering the protocol (or code) that will underpin the network.

Infura is a part of ConsenSys, the Ethereum software company led by CEO and Ethereum co-founder Joe Lubin. In a statement, Lubin said decentralization is the “overarching goal” of ConsenSys and that Infura’s new network will be “the natural continuation of that goal.”

ConsenSys also owns the popular crypto wallet MetaMask and launched crypto products CodeFi, Diligence, Quorum, ConsenSys NFT, Truffle, and others in addition to Infura. (Disclosure: ConsenSys Mesh, a separate entity, is an investor in Decrypt.)

But with so many Web3 products under one roof and a traditional corporate top-down structure, ConsenSys isn’t as decentralized as it could be.

“We’re not a DAO, or a bunch of contractors,” Galano said. “But as an ethos, ConsenSys has always believed in decentralization and has tried to put that into the DNA of its products.” 

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