Microsoft, Tencent and 16 other major Web2 companies have joined forces with Consensys to help decentralize the Infura network. Infura plays a crucial access point to Ethereum for a significant portion of the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector.
The Infura network is widely leveraged by Web3 platforms, making it crucial in preventing outages in services such as the MetaMask wallet. The partnership will launch its highly decentralized version, the Decentralized Infura Network (DIN), in Q4.
Consensys senior product manager Andrew Breslin highlighted that the partnerships’ significance was not just about the companies involved but also about major firms joining Infura to decentralize all parts of the blockchain infrastructure stack.
“The cost and complexity involved with running a service like Infura was kind of limiting in terms of who we could partner with to serve this traffic,” said Breslin. “Now there’s this huge flourishing ecosystem of Web3 infrastructure providers that can provide a service that’s complimentary to Infura.”
Breslin explained that one of DIN’s primary initial features would be “failover support” for Ethereum and Polygon networks. This support allows traffic to be redirected to one or more DIN partners during an outage, ensuring better uptime rates.
“If we’re experiencing conditions where the service is suffering for the end user, we have routing in place for failover,” said Thomas Hay, the lead product manager for Infura. If Infura’s blockchain nodes go offline, “requests are then able to move to a partner who has been vetted through a series of load and quality assurance tests.”
When launched, the DIN will provide more dependable and censorship-resistant access to Ethereum for decentralized applications (DApps). It removes dependency on a single service provider located in a single location.
“Infura, alongside our partners, is pushing the boundaries of decentralization. We’re making a significant stride in the development of the Decentralized Infrastructure Network (DIN), Read the two-part series,” Infura said in a social media post.
Created by the blockchain software leader Consensys, Infura provides a development suite offering API access to Ethereum and IPFS networks. At present, Infura functions as the primary access point for many DApps to retrieve real-time on-chain data from the Ethereum blockchain.
In November 2020, the centralization problem became apparent when the MetaMask wallet experienced an outage caused by a temporary issue with Infura. This downtime also impacted various centralized exchanges and DeFi projects.
Decentralizing blockchain data providers within the Infura network is crucial for long-term censorship resistance. Currently, centralized data providers can be shut down easily with a well-planned attack or enough legal action.
In addressing the recently revealed partners, Breslin explained that the current group isn’t final. He emphasized Infura’s openness to other dependable internet infrastructure providers, inviting them to join the DIN, too.
“The success of DIN is reliant on us collaborating with more and more operators over time,” Breslin said.
The new group of companies is collaborating with Infura during what Breslin referred to as the “federated phase” of the DIN. This phase is a temporary trial period where the network stays centralized.
“Infura and these 18 partners are now participating in this federated phase of DIN, which means that we work as equal partners,” said Breslin.
In the future, Breslin expressed that the DIN should ideally be governed as a decentralized autonomous organization or a similar governance structure. This setup would ensure that every partner has a democratically significant voice in determining the network’s direction.
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