Coinbase confronts client diversity risk following Nethermind bug

Ethereum’s Nethermind client software saw a bug that pulled validators offline


Artwork by Crystal Le


Coinbase is looking into ways to address client diversity concerns following an outage that affected 8% of Ethereum validators. 

Ethereum’s Nethermind client software — a tool that is used to connect validators with blockchain networks — saw a bug that pulled validators offline. 

Although the bug was resolved within four hours, concerns about client centralization on Ethereum began to surface. 

Specifically, users flagged that if client software Geth — Ethereum’s most popular execution client used by 84% of validators — were to shut down, then Ethereum itself would stop finalizing. 

Read more: Liquid Collective pitches efficiency standards for Ethereum validators

“When a minority client fails, the penalty is losing [ether] ETH at the same rate as you gained it, but if Geth fails because it instantly stops the chain from finalizing, the penalty is much harsher,” Labrys, a Web3 development company in Australia, wrote in a post on X. 

Coinbase Cloud nodes currently rely solely on client software Geth, as does Binance and Kraken. Following urging from community members, a Coinbase Cloud spokesperson told Blockworks that Coinbase is actively assessing alternative execution clients.

“We believe that client diversity helps the health of the Ethereum network. As industry leaders, we are committed to helping our customers participate in the crypto-economy safely and securely,” a Coinbase spokesperson said.

They note that, to date, Geth has been the only execution layer client software that has met its technical requirements.

Read more: Parallelized EVMs are gaining popularity, but they won’t scale blockchains alone

“Many other operators on the network have reached the same conclusion, which is part of the reason why 84% of Ethereum validators run Geth. However, the tide is turning,” Coinbase Cloud wrote in a post on X.

It added that “alternative execution clients have come a long way, and so we are conducting an updated technical assessment with the goal of adding another execution client to our infrastructure.” 

It is expected that Coinbase will share an update on alternative execution client solutions in late February.

Start your day with top crypto insights from David Canellis and Katherine Ross. Subscribe to the Empire newsletter.

Explore the growing intersection between crypto, macroeconomics, policy and finance with Ben Strack, Casey Wagner and Felix Jauvin. Subscribe to the On the Margin newsletter.

The Lightspeed newsletter is all things Solana, in your inbox, every day. Subscribe to daily Solana news from Jack Kubinec and Jeff Albus.


Upcoming Events

Salt Lake City, UT

MON - TUES, OCT. 7 - 8, 2024

Blockworks and Bankless in collaboration with buidlbox are excited to announce the second installment of the Permissionless Hackathon – taking place October 7-8 in Salt Lake City, Utah. We’ve partnered with buidlbox to bring together the brightest minds in crypto for […]

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research



Aerodrome is a "MetaDEX" that combines elements of various DEX primitives such as Uniswap V2 and V3, Curve, Convex, and Votium. Since its launch on Base, it has become the largest protocol by TVL with more than $495M in value locked, doubling Uniswap's Base deployment.


Also, former Valkyrie CEO lands new leadership role at Canadian investment firm Cypherpunk Holdings


This week’s biggest funding round saw Jump Trading, JPMorgan contribute to the round


Plus, a layer-1 for intellectual property is launching and Farcaster users peaked


Crypto still hasn’t shaken one of its most garish primordial tails — funny stories about fraud


Plus, publicly traded crypto companies had a pretty eventful news week


Committee members directed more questions to Christy Goldsmith Romero, who could soon be leading one of the more troubled federal agencies