According to crypto researcher Sooraj, the Cardano networking layer might be found to be eight times more decentralized than the networking layer of Ethereum. In a thread of tweets, Sooraj highlights how he arrived to this conclusion.
Currently, #Cardano has a MAV of 24, and #Ethereum has a MAV of 3— Sooraj (@Soorajksaju2) December 2, 2022
This shows that the #Cardano networking layer is eight times more decentralized than the networking layer of #Ethereum pic.twitter.com/KmJhb8zgNN
According to him, the decentralization of the validator nodes in a PoS blockchain is determined by the Nakamoto Coefficient, or MAV (minimum attack vector). MAV is the minimum number of independent parties needed to join together for a successful attack on the blockchain. Currently, Cardano has a MAV of 24, and Ethereum has a MAV of 3, which is an eightfold difference.
The mid-September Merge update, which ushered in the proof of stake transition, has recently put Ethereum decentralization under fresh scrutiny.
Decentralization of Cardano and Ethereum compared
According to Sooraj, validators are network nodes that operate in proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchains by validating transaction blocks on the blockchain. This definition fits all other blockchains except for Ethereum.
In Ethereum's case, there are two types of nodes: nodes that can propose blocks and nodes that cannot. Nodes that propose blocks are only a small percentage of the total nodes on Ethereum, which also includes validator nodes.
The other nodes on the network, which form the majority, do not propose blocks, but they still serve a critical role in securing the network by holding all block proposers accountable by listening for new blocks and verifying their validity on arrival.
Based on this, there are two entities: validator nodes and attestors. What happens on the Ethereum networking layer is summarized thus: the stake is supplied to the validator nodes by attestors, while the validator nodes create and validate blocks.
Attestors simply agree on the order of transactions. Currently, 480,000 attestations are happening on Ethereum; these numbers do not imply the number of validators, Sooraj stated.
The total number of validator nodes on the Ethereum blockchain can be obtained from the Etherscan node tracker and stands at 7,554 nodes at press time. Cardano, on the other hand, has 3,200 nodes.
However, the decentralization of the validator nodes as calculated by MAV might suggest Cardano outperforms Ethereum in this metric by almost 8x.