Most of the world’s cryptocurrencies are decentralized in many ways. This is especially true when it comes to nodes and other entities which help protect networks. In the case of NEO, it seems one of its remaining points of failure caused a few issues last night.
NEO’s Network was Halted Thanks to one Node
It is always interesting to see how network nodes perform. As most networks have dozens if not hundreds or thousands of nodes, there should – in theory – never be any central point of failure. In the real world, however, that is not always the case. Virtually every currency has some form of node centralization problem, although it hardly ever causes any major issues.
In the case of NEO, that situation has been a bit different over the past few months. Most recently, the network came to a halt due to one of the network nodes crashing. More specifically, one of the consensus nodes was disconnected during the consensus process itself. Consequently, all the remaining nodes were waiting indefinitely for a reaction from this node.
Even after restarting the node in question, it did not become part of the consensus that was pending. This caused a delay of several hours until the NEO network started moving along again. It was a matter of restarting all nodes through a “forced changeview”, which shows how much centralized control there still is with NEO. This has been a known problem for some time now, although the team is actively working on further decentralizing this ecosystem as we speak.
It is evident this most recent issue has caused a lot of problems for NEO users. Unfortunately, there is very little to be done when things like this happen, as it is up to the developers to address these problems when they arise. There is nothing individual users can do, as the network’s consensus nodes are not operated by the users themselves as of right now. This will be addressed in the future, especially once KPN launches its network node for this ecosystem.
The fact that a single node can cripple the NEO ecosystem is not something most people will feel comfortable with whatsoever. However, everyone who does their homework before investing in cryptocurrencies will know NEO is far more centralized than most other cryptocurrencies out there. This is done by design until the network comes to fruition, at which point NEO will become highly decentralized, just like virtually any other cryptocurrency in the market.
A single point of failure is unacceptable in any blockchain system. Whether it is a consensus node, a mining pool, or another service which provides valuable services, centralization should never be present. Even Bitcoin does not escape this problem, although its centralization problem mainly involves mining pools all being located in the same countries. Additionally, a lot of Bitcoin network nodes are hosted on three major servers, which is anything but ideal.