ADA Ocean Australia is Live!

ADA Ocean Australia has officially released our first pool with the ticker AOAUS. This is an exciting step for us as it officially announces our engagement with the Cardano community and also establishes our presence physically on the Cardano network. We believe this is an important step for Cardano as it further decentralises the network physically and also within the community.

One of the issues with the Cardano network at present is that while there are a number of relay nodes in Australia, there is an exceptionally low number of block producing servers in Australia. While the Cardano network is relatively decentralised, there seems to be a huge chunk of servers in the United States.

To demonstrate my point, here are the facts. The United States runs 30% of the relay nodes, 22% in Germany, 7% in the United Kingdom, and 6% in the Netherlands. The rest of the countries sit below 5% with Australia at just 2.5%. * as of 24th August 2020.

 United States60330.2255639
 United Kingdom1437.1679198
 South Korea321.60401003

This has two issues. The first is that two countries have 52% of all the relay nodes. Which means that two countries are running half the network. This in itself could be considered a long-term problem if precautions aren’t taken.

Cardano Node Locations

If you look at the map above, you’ll notice that there are big red circles. Those are the areas that have the most server activity. As you can see, it’s very clustered. In theory, it would be possible for those locations to have issues, such as country wide internet failures, natural disasters or even political restrictions.

The second issue is, the above-mentioned issue is related to relay nodes only. As it stands, we don’t truly know where the block producing servers are located as they hide behind the relay nodes. From a strategic point of view, it makes sense that the block producing nodes are most likely in the same countries as the relay node. There may be some bigger pools that have multiple relay nodes in several countries, but ultimately there can only be 1 block producing server per pool. Those pools are most likely going to be where the relay clusters are, which means that 52% of the block producing nodes are going to produce blocks in 2 out of the 49 countries. *This assumes that all nodes have an equal chance of producing a block. In reality, this is very different.

This leaves us with the extremely rare, but possible circumstance that in the event these two countries have Cardano network issues, that would mean that the remaining countries would be left to pick up the slack.

Is the network ready for this? At this point, yes. There isn’t much traffic at the moment as long as the remaining 48% are running smoothly. What could be a long-term issue is the trend of larger pools being clustered in these two countries. There’s a very good chance that the other 48% are small pools which may not have a long-term plan of operating.

This is why staking to a lot of the smaller pools is essential as we need to encourage decentralisation. While Cardano is designed to encourage decentralisation on a software level, this doesn’t appear to be happening on a physical level.

In summary, while the Cardano team has done an exceptional job and what they have achieved is amazing, the Cardano “community” needs to consider that we need to also encourage decentralisation on the physical level.

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