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Ethereum co-founder Anthony Di Iorio, who last year announced he was stepping back from the cryptocurrency world, is back with a new product that he hopes will re-democratize blockchains. 

Di Iorio’s team has designed a gadget called Cube -- seven inches wide, high and long -- that can function as a node on blockchains like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Cardano. Nodes can take a lot of technical knowledge to assemble and operate, but Cube is meant to simplify the process. Di Iorio says it’s about as easy to install as a gaming console or WiFi router.

As blockchains’ usage has grown, so have requirements for power, technical expertise and cost to run nodes, and today most major blockchains are supported by a small number of large commercial operators. Cloud providers like Amazon Web Services and Infura hold a lot of sway. The idea of Cube is to facilitate individuals running their own blockchain networks -- something that harks back to the early days of the technology, when early adopters ran nodes with their home PCs. 

“It’s how we can empower individuals to be free and get away from the clutches of third parties," Di Iorio, who stepped back from new crypto projects last year due to safety concerns, said in an interview. 

Infura -- which is owned by another Ethereum co-founder, Joe Lubin -- recently announced plans to offer a decentralized option of its service, potentially letting non-corporate nodes participate.

Cube, expected to come out as soon as the latter part of next year, will be part of a gaming ecosystem called Andiami that Di Iorio is setting up. As soon as early 2023, his company Decentral Inc. will start selling player kits that are tentatively expected to cost between $500 and $5,000. Later, Decentral will launch a video game, which will use the kits and generate digital coins that users can pay to Cube operators for their work.

Worries about just a few parties holding a lot of sway over many blockchains have risen recently. After Ethereum completed its big Merge software upgrade in September, a handful of key players involved in ordering transactions on the networks have ended up with a lot of control, and with the ability to potentially censor transactions.

“The ‘faster’ and ‘higher performance’ a blockchain gets, the less possible it becomes for normal people to run nodes," said Christopher Bendiksen, an analyst at CoinShares. “This is the fundamental tradeoff between on-chain transaction (data) capacity and decentralization."

Decentral expects to make money on selling physical items like the Cubes and player kits. It doesn’t disclose whether or how large a share of the digital tokens to be used in the Cube ecosystem it will take for itself, Di Iorio said.

 

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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