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The University of Edinburgh and IOG introduce the Edinburgh Decentralization Index

18 November 2022 Ivan Irakoze 2 mins read

The University of Edinburgh and IOG introduce the Edinburgh Decentralization Index

Networks are often structured as centralized, distributed, or decentralized. A decentralized network’s security increases as the number of participants increases. The same outcome cannot be achieved on centralized or distributed networks.

With most blockchains claiming to be decentralized, it is hard to determine each claim’s validity. Any assertion of decentralization remains highly subjective.

Can a blockchain be truly decentralized if a minority of its validators is responsible for mining or minting a majority of blocks? What qualifies as decentralization? What quantifiable standard of decentralization can be deemed objective?

This is where the Edinburgh Decentralization Index (EDI) comes into play, an initiative that aims to play a pivotal role in determining a blockchain’s true decentralization. This article explains the EDI’s importance, design, and significance in the blockchain space.

Why the Edinburgh Decentralization Index will exist

Decentralization is often used as a buzzword with little grounding in verifiable facts, so quantifying the decentralization of blockchain systems requires a structured approach.

Today, the University of Edinburgh (UoE) and Input Output Global (IOG) launches the research project on defining and measuring decentralization.

The EDI will provide a standard of measurable decentralization for the blockchain industry. Adopting the EDI could educate governments’ opinion of cryptocurrencies.

The EDI has many possible use cases. It could be adopted by governments as part of a wider crypto regulatory framework, allowing users and organizations to determine a chain’s decentralization with more certainty.

How is the EDI designed?

The index is being designed by a collaborative, interdisciplinary team of senior researchers and developers. The team works within the UoE’s Blockchain Technology Laboratory (BLT), supervised by Dr. Daniel Woods, lecturer in Cybersecurity at UoE’s School of Informatics, and Prof Aggelos Kiayias, chief scientist at IOG and UoE’s Chair in Cybersecurity and Privacy.

The EDI will create a unified framework capable of evaluating degrees of decentralization, and is applicable to data extracted from Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, and other chains. The index measures a chain’s decentralization across multiple layers, including:

  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Network
  • Consensus mechanism
  • Tokenomics
  • API
  • Governance
  • Validators’ geographic distribution

The research paper outlining the EDI’s framework can be accessed here.

IOG prioritizes blockchain research

IOG’s work is built on the foundation of academic research. This work is carried out through an expansive research network, several academic associations, and a team of 26 scientists, professors, research scientists, and research engineers.

Read about how IOG’s research spans the academic world to understand what makes IOG a leading blockchain infrastructure and engineering company.