The developers behind the Ethereum node project, Akula, have decided to shut down the project because they cannot compete with a newly announced rival project that has similar features and is run by a well-known crypto VC firm.
Giant Paradigm project precedence flushes out modest Akula project
Ethereum core developer Artem Vorotnikov announced on Twitter Wednesday that the Ethereum node project Akula will be brought to a close. He tweeted, “Sadly, we cannot outcompete multibillion VCs who copy-paste our architecture and code,” The project developers will no longer maintain or run the project. Still, the code remains available because it’s open source.
This announcement hinted at the emergence of an identical node client by a team with access to better funding, despite Vorotnikov not giving out the project’s name. The rival project is believed to be Reth, a Rust-based Ethereum client run by the crypto VC outfit Paradigm.
Vorotnikov even shared screenshots showing Paradigm’s CTO Georgios Konstantopoulos inquiring into Project Akula with highly detailed questions. Vorotnikov, amid his responses, had asked what Paradigm was building but received no response.
After this conversation, the developers of Akula discovered Paradigm was indeed working on its project. Figuring they stood no chance against this competitor that would quickly and easily match and surpass them, they decided to stop working on Akula.
Vorotnikov, in his announcement on Twitter, said, “We do not see how Akula will be able to attract future funding from grants (and this is how it is funded now), and consequently, it does not make sense to spend our scarce resources on it,” He also added, that he will take a step back from Ethereum development for the foreseeable future.
After Akula’s white flag announcement, Georgios Konstantopoulos, the Chief Technical Officer of Reth, announced Reth and provided core details about it. However, he stated Reth is not a copy or a rewrite of any other client implementation and instead, Reth “stands on the shoulders of giants including Geth, Erigon and Akula.”
Akula’s progress over the year
Akula project, which started the last year, 2021, is a high-performance Ethereum client written in Rust whose most of the initial building blocks had to be written from scratch practically by just Artem Vorotnikov.
Ethereum clients are software applications that allow nodes to read blocks on the network and interact with smart contracts. Vorotnikov began building the project as an open-source client implementation in 2021 with a small team of developers.
Akula’s small team, along with some other developers that later joined the project, moved on to build EVM implementation, bindings for the embedded database MDBX, fast RLP library, entire devp2p implementation, downloader for blocks and headers, and computation of the state root to be in a similar fashion to Erigon.
All these done in little over a year is commendable progress, and it is quite understandable that Akula cannot move on because it needs more support at this stage of its development than ever. Akula is still fragile to stand against the advent of a bigger, more popular, and well-funded rival.
Despite the developers leaving the management of the project and technology transfer, the Akula project remains public and open-source, so anyone can fork it and continue its development.