The Run A Node Grants Round wanted to reach different users exploring blockchain, learning, community efforts, and research purposes. The aim of this round was to encourage the exploration of a diverse range of ideas for operating nodes beyond running a validator, such as facilitating data queries for research, examining node performance under severe conditions, or enhancing node UX. Applicants had the option to select a Dappnode or provide specs to receive a stipend for a custom build.
We received a total of 243 applications. Out of all the applications we evaluated, we selected 35 recipients from 23 different countries to receive support to run nodes. Eligibility requirements for this round included that applicants must have fast, stable internet connections with high data thresholds, must be able to demonstrate technical competency of nodes and clients, and must be willing and able to run the node for at least 2 years. In our evaluation, we prioritized unique proposals from geographically diverse regions, as well as student blockchain clubs and academic institutions.
The graphs below show a distribution of awarded grants by location and a breakdown of awarded node type:
Here is a short description of each project running a node from the proactive grants round.
ETHKL – Malaysia: Using the node to bootstrap the Ethereum Kuala Lumpur community with the knowledge as well as hardware capabilities to run a full Ethereum node. Members gain hands-on experience in maintaining a node, not limited to downtime, hardware troubleshooting, pruning, and more. Node provides a secure and free community RPC endpoint and serve as a testing ground for university students to learn about blockchain.
SDSU Distributed System Security Lab – United States: Over the past four years, the research team has been working on discovering and mitigating vulnerabilities and DoS attacks in the Ethereum network through research that relies on running an Ethereum node.
FranklinDAO / Penn Blockchain – United States: Running a node to provide an easily accessible API to the blockchain for developers and researchers at FranklinDAO – a student-run organization promoting blockchain adoption at University of Pennsylvania.
Web3Bridge – Nigeria: Web3Bridge is a program created in 2019 to train web3 developers in Africa, emphasizing education and skill development as a primary focus of their work. With this node, they offer a practical learning experience for those interested in blockchain technology, building technical skills and cultivating a local talent pool, driving innovation and community growth in Africa.
Champagnat University – Argentina: Champagnat University, through its Faculty of Informatics, will use the nodes for collaborative research and development; education in the form of workshops, trainings, and seminars for students; and documentation of best practices and node operation.
Solo Operator – Brazil: Backend software engineer who is using the node to conduct ongoing research around aspects of validator privacy and Lighthouse consensus code.
Solo Operator – Hong Kong: As an experienced node operator across multiple clients, they plan to contribute to the Ethereum community by utilizing the node to explore on-chain data, make it more transparent, and conduct ongoing research on MEV and node implementation.
SpaghettETH – Italy: SpaghettETH’s motivations behind running an Ethereum node lie in supporting a decentralized and open financial system, exploring opportunities for innovation, and participating (more) in the thriving Ethereum ecosystem. They will use this node to start a “run a node” campaign in Italy and later promote the practice to other local communities. They also aim to create Italian guides on how to set up and run a node to be distributed through social media, zines, and at in-person events.
Solo Operator – China: This node helps in retrieving, storing, and sharing blob data after EIP-4844 as part of the BlobStar project, which is committed to the perpetual storage of Ethereum’s blob data and furnishing convenient access points for others to retrieve this information. It will also be run on Reth in order to gain invaluable insights into the workings of the Ethereum network, provide opportunities to sync data and perform benchmarking, and unveil potential areas for enhancement in the Reth codebase that will improve its performance, resilience, and user-friendliness.
Stanford University, MIT – United States: This research group performs full-stack consensus and blockchain research for the Ethereum ecosystem. By running their own node, they will have permanent infrastructure for fast access to the full blockchain archival data of both consensus and execution clients and be able to provide access to other academics.
Solo Operator – India: Run by a systems security engineer, this node aims to investigate potential exploits by looking at RPC calls, examining how exploits can be addressed and mitigated without requiring each whitehat/auditor to operate their own node for privacy’s sake.
Solo Operator – Taiwan: Located between Taiwan and Canada, this node will be used by a developer relations expert to produce and share engaging educational content for those interested in remotely running a node.
CENFOTEC University Foundation – Costa Rica: Researchers at Universidad CENFOTEC will use this node to help Costa Rican universities and innovators engage in the Ethereum community. Projects include educational material, formation of university blockchain groups, data collection and research across different clients, development of data analytics, economic models, dashboards, and other visualizations.
Solo Operators – Singapore: A cryptography researcher and an expert in formal verification duo built a custom node in order to prepare and distribute research datasets, provide Ethereum RPC endpoint for ourselves and others in our local community, test non-standard hardware (Synology NAS) for running an Ethereum node. They will publish their experience with running a node on a Synology, including stats on running a node on a Synology (CPU load, RAM consumption, storage requirements, thermals, etc).
Ponkila Oy – Finland: One of the only nodes in Northern Finland and one of the most northern nodes globally, this node will be used to research infrastructure internetworking—specifically, NFS and other host-client storage and compute solutions over SFP+ links— and homestaking UX through maintenance of HomestakerOS.
Cochin University of Science and Technology – India: Node launched at the incubation center in Cochin University of Science & Technology and operated by students to support student research. They are using this node to make modules for privacy RPC, providing a way to test the system by exposing the endpoints and customizing the system.
Purdue University – United States: The Purdue University blockchain club will use this node to educate students on decentralized systems and web3 architecture, with the aims of running a full validator node for the Beacon chain.
Cryptoversidad – Mexico: This node will be used to increase network diversity, create high quality workshops and live sessions on network decentralization and security in Spanish, and share knowledge with the Mexico community through blog posts and open-source contributions, helping others who may be interested in running their own nodes.
Solo Operator – Argentina: As a member of SeedLatam and Ethernaut DAO, this node will be used in Argentina for educational purposes to create a Spanish guide on node set up, impact, and the importance of maintaining nodes as public goods. This node will also be used by senior Solidity developers in EthernautDAO to query indexed data.
Solo Operator – Nigeria: Operated by a protocol engineer for Nethermind, this node will contribute to significant projects like Juno, Starknet’s fastest syncing node, and Voyager, Starknet’s top Block Explorer. This operator also intends to use the insights from operating this node for educational purposes to other engineers, working to demystify the working principles of Ethereum, its protocols and its infrastructure, to a wider audience and lowering the barriers to entry into this complex field.
Miga Labs – Spain: In collaboration with the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance, Miga Labs will use this node to measure the energy consumption of an Ethereum node with multiple EL clients and CL clients, in addition to the difference in energy consumption while running hundreds of validators in a test network environment, and present this data on a public dashboard showing the energy consumption of the entire Ethereum network. This research is valuable as we demonstrate the benefits of transitioning from PoW to PoS supported by energy consumption data.
101.CY – Cyprus: 101.CY is a Cyprus-based community of research and practice on emergent phenomena in digital culture and rights, information freedom and control, and in network geopolitics with a focus on European, Middle Eastern, and African perspectives. They are using this node to establish a local experimentation node, conduct hands-on research, and host a publicly accessible Ethereum RPC endpoint. In addition, they will release a guide for anyone who would like to operate an Ethereum node over anonymous networks.
SeedLatam – Argentina: The SeedLatam community plans to use this node to test different Ethereum clients and create a benchmarking dashboard comparing their performance and features, allow developers and researchers in the local community to query indexed data on our node for research purposes, offer custom RPC endpoints that the community can access publicly or privately hosted for specific users, and create a node setup guide to assist other first-time hosts in establishing their own nodes.
Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi- India: Researchers at IIIT Delhi will run this node in order to accelerate research on blockchain technology at Indian institutions. By operating this node at the university, researchers will encourage students to work on MEV, Intents, PBS, and other Ethereum core protocol domains, and actively contribute to infra-level research.
ETHKipu – Argentina: KipuStakers runs workshops, produces content, and wants to run tests around DVT aimed at empowering decentralization and node education in Latin America, while increasing nodes in geographically underrepresented areas. The primary goals of KipuStakers are to increase the number of (validator) nodes in Latin America, educate and create awareness about the importance of running nodes in Latin America, support local projects and communities, create new sources of income, and generate income (e.g. through our own LSD) to support ETHKipu initiatives.
Vanderbilt Blockchain – United States: Vanderbilt University’s student blockchain organization will use this node to start an educational cohort this year that will take students from little-to-no web3 knowledge to competent blockchain enthusiasts. They plan to launch this node, using a minority client, to have a hands-on example of what participation in a decentralized network looks like, going through the setup process together with the cohort.
TUM Blockchain Club – Germany: The TUM Blockchain Club, a student-run non-profit organization at the Technical University of Munich, will use this node to educate and onboard students at TUM. They plan to host dedicated workshops and hands-on sessions that will provide students with a tangible introduction to Ethereum, its workings, and a walk-through of the process of setting up and running Ethereum nodes. They will also use this node to test different clients and as a source of reliable data for students interested in blockchain analysis, allowing them to mine, analyze, and utilize Ethereum data for academic research and innovative projects.
Ethereum Guatemala – Guatemala: The Ethereum Guatemala community, in collaboration with La Universidad del Valle, will run this node to create educational material and academic studies on Ethereum nodes in Central America. Ethereum Guatemala’s aim as a community is to go beyond solely education, but continue to bolster the network’s resiliency and anti-fragility by running local nodes and validators.
Princeton Blockchain Club – United States: The Princeton Blockchain Club is Princeton University’s largest student-run blockchain hub, featuring over 200 undergrads, grads, and alums interested in the frontier of web3. They will run an archive node to help assist researchers in their community, contribute to the overall health of the Ethereum ecosystem by running minority consensus and execution clients, run a local block explorer, and provide an RPC endpoint and access to historical state data to our research teams and other groups on campus.
Oregon Blockchain Group – United States: The Oregon Blockchain Group is a student-run group at the University of Oregon that aims to introduce and educate university students about blockchain. They will use this node to educate students about how to run nodes, spread awareness about client updates and all core dev meetings, and develop infrastructure and tooling to maintain nodes.
ITU Blockchain – Turkey: ITU Blockchain Club, founded at Istanbul Technical University, with more than 2,500 members, will use this node for education purposes through the development of workshops and events that aim to teach people how to set up and run nodes, and why nodes are important for a decentralized network.
University College Dublin – Ireland: The UCD Maker Society at University College Dublin intends to use this node to strengthen the network’s decentralization, promote education and awareness of Ethereum, and foster innovative projects that leverage the Ethereum ecosystem. With the aim of turning University College Dublin into a hub for Ethereum research and education, hosting a local node is an integral part of ensuring that respective modules are not overly abstract, but give students a real sense of what the network is, how it is constituted, and the collaboration that undergirds it.
Solo Operator – Italy: This node will be used in a research project aimed at developing an implementation of a node with RPC endpoints exposed over the LoRa network. The vision is to provide connectivity to the Ethereum network in remote areas with limited or no cellular connection. This initiative aims to enable individuals in rural areas to access Ethereum for payments, smart contract interactions, and access to the DeFi ecosystem as well as developing novel use cases leveraging the DLT infrastructure.
Solo Operator – United States: The primary aim of this node is to serve RPC requests and customized RPC requests; these endpoints are highly useful for stakers, builders, hobbyists, and more. The secondary impact will be used for an archival purpose that keeps historical blocks and blob data.
Solo Operator – Venezuela: Working in collaboration with a university in Venezuela, this node will be used for research and educational purposes by a large pool of developers and researchers in Venezuela.