With the long-awaited Ethereum merge rapidly approaching and the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioning coin mixer Tornado Cash this month, blockchain technologists are growing more concerned that regulations may have an impact on Ethereum’s core functionality and its post-merge proof-of-stake consensus mechanism.
In response to a fictional scenario, Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, stated on Twitter today that his company will halt its Ethereum staking service in the event of regulatory threats in order to protect the blockchain network.
Several crypto players were tagged in the fictional Ethereum situation
Lefteris Karapetsas, the creator of the open-source crypto analytics and accounting tool Rotki, presented the query on Sunday. In order to choose between two options if political authorities demanded that they censor certain addresses, Karapetsas issued a challenge to a number of key Ethereum players.
He mentioned Coinbase, Kraken, Lido, Staked, and Bitcoin Suisse in his tweets. He posed the choice: “Will you A) agree and filter at the protocol level [or] B) shut down the staking service and safeguard network integrity?”
Armstrong, responding on behalf of Coinbase, is the lone representative of one of the companies referenced in the scenario to comment.
“It’s a hypothetical we hopefully won’t actually face,” Armstrong replied. “But if we did we’d go with B I think. Got to focus on the bigger picture.”
He said that there might be a better third option or that filing a legal challenge “would help achieve a better result.”
Armstrong’s remark is especially interesting given that Coinbase regards its lucrative staking service as a “major win” for the company and is heavily reliant on it for its future.
And only last week, JPMorgan analysts stated in a note that due to Coinbase’s Ethereum staking service, the company’s shares (COIN) could profit from the Ethereum merger.
Investors and experts in Web3 are worried that, as a result of the merger, large, institutional players who offer staking services for Ethereum will be more likely to buckle under pressure from governmental regulators.
Additionally, their absence could endanger the entire network because they control a disproportionate number of validators.