Why Amazon’s Ethereum Support Funnels Through Northern Virginia
Amazon Web Services (AWS), is now supporting the Ethereum blockchain.
Announced on March 2, the service will let customers quickly spin up nodes that contain the transaction history of the entire blockchain, and connect to the main Ethereum network. Test networks (testnets) Rinkeby and Ropsten, used by developers to experiment with their applications or software, are also supported. The Amazon integration could make it easier to use the whole Ethereum ecosystem, which has suffered multiple service interruptions due to the growing number of decentralized applications and transaction volume.
While the move could simplify getting involved, it could also upset some existing users. Ethereum reaches consensus on its transactions using computers, or miners, that help audit the code while providing rewards to users. A single large company like Amazon providing massive amounts of computer power could undermine the network’s decentralization.
A statement from the company says Northern Virginia is the only region where the services are available in America. With 4.6 million square feet of data center space in the U.S., Northern Virginia is Amazon’s largest market, according to infrastructure site, DataCenters.com. We’ve reached out to clarify if Ethereum users in other states can still use the service, so long as the hardware is in the state, and will update as we learn more.
Virginia is still early in its exploration of cryptocurrency regulation, with data privacy laws in the works. State legislators only last year started looking to study the use of blockchain technology for voter records protection and election results transparency. The state also does not clearly regulate cryptocurrency. The only direct mention found in the Code of Virginia touches upon marketplace participants’ usage of virtual currencies.
Amazon’s blockchain service, called Amazon Managed Blockchain
Northern Virginia emerged as the world’s cloud valley even before Amazon Web Services first set up shop there in 2006 due to attractive land prices and low-cost electricity. Today, approximately 70% of the world’s internet traffic flows through Loudoun County, known as the “Data Center Alley,” which AWS is eyeing as the ground for the 1.75 million square feet expansion of its cloud computing capacity.