EXCLUSIVE: EDF manages over 150 Ethereum nodes
The French state-owned energy company, which has no shortage of ambitions in the crypto world, has become a major validator on the second largest blockchain on the planet.
It's an office space in the gigantic EDF tower at La Défense, just outside Paris. Here, around thirty people have been working for the past two years on one of EDF's lesser-known but perhaps most innovative projects: Exaion, the French energy giant's "Web3" subsidiary.
Exaion is nothing to sneeze at, but the company was created with the utmost discretion in 2020 because cryptocurrencies remain a "sensitive" subject. Exaion is currently working on several blockchains, including Polkadot, Cosmos, Avalanche and Tezos. It plays the role of validator, meaning that it validates transactions on these networks. This task involves holding cryptocurrencies. In all, Exaion manages just over 300 nodes on protocols.
But these aren't the only blockchains EDF's crypto subsidiary is working on. According to our information, Exaion is very active on Ethereum and currently manages 10 nodes on the network of the second largest blockchain ($162 billion in capitalisation) known in particular for NFTs and decentralised finance (DeFi).
By adding the nodes managed on behalf of its customers - France's Just Mining is one of them - we exceed 150 Ethereum nodes operated by the group owned by the French state! Ethereum's creator, Vitalik Buterin, for his part operates 218 nodes.
In other words, the energy giant is quite simply one of the biggest validators of Ethereum, which in September switched from Proof-of-Work (PoW) to Proof-of-Stake (PoS) and therefore consumes much less energy. "We support third-generation protocols that consume little energy," explains Exaion boss Fatih Balyeli.
Does this mean, however, that the French giant will never mine bitcoins? For Fatih Balyeli, that's impossible because the energy consumption of the first crypto is an "insurmountable obstacle".
In the meantime, Exaion is advancing its pawns in the sector with a simple objective: to become a major player in validation against sector specialists such as Infura, Alchemy or Blockdaemon, who specialise in Ethereum. "Our aim is to make networks robust so that anyone can develop applications on them," says Fatih Balyeli. "We want to become the Amazon Web Services of Web3", he adds. Nothing less.