Per the announcement, the gateway — which is part of the company’s broader Distributed Web Gateway toolset — lets users “interact with the Ethereum network without installing any additional software.”
The system purportedly allows one to access the network and interact with smart contracts through a custom hostname. Furthermore, the new tool can be used in combination with the firm’s Interplanetary File System (IPFS) gateway launched in September 2018:
“In conjunction with the IPFS gateway, this allows hosting websites and resources in a decentralized manner.”
Cloudflare also notes that while its gateway is centralized, it makes the number of companies offering such services greater, thus increasing the overall reliability of the ecosystem.
The company noted that it supports technologies that distribute trust, and that it hopes the gateway will facilitate decentralization.
The issue of centralization has previously been raised about Infura, the infrastructure-as-a-service arm of Ethereum-focused development company ConsenSys that allows decentralized app (DApp) developers to deploy their DApps without hosting their own full node. Some have argued that, in using Infura, developers rely on infrastructure entirely operated by ConsenSys and hosted by Amazon Web Services, which creates a single point of failure.