The switch to proof-of-stake of Ethereum

Hello again. Warm greetings to the followers and keen readers of this Blog.

Today I will share two videos about the coming hard fork of the Ethereum blockchain. I will presume here that everyone is by now familiar with what Blockchain is, what cryptocurrencies are and what Ethereum means.

To understand what a hard fork means, there is a need to understand the basics of Blockchain. An understanding of the way the important immutability property of Blockchains, that is the process to validate and identify new blocks called mining, is important. But mining new blocks with the most used process proof-of-work (PoW), a process that is a structuring one for blockchains and cryptocurrencies, is an energy-consuming wasteful process. The alternative is a proof-of-stake (PoS) framework, and Ethereum is a cryptocurrency that was designed from the beginning with the possibility of switching to PoS. Bitcoin does not permit a switch to PoS, at least in its current design.

The first video below shows us an expert from Boxmining explaining briefly PoS for Ethereum, outlining its main advantages:

The second video shown in this post is a longer one. It features the main contributor to Ethereum’s development identified as the Ethereum inventor, Vitalik Buterin. The moderator of this PoS panel discussion is Martin Köppelmann, founder and lead developer of Gnosis, an Ethereum based automated prediction marketplace. Some comments below after watching the video and we will come back soon.

Proof of Stake Panel Discussion – Silicon Valley Ethereum Meetup

The group of speakers in this video is really knowledgeable of their trade. Of special mention, for instance is Vlad Zamfir, a London-based Ethereum developer. Vlad have been involved in the development of Casper. Casper is an innovative protocol that makes possible  secure proof-of-stake framework, by means of a clever of incentive scheme of validators. As stated by this blog post from Vlad in the Ethereum  Blog:

Casper is a security-deposit based economic consensus protocol. This means that nodes, so-called “bonded validators”, have to place a security deposit (an action we call “bonding”) in order to serve the consensus by producing blocks. The protocol’s direct control of these security deposits is the primary way in which Casper affects the incentives of validators. Specifically, if a validator produces anything that Casper considers “invalid”, their deposit are forfeited along with the privilege of participating in the consensus process. The use of security deposits addresses the “nothing at stake” problem; that behaving badly is not expensive. There is something at stake, and bonded validators who misbehave in an objectively verifiable manner will lose it.

Finally the interventions by Dominic Willliams, the president and chief scientist at DFINITY, which aims to be a fully decentralized cloud compute network, are worth to listen carefully. Dominic revealed to be a good communicator, at least in my opinion, subjective though that is.

featured image: Ethereum Foundation

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