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Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin Aim To Change PoS: Here Are His Three Proposals

Last Updated December 28, 2023 10:59 AM
Teuta Franjkovic
Last Updated December 28, 2023 10:59 AM

Key Takeaways

  • Vitalik Buterin has proposed three strategies to address the increasing complexity of the PoS consensus mechanism.
  • One strategy involves increasing the minimum amount of Ether required to operate as a validator.
  • Another strategy suggests implementing a two-tier staking system with one layer having more stringent requirements and another layer having more lenient requirements.
  • A third approach involves randomly assigning validators to slots to distribute the workload more evenly.

Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, has put forward three solutions aimed at addressing what he terms a potential systemic complexity in Ethereum’s proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism.

In a recent post , Buterin suggested a design overhaul to limit the requirement to just 8,192 signatures per slot, a move that could significantly simplify and lighten the consensus implementation.

Buterin’s Three Strategies

The proposal comes as a response  to the challenge posed by the increasing number of validators on the Ethereum network, which, in turn, amplifies the volume of cryptographic signatures needed to maintain network functionality.

These signatures are fundamental to the network’s operation, but their growing number could burden the system, especially with upcoming upgrades expected to further escalate these requirements.

Buterin’s proposal, recently shared on the Ethereum Research forum , centers around efficiently reducing the signature count to manage this burgeoning complexity.

The proposal includes :

  1. Decentralized Staking Pools: The first method proposed by Buterin involves increasing the minimum amount of Ether required to operate as a validator. This change would necessitate validators to collaborate and pool their resources, promoting the formation of decentralized staking pools.
  2. Dual-Layer Staking System: The second strategy suggests the implementation of a two-tier staking system. In this model, one layer would have more stringent requirements, while the other would be more lenient. These layers would play distinct roles in the block finalization process, offering a balanced approach to validator participation and responsibilities.
  3. Rotating Validator Participation: The third approach introduces a system where a randomly selected group of validators is assigned to each slot. This method aims to distribute the workload more evenly among validators, thereby reducing the overall number of necessary signatures. However, Buterin acknowledges that this solution could introduce additional complexity into the system.

A New Era of Efficient and Scalable Consensus Mechanism

Ethereum’s consensus mechanism, especially after its transition to Ethereum 2.0, is based on a Proof of Stake (PoS) model, a significant shift from the original Proof of Work (PoW) mechanism.

In PoS, the process of validating transactions and creating new blocks is handled by validators, who are chosen on the amount of cryptocurrency (Ether, in Ethereum’s case) they hold and are willing to “stake” as collateral. This staking process is less energy-intensive compared to the computational work required in PoW.

Validators are selected to propose and vote on new blocks, with their influence proportional to the size of their stake. This method aims to enhance network security and scalability, as well as reduce energy consumption.

The consensus is achieved when validators agree on the state of the blockchain, ensuring that all transactions are accurate and no double-spending occurs. This mechanism plays a crucial role in Ethereum’s ability to execute smart contracts and maintain a decentralized, trustless system.

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