Ethereum is a platform built on the idea of decentralized apps and smart contracts. This means that instead of all data coming from one centralized source, everything is stored in nodes across the internet. If you’ve been keeping up with the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, you’ve probably heard a lot about Proof-of-Work (PoW) vs Proof-of-Stake (PoS). Although PoW has been effective at securing blockchain networks, new concerns have arisen regarding its energy and cost implications. As a result, many are researching more efficient schemes such as PoS for long term sustainability of blockchain networks.
Ethereum has been the preeminent leader in the cryptocurrency space since its public release in July 2015. Through combined market capitalization, it is currently the second-largest blockchain after Bitcoin. It also boasts the largest developer community of any other blockchain project, with over 1,000 independent developers working on Ethereum code on GitHub.
Ethereum has a number of different features that set it apart from other cryptocurrencies, including the ability to create new tokens called “ERC-20 Tokens”. And its use of smart contracts to execute transactions automatically. However, perhaps its most exciting feature is the planned transition from PoW to PoS mining which is planned for sometime in Q3/Q4 2022.
What is Proof-of-Work?
Proof-of-work is a type of algorithm that uses computing power to create a decentralized, distributed and trustless network. It is commonly used in mining where a group of miners are rewarded for solving a complex mathematical problem before anyone else. Once a miner solves the algorithm, they broadcast it to the rest of the network where the solution is verified and the transaction is added to the immutable ledger. The idea behind PoW is that the miners have to put in work to solve the algorithm. A certain amount of effort is required for a miner to add their block to the blockchain and get rewarded for it. This is how all decentralized networks work because it prevents an individual or group of individuals from controlling the network. The more computing power or hash power a miner has, the more likely they are to solve the algorithm and get rewarded.
Why is Proof-of-Work Causing Problems?
Bitcoin’s original implementation of PoW suffers from a number of problems. The main issue being that the energy required to solve these algorithms is vast and growing. Bitcoin’s network consumes as much energy as the country of Denmark or 1/3 of the world’s electricity. The current PoW system is also incredibly slow and not very scalable. It currently takes about 10 minutes for a transaction to be verified and added to the blockchain. Ethereum’s network is facing similar growing pains, but it could be even more serious. Ethereum is a more general purpose network and blockchain. It has a larger market cap, and higher trading volume. And a wider variety of decentralized apps being built on top of it.
What is Proof of Stake?
Proof of Stake is an alternative consensus algorithm to proof of work. It is a trustless way of reaching consensus where the more tokens a user holds the more likely they are to earn the right to verify a block and add it to the immutable ledger. PoS algorithms use a random selection process to choose who earns the right to verify a block. This means a network like Ethereum would be able to scale since there would be no need to add more miners as the demand increases. A PoS algorithm is much more energy efficient than PoW since there is no need to solve complicated algorithms.
PoS also allows for much faster transaction times since blocks are verified every 10 seconds. In Ethereum’s case, the network uses a hybrid approach that is a combination of PoW and PoS. And it is planning to merge it to complete PoS (Beacon Chain) sometime in Q3/Q4 2022 earliest being in September 2022. Read more about the merge on Ethereum Site.
You can read more about crypto mining and staking in my blog Crypto Mining – is it too late now?
What is Beacon Chain?
Ethereum Beacon Chain is a distributed ledger platform that aims to deliver increased privacy and security on the Ethereum blockchain. The platform uses a unique PoS consensus mechanism that enables high throughput and low latency, while also providing enhanced data privacy. By using this technology, the Beacon Chain team aims to create a private, decentralized network for everyone to store and send their personal data and sensitive information, thereby offering users greater privacy protection and security.
Ethereum Beacon Chain (EBChain) is a public chain infrastructure for the Ethereum ecosystem. The main purpose of EBChain is to enable DApp development and to provide a common infrastructure for Ethereum-based DApps. EBChain leverages the advantages of blockchain technology, such as decentralization, immutability, and transparency, to build a centralized infrastructure that can be used by both public chains and non-public chains.
EBChain combines all the advantages of blockchain technology with advanced technological solutions and experiences from the Internet era. It will bring greater benefits to the entire ecosystem, making decentralized application development more secure, efficient, and cost-effective.
What is Sharding?
Sharding is a cluster of Ethereum nodes interconnected by a network of public and private key pairs. Each node can store only a part of the entire blockchain, called a shard. This allows for rapid scaling and efficient resource management as each node only has to store the data corresponding to its shard. It also provides increased security as more shards are distributed across a network that’s inherently more secure than a single server.
For example, if you wanted to run a database used by hundreds of thousands of people, we could divide the database up into smaller pieces. The pieces can run on separate computers or even different parts of the same computer, but they all have access to the same database. Then each piece could run its own copy of the database and would only have to maintain one copy of the database’s history. This is also called “sharding.”
Sharding can be used for many different purposes, but one major use case is for consensus mechanisms. Consensus mechanisms allow users to agree on a shared view of the world in which transactions are added to the shared chain simultaneously and in lockstep fashion. They require multiple parties to keep copies of history in order to agree on what happened and when, so it’s important that shards be kept as close together as possible.
Why Proof of Stake is Important?
The current PoW model uses a system called mining which is incredibly wasteful. In fact, most of the electricity going towards mining is not even used for mining. Miners use specialized hardware that is incredibly inefficient and burns a lot of electricity. PoS solves this problem by rewarding users who keep the network running with their own hardware. This makes the system more decentralized since anybody can host a node and earn Ethereum by helping the network grow. PoS also encourages people to hold onto their tokens since they will get rewards over time. Furthermore, PoS is also a more efficient way of securing a blockchain. PoW requires miners to solve a difficult algorithm, while PoS only requires users to verify their own transactions. This means that PoS is less energy intensive and more scalable.
The Problems with Proof of Stake
Despite all the benefits of PoS, there are a few downsides to the new consensus algorithm. PoS networks can be risky for investors since there is nothing to stop someone from creating a fake transaction. A user could send themselves a large amount of Ethereum and then send it back to someone else. This would make the network think that the user has more tokens than they actually do. PoS also doesn’t have the same level of security as PoW. PoS uses the network to reach consensus, which means one bad actor can manipulate the entire network. This is why PoS networks are often combined with PoW as a security measure. PoS also has issues with scalability since there would need to be many nodes checking every transaction. This would create a lot of overhead and take up a lot of bandwidth.
The growth of the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries has been exponential over the last few years. Ethereum has been at the forefront of this revolution since its inception. Many people consider Ethereum to be the leader in blockchain technology because of the number of decentralized apps and tokens being built on top of it. It is important to remember that the rise of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology is a long term investment. It will take time for the industry to fully mature and all the kinks to be worked out. Despite the current issues facing PoW and the growing pains that PoS is experiencing, these algorithms will be used for years to come.
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