Source: Crypto Slate
Ethereum’s Proof of Stake Protocol in Review
Known as the Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 1011, developers announced Friday that the update is part of a long-term plan to move ETH away from energy-intensive proof of work mining.
What the change entails
As things currently stand, Ethereum makes use of the standard mining consensus protocol, otherwise known as proof of work.
However, Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin and his development team have actively worked towards switching to the new proof of stake (PoS) model. The proof of stake model is far less energy-intensive and substantially reduces the risk of a 51% attack on the Ethereum network.
For individuals who wish to participate in Ethereum network validation, moving to PoS will require users store their ETH in a wallet through a process called staking. If an actor doesn’t follow consensus rules and is malicious towards the network, that actor risks losing all staked Ether.
The team refers to the transition from PoW to a PoS-PoW hybrid system as Casper; but as of now, there is no concrete date as to when the change will implement.
When EIP 1011 comes into effect, Ethereum will take its first steps towards deploying the unique framework that brings together the best of both worlds — an approach that was previously discussed in the company’s vision plan.
While the crypto community is looking forward to Casper’s release, the technology remains a topic of debate among stakeholders. Security experts from firms such as VMware have called Casper “weak and vulnerable” by citing certain flaws intrinsic in its source code. Meanwhile, miners protest the move as it eliminates a large portion of revenue supporting the Ethereum network.
In defense of the EIP, Danny Ryan, one of EIP 1011’s authors, announced to a gathering of fellow developers. He announced that the proposed change is now “ready for review” and that testers are free to suggest revisions.
Ryan also went on to add that development work for the Ethereum client is scheduled to commence soon, stating:
“As the pieces of this puzzle are getting closer to being completed, it is now time to start talking about fork block numbers. In terms of testing … I don’t know when exactly that happens. I, therefore, leave the EIP up for discussion a little bit longer before we start doing our testing.”
With this important change to Ethereum’s consensus algorithm, users need to understand that Casper is not compatible with existing Ethereum source code; therefore the switch requires a network hard-fork at some point in the future.
While testers and Ethereum developers debate exactly how the change will impact the network, it is unlikely that the impact can be known until it’s released on the Ethereum mainnet.