Understanding Casper (Ethereum)
The traditional Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus mechanism relies on computational processing power, but it has certain limitations. In contrast, Proof-of-Stake (PoS) relies on token-holder deposits to achieve consensus.
Differences Between PoW and PoS
Proof-of-Work (PoW) and Proof-of-Stake (PoS) are commonly used consensus mechanisms.
- Proof-of-Work involves miners competing to solve a complex cryptographic puzzle. The first miner to solve the puzzle creates a new block on the blockchain and receives a reward.
- Proof-of-Stake: instead of competing, validators must lock up some of their coins as stakes. A validator is chosen randomly to validate a block based on its stake weight (the number of coins they have staked).
Implementation of the Casper Protocol in Two Phases
- Phase – Beacon Chain: This phase introduces the Proof of Stake concept to the Ethereum blockchain. The Beacon Chain operates as a separate blockchain that runs parallel to Ethereum. Its purpose is to manage and coordinate validators without executing smart contracts or having accounts.
- Phase – Sharding: This phase enhances scalability by dividing the Ethereum network into multiple shards. Each shard can process transactions in parallel, significantly increasing the network’s capacity. Currently, Ethereum can process around 15 transactions per second (TPS), but sharding could enable thousands of TPS or more.
The objective of Casper FFG is to replace proof-of-work mining with proof-of-stake eventually.
This means that individuals currently involved in mining Ethereum with specialized hardware can participate in validating and securing the network without the need for expensive equipment.
Advantages of Casper for Ethereum
- Reduced Environmental Impact: Proof of Stake systems require less computational effort to validate transactions, reducing the need for high-powered hardware and decreasing energy consumption. This contributes to lower costs and a smaller environmental footprint, which is particularly important given the energy-intensive nature of Bitcoin mining.
- Increased Scalability: Proof of Work requires every transaction to be validated by every network node, leading to transaction processing speed limitations. Casper’s different validation approach allows for higher transaction throughput, resulting in faster and more cost-effective transactions.
- Energy Efficiency: The shift to proof-of-stake improves energy efficiency, enabling controlled and sustainable growth of the Ether supply over time.
The ultimate goal of the Casper protocol is to transform Ethereum into version 2.0, also known as “Serenity.” Ethereum 2.0 aims to achieve incredible speed, efficiency, and scalability.