May 29, 2024
Vitalik Buterin Unveils Proposal to Streamline Ethereum's PoS for Efficiency
Altcoins News

Vitalik Buterin Unveils Proposal to Streamline Ethereum’s PoS for Efficiency

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has put forward a proposal to alleviate the strain on the Ethereum blockchain and simplify its proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus, making it “considerably simpler and lighter.” Buterin’s suggestion, made on December 28, focuses on reducing the number of signatures required from validators to operate the network efficiently.

Presently, Ethereum accommodates a substantial number of validators, approximately 895,000, in an effort to achieve decentralization and involve regular individuals in staking. However, the high number of validators imposes significant technical challenges, demanding the network to process approximately 28,000 signatures per slot, creating a substantial load.

Buterin highlighted that managing such a load involves sacrifices, including limitations in quantum resistance, intricate forking processes, and scaling signatures through zero-knowledge proofs (SNARKs). Moreover, the 32 ETH minimum required to become a validator remains a barrier for many aspiring participants.

Rather than persisting with an ever-increasing number of signatures per slot, Buterin advocates for a more moderate solution, proposing around 8,192 signatures per slot, a significant reduction from the existing 28,000.

This adjustment aims to simplify technical aspects, enhance quantum resistance, and maintain a high total of slashable ETH, approximately 1-2 million ETH, with slashing being a mechanism to ensure good validator behaviour.

Buterin outlined three potential approaches to implement this reduction: reliance on decentralized staking pools, a two-tiered system incorporating “heavy” and “light” staking, and a system involving rotating participation with accountable committees.

The proposed solutions are designed to bring the digital signature load to a more manageable level, offering a key advantage in easing protocol and infrastructure development. According to Buterin, setting the future signature load at a manageable level provides clarity, allowing for adjustments through hard forks only when developers are confident in the technology’s ability to handle a larger number of signatures per slot with ease.

This proposal follows Buterin’s earlier caution in May, where he warned against “stretching” Ethereum’s consensus beyond its core functions of validating blocks and securing the network. As Ethereum continues to evolve, such proposals play a crucial role in addressing scalability and sustainability challenges.

Image by Duncan Rawlinson – on Flickr

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