Vitalik Buterin Proposes Streamlined Proof-of-Stake for Ethereum

Buterin suggests a more moderate solution with approximately 8,192 signatures per slot, promoting technological simplicity, resistance to quantum computing.

Vitalik Buterin Proposes Streamlined Proof-of-Stake for Ethereum
Vitalik Buterin Proposes Streamlined Proof-of-Stake for Ethereum

The co-founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, has proposed a method that would make the proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus on the Ethereum blockchain “considerably simpler and lighter.” Minimizing the strain placed on the Ethereum network would be achieved.

On the 28th of December, Vitalik Buterin presented an approach that would reduce the number of signatures that validators are required to make to keep the network running, which would ultimately result in a reduction in load.

To promote decentralization and make it possible for average people to take part in staking, Ethereum now supports a relatively high number of validators, which is approximately 895,000. However, there are significant technological drawbacks associated with maintaining such a large number of validators.

This is because it necessitates the network to process a substantial number of signatures, around 28,000 for each slot, which he referred to as “a very high load.” Furthermore, he highlighted that to sustain this load, it is necessary to make several concessions.

These sacrifices include restricting quantum resistance, difficult forking, and scaling signatures through something called zero-knowledge proofs (SNARKs). It is also not entirely successful in accomplishing the objective of letting regular people join, as the minimum amount of 32 ETH required to become a validator is still too high for many individuals.

Instead of attempting to make an ever-increasing number of signatures per slot work, Buterin advised switching to a moderate solution with approximately 8,192 signatures per slot, which is a decrease from the present 28,000.

With this, significant technological simplicity would be possible, the chain would become more resistant to quantum computing, and the overall amount of slashable Ethereum would remain high at approximately one to two million ETH.

Vitalik Buterin Proposes Streamlined Proof-of-Stake for Ethereum

Calculations for a rotating participation method. Source: ethresear.ch

Validators implement slashing as a mechanism to ensure responsible behavior. The three alternative approaches that Buterin proposed are as follows: depending only on decentralized staking pools, a two-tiered system with “heavy” and “light” staking, and rotating participation with responsible committees.

Bringing the load of digital signatures down to a more tolerable level is the goal of the offered methods. Establishing the future signature load at a reasonable level would be the primary benefit since this would make the creation of protocols and infrastructure significantly less difficult.

In his conclusion, he stated that “the future load of the Ethereum protocol becomes no longer an unknown.” He went on to say that “it can be raised in the future through hard forks, but only when developers are confident that technology has improved enough to be able to handle a larger number of signatures per slot with the same level of ease.”

Vitalik Buterin issued a warning in May about the potential risks of “stretching” Ethereum’s consensus beyond its primary functions of validating blocks and ensuring the network’s safety.