Proof of Stake thanks to Casper: the future of the Ethereum

After years of development, the consensus algorithm of the Ethereum network will now be updated to Proof of Stake.

Ethereum is doing something: Vitalik Buterin, the inventor of the crypto currency, has published an article some time ago which says that soon a hybrid system between Proof of Work and Proof of Stake will be set up. The consensus known in Bitcoin mining as Proof of Work is to be combined with a Proof of Stake system known as Casper. In concrete terms, this means that 1% of the blocks are to be secured via Proof of Stake.

But beware: validators who choose the wrong Bitcoin secret lose money

Parallel to Ethereum developer Vlad Zamfir, Buterin has advanced his version of the Bitcoin secret. According to Karl Floersch, a developer at ConsenSys who also participates in Bitcoin secret, the network with Casper will first decide in favor of the more secure version – not necessarily the more revolutionary one:

„Vitalik has ultimately written a well-functioning version of the Proof of Stake consensus, but it may not be as revolutionary as Vlad’s.“

If that really happens, it would be very exciting: you would have started the first Proof of Stake system on the Ethereum platform. That would of course also mean that the Proof of Stake concept from the laboratory tests would be tested in the real world in a large network. So you can see whether Proof of Stake is better or worse than Proof of Work.

Supporters of this consensus system believe that this will significantly reduce Ethereum’s electricity consumption: Miners consume a lot of electricity, which is then no longer needed.

Critics, on the other hand, stress that it is precisely the constant postponement – and now the only partial implementation of Proof of Stake – that ultimately shows that this consensus system will never be fully implemented.

Buterin, however, sees it as an important first step. According to him, this step should be realized with the third phase of Ethereum development known as Metropolis:

„Proof of Stake will be an important focus of Metropolis. We are currently working on a prototype in Python.“

Proof of Stake – virtual cryptosoft mining on Ethereum

What exactly is cryptosoft? Ultimately, it can be imagined as a kind of „virtualization“ of mining. Proof of Work is the classic consensus protocol and the basis of the mining process: Miners search for a block that meets certain conditions according to the difference. In addition to the transactions that are to be combined in the block, a counter called Nonce is varied until a calculated checksum – the hash – has a structure that corresponds to the conditions. These calculations cost money for equipment and electricity.

In the proof of stake process, the stakeholders ultimately invest money in this consensus process. However, the money is not invested in electricity and equipment. In Casper, virtual miners known as Validadors will make their money available to the system: They know that they will lose their money if they do not play by the rules of consensus.

Casper’s first step
Buterin’s plan is to use Proof of Stake as a kind of checkpoint in the first step: Every hundred blocks is checked quasi as a random sample whether the blocks contain correct transactions.

Floersch is currently working on the so-called „Fork Choice Rules“ for Pythereum, the Ethereum client in Python. These rules determine how validators choose the correct chain for adding blocks.
Validators look at these different versions of the blockchain and make a decision as to which is the correct one. The amount of ether associated with a blockchain version is an orientation in this choice.

„Thus a consensus and a single chain are found instead of constantly forming a new fork,“ says Floersch.
The Smart Contract that regulates this is published by the Casper developers on Ethereum. Via this contract any ether can deposit and participate in the virtual mining process.

As soon as the Pythereum version is finished, the whole thing should be implemented in the Casper Deamon. This package can then be used with any Ethereum client.

Will it work?
Of course, there are also some challenges with the Proof of Stake concept. If all this doesn’t work as planned, it would mean that transactions or whole Smart Contracts won’t be processed correctly.

Others take a critical view of the planned hybrid approach of sharing proof of work and proof of stake.
On the part of IOHK, a company that works a lot on Ethereum Classic, the following are equivalent

Warning against Bitcoin

Yesterday, Thursday, several politicians issued an urgent warning about Bitcoin. Two left-wing MPs warned that the Bitcoin hype is feeding the illusion that you can get rich completely without work. But this is only granted to the wealthy or fraudsters. Warning tones came also from the boss of the Japanese central bank, Haruhiko Kuroda likewise from CDU European delegate Elmar Brok, who fears that the people could lose thereby their small houses.

Haruhiko Kuroda sees the Bitcoin revolution as an object of speculation

The two deputies Fabio De Masi and Sahra Wagenknecht felt compelled yesterday to warn the Handelsblatt against new forms of investment. According to the two politicians of the left-wing faction, sharp price drops at Bitcoin would also pose a threat to the stability of the entire financial market. They criticize in particular the permission of the US financial supervisory authority to be allowed to bet for some days on the price of the Bitcoin by means of issued futures. The Bitcoin revolution does provide for more security, but for the opposite, they believe. Nevertheless, there are good reasons not to leave the monetary system solely to the banks‘ control. The Bitcoin is nothing more than another financial bubble that will burst sooner or later. This could lead to a „rapid decline in the value of shares, bonds or even real estate“ in the Bitcoin revolution area. De Masi and Wagenknecht do not see crypto currencies as an alternative to central monetary systems. On the contrary: „They serve the total privatisation of money, which repeatedly leads to crises,“ the two politicians believe.

Haruhiko Kuroda, the head of the Japanese central bank, also blew the same horn yesterday. For him, the BTC is an „object of speculation“. The current price seems „abnormally high“ to him. Because the Bitcoin does not behave like a normal means of payment, many experts would deny it the status of a currency.

When Lieschen Müller gambles up her house with Bitcoin loophole crypto currencies

The conservative European politician Elmar Brok worries about the savings of citizens who could lose them with new investments and the Bitcoin loophole. Currently there are many people with a small fortune who are hoping for quick money. In the event of failure, politicians would be insulted because they had not prevented the Leue from „losing their houses“ in the process, Brok said. On the other hand, it would not be acceptable for „the greedy to be compensated by the state“, which is why he publicly pleads for clear conditions and transparency rules. Warnings would have to be so clear that even „Lieschen Müller“ knows that it will go away empty-handed if its speculation backfire. In addition, the Merkel confidant misses a real value in the Bitcoin loophole. When in the 17th century at the end of the tulip mania, the world’s first well documented speculation bubble, the price fell into the bottomless, people would at least still have had their (albeit worthless) tulips. In the case of the Bitcoin, you would have nothing more in your hand as a countervalue.

What Brok stands for strongly sounds like the bold warning notice that has to be printed on every cigarette packet throughout the EU. Time will tell which measures the European politicians will come up with to protect their citizens from trading in crypto currencies. It remains to be hoped that investors will then be warned against all other speculative transactions in the same way as against trading in BTC & Co. But equal treatment of the EU for all speculative transactions is probably too much to ask again, right?

Ethereum Classic – with sidechains to a new identity

With sidechains, improved interoperability with other blockchains and a light client for IoT applications, the crypto currency separated from Ethereum now wants to finally gain its own identity. A quick look at the Ethereum Classic roadmap.

Ethereum Classic is growing up

Before the Hard-Fork-Mania Bitcoins, Ethereum already had such a roadmap: In the course of the DAO explosion, there was a passionate debate about whether a blockchain should be changed after dramatic events or not. In the case of Ethereum, the decision was made to change the state of the blockchain, so that the DAO explosion, which cost the investors behind The DAO several million euros in total, was undone.

For the investors, this meant that they could withdraw their money from the DAO and the matter had a happy ending for them. Since the immutability of the Ethereum blockchain was temporarily suspended at that time, this option is discussed in the case of a parity bug.

But not everyone was satisfied with the strategy

The immutability of the blockchain was so important to them that they separated from the Ethereum network – Ethereum Classic was born. For a long time, the great raison d’être was the preservation of immunity. There was indeed something happening with regard to the emission of ETC tokens, which are no longer produced indefinitely, but are limited in a similar way to the Bitcoin case. Otherwise, however, Ethereum Classic was ticked off as „Ethereum without immutability at 2016“.

The development team behind Ethereum Classic, also known as the ETCDEV team, grew to 8 full-time developers in 2017 and has achieved several milestones: In addition to Emerald, the desktop wallet of the crypto currency, a hard fork for pausing the Difficulty Bomb, a relic from the Ethereum protocol, was realized.

Furthermore, a new Ethereum (Classic) virtual Machine was written, which is currently being tested and can be used as an optional EVM for processing the Smart Contracts. The complete list can be found on the Ethereum Classic website. Already in 2017 the naughty stepson of Ethereum has emancipated himself a bit.