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Ethereum, Proof-of-Stake, and Randomness Tech

February 7, 2019

 

When you read a title such as this one, it is logical to wonder how these things all go together. What might be even more puzzling is how something called “randomness tech” factors into Ethereum’s pivot from a Proof-of-Work to a Proof-of-Stake network, which is still on-going.

 

In this particular case, “randomness tech” refers to a set of technologies called Verifiable Delay Functions. According to CoinDesk, in the context of a blockchain network, VDFs facilitate randomness, which cannot be harnessed for one particular group’s gain. While this may be confusing at first, it could help to put this idea into the context of how Proof-of-Stake networks can use randomness to their advantage.

 

For example, Delegated Proof-of-Stake networks only function well if their mechanisms for voting and choosing who verifies transactions are seen as truly decentralized and therefore, random in how they make their decisions. One example of when this sort of network fails is when it begins to place too much weight on how many tokens a user stakes.

 

In the cases when this occurs, most decisions begin to be made based on what the richest network participants want. To prevent something like this from happening, even the consensus protocols as a whole need to be randomized to their core, which VDFs can apparently help to facilitate.

 

Since the Ethereum Foundation may be moving forward with a $15 million investment into using VDFs on the Ethereum network, we may soon see just how effective they can be across all of these areas. For anyone who is a current supporter of the Ethereum project, this could also represent the final domino that needs to fall for the network to truly set a date for its’ switch to Proof-of-Stake and stick to it.

 

 

 

By: BGN Editorial Staff

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