Anyone who follows cryptocurrencies, and Ethereum in particular, is simply obliged to know about the Casper protocol and how it is different from other systems.
PoW vs. PoS
As you know, there are two main cryptocurrency protocols: Proof-of-Work and Proof-of-Stake. PoW appeared much earlier than its competitor, and as a result it is the most widespread. But like any other pioneer, this system has encountered many difficulties including:
- High energy consumption when creating new blocks.
- A high cost of mining. As a result, not as many people are involved in supporting the system that otherwise could be.
- Insufficient decentralization of the blockchain.
The Ethereum network, like other pioneers of the cryptoworld, started working with PoW from the beginning, but later the project management made a decision to switch to the PoS algorithmafter realizing all of the disadvantages of the PoW system.
It is worth noting that the development team analyzed the problems and systems of «proof of ownership» and the main drawbacks were highlighted as follows:
- The problem of «double waste» because of the ease of creating chains.
- The problem of «nothing at stake»; basically, in case of a consensus error the block generators lose nothing by voting for several branches at the same time.
As a result, Vitalik Buterin and his team did a tremendous job and created Casper — a new PoS protocol that combines the positive lessons of its predecessors, but corrects their shortcomings. The face of this technology became Vlad Zamfir, a developer at Ethereum.
Differences between Casper and other PoS
The main difference between Casper and similar consensus protocols is that it allows for the punishment of attackers. Prior to this, this option simply did not exist.
The process is as follows:
- The user reserves some of his coins as a stake.
- Checking of the blocks begins. If a block that can be added to the chain is found, then he confirms it by making a bid.
- If the block passes, the user receives a reward which varies depending on the bid made.
- If he tries to commit malicious actions or somehow deceive the system, the validator will be blocked and their stake will simply be canceled.
It is hard to disagree with such an effective punishment and how it can significantly reduce risks and make the blockchain much more stable.
FFG and CBC
Do not think that Casper is a single project. Rather, it is a generalized name for two platforms from Ethereum:
- Casper the friendly finality gadget (FFG).
- Casper the friendly ghost, or Correct-by-Construction (CBC).
Casper FFG is the first version of Casper, a kind of hybrid of PoW and PoS, which was introduced later to completely switch to Proof-of-Stake.
Casper CBC is the final stage of the project, which is 100% PoS-protocol.
The mechanism of proof of ownership has met a lot of criticism in the cryptocurrency community. The main claim against it is that one must be rich enough to become a validator, because to receive a reward one needs to have a lot of funds in their account. Thus, the system makes the already rich people richer, without giving others a chance to earn anything.
Nevertheless, at the moment PoS has the possibility to beat PoW in terms of popularity because, as Casper has shown, it allows you to bypass a number of previously unresolved problems inherent in the blockchain.