“Though now evolved in many ways,” Gavin Wood wrote in Ethereum’s 2015 yellow paper, “the key functionality of a blockchain with a Turing-complete language and an effectively unlimited inter-transaction storage capability remains unchanged.”
Five years and thousands of bits later, Ethereum is still chugging along as a decentralized platform for self-executing code.
And it has “evolved in many ways,” with the largest yet to come: Ethereum 2.0.
Call it Slasher or Casper, Shasper or Serenity, Eth 2.0 has had as nearly many names as unrealized goals. For all the hubbub, a physical implementation is knocking on the cryptocurrency gates and is set to debut (by most estimates) this fall.
Eth 1.x (the current blockchain) and Eth 2.0 will have some similarities, namely blocks attached in chains. But as CoinDesk’s Michael Casey pointed out recently, much rests on the technical ideas Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and others like Wood or Vlad Zamfir staked their reputations to in the project’s early days.
The most important idea being the transition to a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm from Proof-of-Work (PoW). Indeed, a future swap of the Ethereum blockchain’s consensus algorithm has been a core part of the network’s thesis from its early days.
In short, PoS verifies a transaction getting from point A to point B by having coin depositors agree to validate the transfer in return for a small reward. If the depositor interferes with the transfer and commits fraud, then their funds can be seized by the network.🌈 Congrats! If you're reading this, you found the Easter egg in our series. Click here to see it.
The algorithm pulls from older Bitcoin-based projects as well as Buterin’s “weak subjectivity” model to create a more elastic consensus model with reasonable boundaries for transaction success.
Yes, PoS systems should theoretically send more coins more quickly than Bi...