Ethereum ETH +6.65% co-founder Vitalik Buterin proposed three ways for solving what he describes as a potential systemic complexity at the heart of Ethereum’s proof-of-stake consensus mechanism.
“A PoS simplification proposal: make a design that only requires 8192 signatures per slot (even with SSF), making the consensus implementation considerably simpler and lighter,” he posted on X.
The main issue is that validators who keep the network running have to make a lot of signatures — digital ones using cryptography — as part of the process to keep the network operating as it should. This is already quite significant work for the network to manage, but as more validators join the network, this will increase the number of signatures, putting further load on the system. Later upgrades are currently set to drastically increase signature requirements even further.
Buterin outlined three ways for avoiding this in a post published to the Ethereum Research forum on Dec. 27. The common ground involves finding a way to only require 8,192 signatures per slot in the Ethereum blockchain.
Three ways to address the problem
The first solution focuses on decentralized staking pools. This would involve making the minimum amount of ether required to run a validator much higher, forcing those running validators to team up and combine their resources.
The second approach would be to have two layers of stakers, one with heavier requirements and the other with lighter requirements. The two layers would be treated differently in how they are used in the block finalization process.
The third way would be to have a rotating set of participants, meaning that a random set of validators are selected for each slot. This would divvy up the workload and reduce the total number of signatures but, as Buterin noted, it would add complexity.
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