Cryptocurrency

Vitalik Buterin says Ethereum’s consensus is ‘fragile’ and should not be stretched

Vitalik Buterin warned: blog post Today, it is believed that Ethereum’s consensus is fragile and should be used “with caution” due to the high risk of forking the chain.

Buterin wrote:

“There is a natural urge to extend the blockchain core with more functionality, because it carries the most weight economically and has the largest community that oversees it. Every time such an extension is made, the core itself becomes more vulnerable.”

Buterin added that we should be wary of projects that seek to expand the “scope” of blockchain consensus beyond validating Ethereum’s core protocol rules. This is because over time, the “obligation” increases and the risk of forking the chain increases.

Ethereum (ETH) has over 500,000 validators securing the network, and these validators collectively stake 18.5 million ETH, worth more than $34 billion. These validators close blocks every 6.4 minutes on the Ethereum network. This process is safe and elegant, so even if a bug occurs or a 51% attack occurs, the chain will recover to the correct state.

Extending the consensus system to other purposes “may pose high systemic risks to the ecosystem and should be deterred and resisted,” Buterin wrote. he added:

“Dual use of validator stake ETH is basically fine, albeit with some risk, but trying to ‘recruit’ Ethereum social consensus for the application’s own purposes is no good. “

Buterin further explained that as long as the protocol continues to limit losses of validators and users in the event of a complete collapse, it is “low risk”. But if the protocol is designed in such a way that the original Ethereum chain has to fork or reorganize to fix the problem, it is “high risk and strongly resists any attempt to create such expectations.” I would argue that there is a need,” he said. I have written.

Buterin suggested that if the low-risk category protocol motivates participants to slide into the high-risk category, there may be a middle ground.he also suggested using Schering coin style techniqueis a consensus mechanism in which participants are asked to guess the average value of a particular parameter, such as price, and the participant whose guess is closest to the average is rewarded.

What are the risks of extending the Ethereum consensus?

According to Buterin,

“As soon as a blockchain tries to ‘connect’ to the outside world, conflicts in the outside world start affecting it as well. “

In other words, if Ethereum validators start voting for something like a price oracle that includes the currency of a country in the midst of a political crisis, it could lead to a split in the Ethereum chain.

Buterin added:

“…once blockchain to start Incorporating real-world price indices as Layer 1 protocol features can easily interpret more and more real-world information. “

Moreover, the introduction of Layer 1 price indices could transform blockchain from a neutral technical platform to an explicit financial tool. Buterin said this could lead to legal troubles with blockchain.

Moreover, it is not just price indices that pose risks. Buterin wrote:

“Any As the Ethereum consensus “obligation” grows, the cost, complexity, and risk of running a validator increases. “

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