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Vitalik Buterin Brushes Aside Criticism Of PoS As Ethereum Inches Towards The Merge

Vitalik Buterin Brushes Aside Criticism Of PoS As Ethereum Inches Towards The Merge

Ethereum and the developers of the protocol are hard at work as its much-anticipated move to Proof-of-Stake enters its final few stages. However, Proof-of-Stake has come under some criticism, and Buterin has responded, defending PoS against allegations that it does not offer decentralized consensus. 

Gray Glacier Successfully Implemented 

Gray Glacier, a sixth difficulty-bomb delaying upgrade, was successfully implemented on the 30th of June. This hard fork delayed the difficulty bomb by around 700,000 blocks, giving developers time until the middle of October to get everything in order for the transition to Proof-of-Stake. Tim Beiko also tweeted that the Sepolia merge was underway and cautioned users about the hash rate volatility. Sepolia is the second of three public testnets. After the Sepolia merge, only Goerli/Prater will be left before The Merge. 

Developers have tentatively put the date for the Sepolia Merge for the 6th of July. Mario Havel stated in a tweet, 

“The [Wednesday] target gives everybody enough time to update their infrastructure, set TTD override or spin up new nodes for #TestingTheMerge. Chosen TTD is not reachable in this short time with average network hashrate, exactly to provide the spare time to get ready.”

He shared another update on the 4th of June, highlighting the progress made so far, 

“Sepolia Merge is right on time! We got perfect overlap of [current prediction] and [Wednesday target] on the 6th of July 2 PM. Let’s keep it like this. [The] goal is to keep the network hashrate in this direction. Please, don’t overshoot this number with high hashrate power! Keep checking [the dashboard] for current hashrate and needed hashrate, fill the gap, but pls be careful.”

Proof-of-Stake Under Fire 

Ethereum has come under heavy criticism for its Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism. This is something that Buterin and the team at Ethereum hope to address through the transition to Proof-of-Stake. However, Proof-of-Stake has also come under criticism, in particular from Bitcoin developer Jimmy Song, who stated that the protocol does not give a solution for the Byzantine Generals Problem. The argument was endorsed by the founder of Ava Labs, Emin Gun Sirer, who stated, 

“Proof of Stake isn’t a consensus algorithm. I think I was the first person to publicly point this out years ago. Anyone who doesn’t understand this should, in Jimmy’s words, stay out of the discussion.”

The Byzantine General’s Problem

The Byzantine General’s Problem refers to the difficulty faced by decentralized systems in achieving agreement on a single truth. The problem has been around for a considerable amount of time, and the emergence of Bitcoin and the Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism was seen as a solution. 

Bitcoin offers a universal solution to the problem, where the loyalty of 50% of the computing capacity is enough to reach a consensus. Miners, each acting as a general, play a crucial role in solving the challenge. Proof-of-Stake attempts to solve the problem in an efficient and environmentally friendly way, without requiring high energy or expensive hardware, as it does in Proof-of-Stake. 

Buterin Fires Back 

Vitalik Buterin came out against the criticism of Proof-of-Stake, calling the argument dumb since it was based on a technicality. Buterin took to Twitter to calmly rebuke the criticism, stating, 

“Pro-tip: if there’s a long-established tradition of people debating A vs. B based on deep arguments touching on math, economics, and moral philosophy, and you come along saying “B is dumb because of a one-line technicality involving definitions, you’re probably wrong.”

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