A Bitcoiner’s Guide to Proof of Stake [Scott Sullivan]

“This brings us to our fourth principle behind PoS, which is that **PoS relies on subjective truth**. There is simply no objective way to pick between two competing blockchains, and any new nodes to the network must ultimately trust some existing source of truth to resolve any ambiguity. This contrasts significantly with Bitcoin, where the “true” chain is always the one with the most work. It doesn’t matter if a thousand nodes are telling you chain X, if a single node broadcasts chain Y and it contains more work, then Y is the correct blockchain. A block’s header can prove its own worth, completely removing the need for trust.” – Scott Sullivan

With “The Merge” on everyone’s mind, going through the specific mechanisms that make Proof of Stake “work” can be a very useful exercise. Especially when considering how things can go wrong, and where there is ultimately subjectivity in the consensus mechanism that sheds light on how certain disputes would fall in the politically tumultuous world we live in today. It isn’t just that PoS is different than PoW, it’s that many of their core principles are polar opposites of each other, and therefore they cannot accomplish the same goal. This piece by first time author on the show, Scott Sullivan, is an excellent breakdown of the inner workings of the ETH Proof-of-stake design, and will provide a solid foundation for the discussion of why I am Bitocin only in tomorrow’s Guy’s Take. Don’t miss it

Check out the original on Scott’s Substack at the link below:


Other articles linked to for digging deeper into this topic:

Ethereum is a Dark Forest: https://www.paradigm.xyz/2020/08/ethereum-is-a-dark-forest

Proof of Stake and Weak Subjectivity: https://blog.ethereum.org/2014/11/25/proof-stake-learned-love-weak-subjectivity

The Case for Social Slashing: https://ercwl.medium.com/the-case-for-social-slashing-59277ff4d9c7

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