Vitalik Buterin, the mastermind behind Ethereum, has recently proposed a groundbreaking modification to Ethereum’s proof-of-stake (PoS) system. The proposal aims to tackle scalability issues and enhance decentralization.
Central to Buterin’s proposal is a significant change in how Ethereum handles validator signatures within its PoS framework. On December 28, Buterin suggested a method to decrease the number of signatures validators need to produce to maintain the network, thereby reducing the load.
As of now, Ethereum boasts 895,000 validating objects, promoting decentralization and widespread staking participation. However, this strategy results in substantial processing overhead as the chain grapples with a high number of signatures per slot.
Supporting this load forces several compromises, including limiting quantum resistance, complex forking, and scaling signatures via zero-knowledge proofs (SNARKs), Buterin explained. Furthermore, it falls short of the objective of enabling average individuals to participate, as the 32 ETH minimum to become a validator remains prohibitively high for many.
How Vitalik Buterin Plans to Solve Scalability and Decentralization Issues
In response to these challenges, Buterin proposes eliminating the expectation of continually increasing signings per slot. This approach involves concentrating on decentralized Ethereum staking pools, potentially raising the minimum deposit size, and imposing a limit on the number of validators.
Buterin also advocates for a two-tier system comprising a heavy layer for precision and a lightweight layer for added security. This method introduces the concept of rotating participation, where a subset of validators is chosen for each slot, and participation probabilities are determined by stake size.
The primary advantage of this approach would be to set the future signature load at a manageable level, significantly simplifying protocol and infrastructure development. This proposal represents a significant step forward in the evolution of Ethereum’s PoS system, potentially paving the way for a more scalable and decentralized future.
In May, Vitalik Buterin cautioned about the risks associated with extending Ethereum’s consensus beyond its fundamental roles of block validation and network security.