Vitalik Buterin, a co-founder of Ethereum, has written a lengthy blog post about the hazards of “stretching” Ethereum’s consensus beyond its fundamental functions of verifying blocks and safeguarding the network.
Buterin has pushed for preserving Ethereum consensus simplicity and avoiding overburdening validators with other things.
In September 2022, Ethereum introduced “the Merge,” which implemented a proof-of-stake mechanism to validate blocks and establish consensus within the network. This process of Ethereum consensus involves the validation of blocks through this updated mechanism.
In a blog post published on May 21 titled “Avoid Overburdening Ethereum’s Consensus,” Vitalik Buterin expressed concerns about using Ethereum’s network consensus for extra functionalities.
He emphasized the risks that could arise from such practices and stressed the importance of discouraging and opposing them. Buterin urged the community to prioritize the stability and security of the Ethereum ecosystem.
Don't overload Ethereum's consensus:https://t.co/07tzyCrZcJ
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) May 21, 2023
The Ethereum co-founder advocated for the blockchain’s simplicity to be preserved. Buterin stated that various suggestions or concepts have circulated over the years.
These recommendations propose utilizing the Ethereum social consensus for additional purposes. Examples include pricing and data oracles, re-staking efforts, and employing layer-1 soft forks. Such measures will aid in restoring layer-2 projects if issues arise.
The desire to expand the core of the blockchain is instinctive due to its substantial economic influence and a vast community observing it. However, each additional functionality introduced in this pursuit renders the core increasingly susceptible to fragility.
According to Buterin, a specific group of these methods can potentially introduce significant systemic dangers to the ecosystem. These dangers include software flaws or a deliberate 51% attack.
High-Risk Examples & Proposed Solutions
Examples of high-risk situations involve the development of ETH/USD price oracles. Bribes can influence those who possess or validate them to sway their votes.
This manipulation could lead to a scenario where dissent arises, resulting in a “fork” involving confiscating funds from untrustworthy participants.
He recognized the necessity for improved oracles. He suggested adopting a customized approach due to the inherent dissimilarities among various problems.
According to Buterin, expanding the “responsibilities” of Ethereum’s consensus would result in higher expenses and increased intricacies. It would also amplify risks associated with operating a validator.
He cautioned against approaching “Application-layer projects” that engage in actions that could potentially expand the ‘scope’ of blockchain consensus beyond the verification of fundamental Ethereum protocol rules.
In summary, he advised exercising caution with such projects. Instead, let’s maintain the chain’s simplicity while encouraging re-staking practices that don’t appear as a gradual expansion of Ethereum consensus.
Additionally, They should assist developers in discovering alternative strategies to accomplish their security objectives. In September of last year, the Ethereum consensus process shifted from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake.
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Staked Ethereum was recently made available for withdrawal as part of the Shapella update on April 12. The world’s largest smart contract network scrutinizes validator duties and security threats more closely.