Casper, one of Ethereum most anticipated updates is all set to be launched in 2018 but is it “fundamentally vulnerable”?
Well, at least that’s what distributed systems expert and founding VMware researcher Dahlia Malkhi had to say when asked about the update at the Financial Cryptography 2018 being held in Curacao and further went on to promise a better algorithm for the Ethereum blockchain.
“I think proof-of-stake is fundamentally vulnerable. You’re giving authority to a group to call the shots […] In my opinion, it’s giving power to people who have lots of money.
Haven’t heard the Casper update yet? Currently, Ethereum works on a proof of work protocol and is looking to switch to the proof of stake protocol with the Casper update which makes mining cost and energy efficient and rewards current Ethereum holders.
While Malkhi isn’t the first person to criticize the PoS protocol, her being the first to speak up from the world of computer science and research is definitely a setback.
Yup, she did look to point the positives from the update by stating that Casper could be the start of the huge change in the field of distributed networks but was it only to soften the blow?
Why the Criticism?
Wondering why Malkhi has been so vocal about her criticism of the Pos system? It comes to 2 major attributes, safety, and liveness.
Revealing about her talk with lead Casper author, Vlad Zamfir who believes the protocol is useful due to its liveness, Malkhi disagrees.
According to her, the vulnerabilities in Casper like blockchain products leaves little to no utility even if live.
She further went on to state that the idea lacks academic research thus important assumptions made during the development and implementation could be nullified.
Also, coming up with the solution isn’t tough. Creating a mechanism that lays emphasis on both security and liveness is all that’s needed.
An optimistic Approach Towards Cryptocurrencies
While Malkhi believes the idea of Casper is flawed she has an optimistic approach towards cryptocurrencies and did agree that Bitcoin has brought about positive changes in the distributed networks
Blockchains are not free of flaws and thus continuous work, research and development need to go in improving the current structure to make it safer.
She concluded her address by stating that
“The problem is not solved. Yes, we have solid foundations, but these foundations break in surprising ways especially when you try to break them and innovate. “