The initial version of the Casper proof-of-stake protocol upgrade from Ethereum developer Vlad Zamfir has been released.
Published on Tuesday, the code - following its presentation at the Devcon3 event in Cancun earlier this month - aims to fundamentally rework how blocks are created and propagated on the ethereum network. It's actually one of two simultaneous bids to develop code for Casper, with the other arm being spearheaded by network creator Vitalik Buterin.
Zamfir's take on Casper comes several days after the publication of a white paper, titled "Casper the Friendly Ghost."
The paper focuses on "correct-by-construction consensus protocols," seeking to simplify how blockchains achieve consensus in a "partially synchronous network." In other words, it's trying to reduce the overall complexity of the blockchain.
This approach differs from Buterin's own white papers on the upgrade. Buterin had previously released a three-part explanation of how his vision of Casper would operate.
While Zamfir's code release may represent on a small part of a bigger effort, its publication signals a new phase of development that will bring ethereum a step closer to overhauling the infrastructure that underlies the network.
As explained by CoinDesk, miners today discover and add new blocks through the proof-of-work process, in a way similar to how bitcoin functions (with some differences that are unique to ethereum, like the discovery of "uncle" blocks.)
This energy-intensive process is a competitive one, driving miners to purchase power-hungry graphics cards - a cycle that has led firms like AMD and Nivida to report significant revenues thanks to the renewed interest in cryptocurrency mining.
Yet Casper would, if and when fully realized, aim to shift away from this model entirely. Nodes could mine by essentially having funds deposited- the "stake" in proof-of-stake - and held over time, generating rewards as the node discovers each new block.
Candle image via Shutterstock