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Ethereum Developers Publish Much-Awaited Casper FFG Network Update

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Ethereum Developers Publish Much-Awaited Casper FFG Network Update

Marking a significant step in its development, Ethereum’s developers published its much-awaited Casper FFG on May 8, 2018, in a bid to eventually drive the network away from its currently used Proof-of-Work (PoW) protocol to a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) protocol.

Casper FFG Marks a Step Ahead

Posted on GitHub by developer Danny Ryan, the version 0.1.0 “first release” of Casper FFG was well-received by Ethereum’s communities on GitHub and Reddit, with Ryan noting that the version “tags releases to help clients and external auditors more easily track the contract and changes.”

As reported by BTCManager on April 23, 2018, Ethereum’s current PoW protocol requires the network to rely on a pool of miners using their computing resources to record transactions and create new blocks.

However, the PoW protocol uses up a lot of energy, which is also poised to increase over time as the network’s difficulty increases, causing governments and developers to raise concerns over the method’s economic sustainability and high carbon footprints.

The update puts to rest these issues, and makes use of a proof-of-stake (PoS) model to confirm and validate transactions, in a process called “minting” instead of the traditional “mining.”

The Casper FFG (Friendly Finality Gadget) is part of a number of steps lined up by Ethereum developers to make the network lucrative to developers in terms of incentives, in addition to protecting it from centralizing from corporate mining pools such as Bitmain.

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Developers to Incorporate Published Update

Speaking on the developers’ co-ordinated involvement in the update, Ryan wrote on Reddit:

“More than just the research team is using the contract now — auditors, client devs, etc. — so we wanted to start issuing clearer versioning and changelogs to help everyone stay organized.”

Developers can now begin adding Casper’s code to their unique coding languages, in a bid to test the code and ensure it runs seamlessly across Ethereum’s various software clients.

Casper to Initially Run As a “Hybrid”

As mentioned, the code would begin its testing stage and run alongside the PoW protocol, that would continue to maintain most of the network. However, Casper would periodically handle validations.

Running Casper is beyond reach for the average user, as currently, the PoS system would require staking of at least 1,500 ETH, or $1.1 million, to allow for testing.

Fortunately, as Ethereum intends to move to a fully PoS system, the developers plan to gradually lower the staking amount, although no information regarding time for the complete transition is available yet.

Before reaching that stage, it is incremental for v 0.10 of Casper to be thoroughly tested by developers on various clients. Additionally, Ethereum’s older versions are deemed incompatible to run Casper, requiring the network to hard-fork in the future to run a fully PoS system.

However, not everyone is impressed with the move, and the $1.1 million is proof of why. Amongst them is distributed systems developer Dahlia Malkhi, who considers the system equally comparable to PoW in terms of centralization.

Speaking at the Financial Cryptography conference of 2018, Malkhi said:

“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.”

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