According to a recent announcement published by CasperLabs, the company managed to create a new specification for a much more secure, live, PoS (Proof-of-Stake) protocol. The new specs are named CasperLabs Highway.
As many already may know, PoS protocol came as an alternative to the mechanism used by many cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, called Proof-of-Work (PoW). However, while PoW is used for verifying blocks by staking computing power, PoS works differently. It allows users to stake actual currency, which brings several advantages.
One such advantage is that there is no need for a powerful mining network or networks, which ultimately saves not only energy but also money. On top of that, it helps preserve the environment.
The second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, Ethereum, has been developing its own PoS protocol that is supposed to be implemented shortly. However, there is still a lot of work to be done. According to CasperLabs, PoS faces several various issues regarding the security of the blockchain that uses it.
The company believes that a proper PoS needs to be live, but also much safer than what the developers' efforts so far were able to produce. These issues were already addressed in the past, with one of the best-known examples being a research paper by Ethereum researcher, Vlad Zamfir. Zamfir released a study called CBC Casper last year, in which he addressed safety, but he left out the live aspect.
Now, with the release of the specs by CasperLabs, both issues were addressed for the first time. The company's Highway did this by having a ‘summit,' which will have to reach the consensus, as well as various levels of agreement.
The way that the company explains it is by imagining a mathematical highway, where cars have a constant speed, and vehicles traveling in different lanes tend to send messages over time. When the leading car sends its message, it spreads from one car to another, where each new car sends its own message to the next. Confirming these messages would lead to different agreement levels, which are then reached in 'rounds,' which represent certain periods of time.
All of this can be possible if the process of moving the ‘lanes' is dynamic, meaning that the frequency of switching gets doubled when it comes to the left lane, and cut in half for the right one. The concept will be able to speed up the process, while not sacrificing the security of the blockchain. It is still unknown whether the concept could be applied in practice, but CasperLabs is optimistic.