Vitalik Buterin: Ethereum Miners Can Use Their Obsolete Mining Machines For Zero-Knowledge Proofs
Ethereum blockchain is in a transition period where the network is moving from a Proof-of-Work consensus to Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus, in order to improve the network’s scalability and efficiency. The change of mining consensus was scheduled in phases and the final phase is scheduled to commence in June 2020. While the change of mining consensus has become the need of the hour given the network congestion that Ethereum has faced in recent times, the main worry remains around miners.
Many people are wondering what would existing miners do with their machines once the Ethereum network makes the transition from its current version to Ethereum 2.0. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin believes that once the network changes the mining consensus, the obsolete mining machines could be utilized for Zero-Knowledge Proofs (ZKPs). Buterin recently appeared for an interview on The Shitcoin Dot Com to discuss Ethereum 2.0 launch (currently in testnet) where the question about obsolete mining machines came up. He said,
“They’re very powerful. First of all, they give you a lot of privacy. Second, they give you a lot of scalabilities, because instead of verifying a really big thing, you just have to verify a really small proof.
You can use them to verify the validity of things, you could potentially use them to replace Merkle trees; cut the Merkle tree branches and witnesses down from hundreds of kilobytes to like a couple of kilobytes, and all of these nice things.”
At present Ethereum uses a custom version of Proof-of-Work (PoW) mining consensus called Ethash which requires miners on the platform to input the high amount of computational power to mine the next block. However, with the change in mining consensus to Proof-of-Stake, not all miners would be required to put in high amounts of computational power, rather the community would select a particular miner based on their on-chain activity or accumulated wealth on the platform.
Vitalik during the interview noted that although the existing mining machines would be of no use on the Ethereum 2.0 blockchain, still miners can dedicate their devices towards Zero-Knowledge Proofs Network.
What is Zero-Knowledge Proofs?
Zero-Knowledge Proof which is also known by their abbreviation ZKPs is an information-sharing protocol. ZKPs allow two parties to share an encrypted form of information between them and either of the parties does not have to know what is the actual info being shared. ZKPs are an important part of privacy centered currency like Zcash which uses a specialized version of ZKPs called ZK-SNARKS which allow customers to send completely encrypted transactions on the network.
Buterin has been a big fan of Zero-Knowledge Protocol for quite some time and has advocated for the same calling it one of a kind technological revolution.
Ethereum 2.0 Launch Less Stressful Than The First Launch: Buterin
Buterin was also asked about how nervous or nerve recking it is to get prepared for such a significant change in the original protocol. The Ethereum co-founder noted that the change in mining consensus is definitely a major milestone but it is not as nerve recking as it was in 2015 during the launch of the platform. He explained,
“It’s definitely a bit less nerve-racking than the first time, just because I’ve been through the whole thing before. Definitely nervous with anticipation, but also just very excited to see all of this stuff finally go live.
It’s important to remember that up until very recently, ETH 2.0 was basically an idea and a dream, as far as most people could tell.”
You can catch the full interview here: