Vitalik Buterin’s 99% Fault Tolerant Consensus Makes 51% Attacks Unattainable Via Honest Nodes
Vitalik Proposes New Consensus Algorithm That Makes a 51% Attack Impossible
Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s co-founder, has released a very complex paper in which he proposes a new consensus algorithm that eliminates the risk of a 51% attack. Indeed, the algorithm proposed requires just 1% of the nodes to be honest.
That means that if an attacker wants to control the network it will have to control 99% of the nodes of the blockchain and not just 51%. So the 51% attack would now be called 99% attack on the network.
The papers reads as follows:
“Did you know that if you add even more assumptions (specifically, you require observers to also be actively watching the consensus, and not just downloading its output after the fact), you can increase fault tolerance all the way to 99%?”
The algorithm is not new. It was invented by Leslie Lamport back in 1982, a computer scientist that received an important number of awards for his work on decentralization and distributed systems. Now, Mr. Buterin is using the solution and implementing it on blockchain on the Ethereum network.
In order for it to work, the algorithm introduces new validator nodes that are called ‘independent observer nodes,’ and that observe the chain in real-time and detect inconsistencies when the message appears.
The Ethereum developer Conrad Barski decided to explain how the system works with more details. He said that blockchain consensus algorithms care about what the validators in that chain do. The new proposal made by Buterin says that if an independent observer of the network traffic sees what’s happening in real time and pays attention when messages appear, then, they can detect a 51% attack.
Ethereum is one of the most important networks in the market and has a very active community that works every single day to make several improvements to it. At the moment, Ethereum is moving from Proof-of-Work (PoW) to Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm.
Currently, there is no clear date about when the final steps are going to be taken, but the goal is clear, make the network a much more efficient one. It is important to mention that as soon as the implementation is implemented, the block reward will move from 3 ETH to 0.6 ETH.
The new observer nodes would be very positive for the entire network. Until now, there is no specific information about when the algorithm will be implemented but it is possible for it to happen after the POS based consensus goes live.