Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin had words for Bitcoin developer Jimmy Song who criticised the proof-of-stake function on Twitter. Buterin faulted arguments by his counterpart that PoS is a worse consensus system because of how it addresses the Byzantine Generals Problem.
“Pro-tip: if there’s a long-established tradition of people debating A vs B based on deep arguments touching on math, economics and moral philosophy, and you come along saying ‘B is dumb because of a one-line technicality involving definitions’, you’re probably wrong,”
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Bitcoin and Other Models Provide Solutions
The Byzantine Generals Problem has plagues several systems that require consensus to operate, including finance. By definition, it presents itself where multiple actors must agree for a plan to work, but these actors can not trust each other.
Notably, Bitcoin is touted as the first to tackle this issue using an immutable public ledger, cryptography, and the energy-intensive Proof-of-Work system disincentivising bad actors. Consequently, people can safely conduct transactions as they trust the blockchain without needing to trust each other or a central authority susceptible to corruption in traditional finance.
Since Bitcoin’s creation, other consensus models have also been created to solve this problem, replacing miners with validators who stake their crypto to validate transactions on the network and risk losing them for trying to deceive the system.
While the Proof-of-Stake and Delegated Proof-of-Stake models have proven to be less energy-intensive, Bitcoin maximalists like Song believe none offers the same level of security as Bitcoin.
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