Ethereum Co-Founder Vitalik Buterin Warns on Risk of Overloading Ethereum Consensus

On May 21, the co-founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, shared an official publication highlighting the benefits of maintaining Ethereum consensus at its minimalism. Buterin’s post mentioned the potential risk of overloading the Ethereum validators with unnecessary devices.

In his blog post, Buterin explained the dangers of strengthening Ethereum consensus beyond its capabilities. Notably, the Ethereum consensus is crucial in validating the block using the proof-of-stake (PoS) technology.

Risk of Overburdening Ethereum Consensus

In September 2022, the PoS mechanism was integrated into the Ethereum consensus to improve the network’s security. Initially, the Ethereum consensus utilized the proof-of-work (PoW) technology before adopting the PoS.

Before the integration, Buterin had warned the developers from misusing the Ethereum consensus. He lamented that inappropriate use of the Ethereum consensus could expose the ecosystem to systemic concerns.

Buterin’s early warnings were accompanied by a report labeled “Don’t overload Ethereum’s consensus.” He urged the developers engaging in unacceptable conduct on the Ethereum consensus to avert their plans.

In his 2021 report, Buterin proposed practical strategies to boost the maintenance of blockchain minimalism technology. Initially, Buterin had received multiple proposals from the developers advocating for using the Ethereum consensus for other business use.

What are Systemic Risks?

A review of the proposals submitted revealed that the developers intended to utilize the Ethereum consensus social category to engage in re-staking projects. Other developers believed that the Ethereum layer-1 forks have enormous capabilities to support data recovery on layer- 2 networks.

Additionally, some developers requested to utilize the Ethereum consensus on price and supporting important data oracles.

As of this writing, the blockchain is ranked among the leading technologies that stimulate economic growth and has the highest adoption. The innovative solutions provided by blockchain technology have inspired many developers to invest in exploring ways to boost the performance of the ecosystem. 

Buterik argued that some blockchain development projects were crucial while others rendered the system more fragile. He lamented that some of the upgrades on the blockchain network could expose the network to systemic problems. 

As such, the occurrence of potential systemic threats subjects the system to bugs and roughly 51% of malicious attacks.

Review of Buterin Proposal

On the pricing aspect, Buterin argued that developing ETH/USD prices under specific terms might lead to misuse of funds in case of agreement violation. Reflecting on a scenario whereby the price oracle allows the ETH card holders and validators to vote in case of misunderstanding, the users can be bribed by one party to side with their proponent. 

Therefore if price oracle disagreements occurs some customers might be exposed to losses. Commenting on this, Buterin proposed adopting a case-by-case mechanism to bolster the functionality of oracles.

 He argued that most oracle challenges were “inherently so different.”In his concluding remarks, Buterin admitted that using Ethereum consensus to perform other duties limits the operation of the validators.

Also, it exposes the Ethereum consensus to high operation costs and complexities. Buterin urged the Ethereum community to maintain the network’s minimalism features. He encouraged the community to participate in re-staking activities on the Ethereum consensus in compliant manner.

Besides supporting the Ethereum consensus performance, Buterin challenged the community to work closely with the developers to explore practical strategies to improve system security.

Recently, the Ethereum team launched the Shapella upgrade to improve network security. On April 12, the Ethereum developers demonstrated their commitment to enhancing the roles of the validators and improving the system’s security.

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