Ethereum Founder Vitalik Buterin’s Twitter Spree Tells All About Casper

Vitalik Buterin issued a series of 75 tweets today to discuss Ethereum’s Casper project. Casper is the upcoming consensus mechanism that will be used to transition Ethereum from proof of work to proof of stake. This improvement will soon allow Ethereum to scale up and handle transactions more efficiently.

Buterin began by tweeting:

Competing Caspers

Ethereum was launched in 2015, but Casper’s story begins before that. In the Twitter thread, Buterin outlines his early attempts at a proof of stake mechanism in 2014. He then goes on to describe the early attacks that occurred and the penalties that he introduced to prevent those attacks.

Vlad Zamfir soon joined the project, leading to the introduction of long-term deposits from miners. Reworkings of various proof of stake and byzantine fault tolerance models ensued, which resulted in two competing Casper models (Buterin’s FFG and Zamfir’s CBC).

These Casper models differed in the way in which they handled penalties and deposits. Ultimately, Casper needed to introduce finality—to make it virtually impossible and far too expensive to perform an attack:

Casper is expected in 2019, and today Buterin indicated it is getting closer to release. In the final tweets of the series, Buterin revealed that both Casper variants are nearing their goals:

Suggested ReadingLearn more about Ethereum in our ‘What is Ethereum?‘ beginner’s guide. 

Why Twitter?

Users on the Ethereum subreddit criticized Buterin’s decision to use Twitter instead of a blog. Other users lamented, “This way gets more views, unfortunately,” and contended that “If it’s on Twitter, nobody can say they can’t find it.”

Buterin’s explanation is indeed very complex, and this article does not fully describe every aspect of it. One Redditor offered a TLDR:

“[Proof of stake] is hard. [Ethereum has] solved it. It’s ready to go. Just need to get it baked into the network safely. At least 3 teams are working on it.”

Additionally, Buterin didn’t explain how users will directly benefit, as he has in the past. In addition to reducing Ethereum’s fees and increasing its speed, proof-of-stake will making mining possible on low-end systems.

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