Ethereum co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, has introduced an innovative proposal to address significant challenges facing the network and enhance its overall performance. One of the key issues is the substantial entry barrier for solo staking, which requires users to lock in a hefty 32 ETH. Concerns about centralization within staking pools and the increasing number of signatures required for each block have also been noted.
Buterin’s proposal revealed on a recent Saturday, introduces a two-tiered staking system designed to improve network functionality. This system consists of two distinct participant categories: node operators and delegators.
Node Operators: Boosting Ethereum Network Integrity
The first category, node operators, will play a crucial role in running nodes. They will act as validators, staking a significant 32 ETH while also managing tasks such as transaction processing and block generation. This ensures higher involvement and responsibility in maintaining the network’s integrity.
In contrast, the second category, delegators, will hold stakes below the 32 ETH threshold. Delegators will be free to choose and endorse specific node operators, with a more lightweight involvement in the network’s consensus process. This means no minimum commitments or strict obligations beyond providing collateral.
Vitalik Buterin emphasizes that this proposal brings substantial advantages to Ethereum and its vibrant user community. From the network’s perspective, it aims to reduce the number of signatures required per block, potentially lowering it to around 10,000. This optimization is expected to attract more delegators and enhance scalability while simultaneously reducing computational overhead.
A Boost for Decentralization and Security
The proposal also addresses the critical aspect of network security. It introduces hurdles that make it increasingly challenging for potential attackers to acquire a controlling stake within the network. Additionally, it opens doors for innovative and flexible staking solutions by leveraging smart contracts, liquidity tokens, and various other mechanisms.
Buterin clarifies that these proposed changes can be implemented at multiple levels of abstraction. They can find their place within staking pools, in interactions between these pools, and even within the Ethereum protocol itself, offering a versatile approach to enhancing the network’s functionality.