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Proof of Work vs Proof of Stake: The Biggest Differences

What’s really happening then is that miners are exchanging energy for cryptocurrency, which causes PoW mining to use as much energy as some small countries. Proof-of-stake was created as an alternative to Proof-of-work , the original consensus mechanism used to validate a blockchain and add new blocks. Meanwhile, there are risks in concentrated power for proof-of-work cryptocurrencies. For example, if any person or group can control more than 50% of a blockchain’s mining power, they can conceivably rewrite its records or render it useless (this is known as a 51% attack).

proof of stake vs proof of work

Proof of work requires users to mine or complete complex computational puzzles before submitting new transactions to the network. This expenditure of time, computing power and energy is intended to make the cost of fraud higher than the potential rewards of a dishonest action. Proof of work and proof of stake use algorithms to validate cryptocurrency on a blockchain network. The main difference is how they choose and qualify users to add transactions. Every transaction block on a blockchain with a proof-of-work consensus mechanism has a unique hash, a fixed-length character string that cryptocurrency miners compete to decipher through trial and error. Miners must solve these cryptographic problems, which get more difficult with each subsequent block, to authenticate a transaction and record it on the blockchain.

Disadvantages of the Proof of Stake Model?

However, a strength of proof-of-stake over proof-of-work is that the community has flexibility in mounting a counter-attack. For example, the honest validators could decide to keep building on the minority chain and ignore the attacker’s fork while encouraging apps, exchanges, and pools to do the same. They could also decide to forcibly remove the attacker from the network and destroy their staked ETH.

While this solution would go against the no-intervention ethos of cryptocurrency, it can be an effective last-resort option in a black swan event. To better understand this page, we recommend you first read up on consensus mechanisms. Everyone can check and verify these transactions; therefore, if you wanted to spend the same Bitcoin twice, validators would notice and the community would kick you out.


Proof-of-work was the very first consensus mechanism for cryptocurrencies, used by Bitcoin back in 2008. It’s currently the most popular consensus mechanism and secures over a trillion dollars’ worth of cryptocurrencies. The two most popular consensus mechanisms are proof-of-work and proof-of-stake, which we’ll now explore. Every single cryptocurrency is a decentralised network, so they all need a consensus mechanism to determine who owns the coins. They create a single source of truth so that everyone from Melbourne to Mozambique can agree exactly how much of the cryptocurrency everyone in the network owns.

  • Everyone else would do the same, of course, and before long you’d have endless quarrels about what belongs to whom.
  • Distributed ledger networks like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Cardano are open for anyone to join, and have no overarching authoritative figure.
  • For example, you might be able to buy a small snack for one dollar.
  • A key component of consensus is the Sybil resistance mechanism, as it protects the network against attacks.
  • If the transaction is valid, the execution client adds it to its local mempool and also broadcasts it to other nodes over the execution layer gossip network.

Proof-of-work and proof-of-stake are two different methods to validate cryptocurrency transactions. In the end, Blumberg thinks that both PoW and PoS will continue to be used, along with other alternatives like Solana that add a mechanism called proof of history to validate transactions. Though the rewards can sometimes be lucrative, experts recommend taking extra caution in what cryptocurrencies you invest in. Because https://xcritical.com/ the market is still in its infancy, many cryptos — especially smaller altcoins that might offer bigger staking rewards — have more potential to collapse and fall. Proof of stake offers key advantages compared to proof of work, experts say. Its faster transaction speeds and more efficient energy requirements allow for blockchains that are more scalable and thus easier to find more adoption among new users.

How does PoS work?

High-performance computers are needed to solve complex mathematical equations as part of the proof of work procedure. Every system has advantages and disadvantages, and proof-of-stake and proof-of-work are no exceptions. The process of verifying the transactions in proof of stake and proof of work mechanisms is very different.

Since cryptocurrencies are decentralized and not under the control of financial institutions, they need a way to verify transactions. Distributed ledger networks like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Cardano are open for anyone to join, and have no overarching authoritative figure. However, these ethereum speedier proofofstake networks still need a system to ensure they are functioning properly and that they remain trustworthy. This system is manifested in consensus mechanisms, which coordinate the thousands of decentralized machines operating on the network to ensure that the shared ledger is secure.

What coins/blockchains use the proof of stake consensus method?

Altcoins released after Bitcoin are using proof of stake and have operated with relative stability and lower environmental costs. For example, when Ethereum converted from proof of work to proof of stake in fall 2022, its developers estimated that it would reduce its energy consumption by more than 99%. The investing information provided on this page is for educational purposes only. NerdWallet does not offer advisory or brokerage services, nor does it recommend or advise investors to buy or sell particular stocks, securities or other investments. NerdWallet, Inc. is an independent publisher and comparison service, not an investment advisor. Its articles, interactive tools and other content are provided to you for free, as self-help tools and for informational purposes only.

Every transaction block in a proof of work-based blockchain has a specific hash, a unique, fixed-length string of characters that crypto miners race to figure out using trial and error. Verifying a transaction and recording it on the blockchain requires miners to solve these cryptographic puzzles, which grow increasingly complex with each new block. Nobody can predict how the merge will impact price over the long-term, but the change itself is a big deal. It all comes down to the difference between proof of stake and proof of work — two different ways to validate transactions on a blockchain network. A 51% attack is an attack on a blockchain by a group of miners who control more than 50% of the network’s mining hash rate, or computing power. Proof of Stake uses randomly selected validators to confirm transactions and create new blocks.

If you had enough money to meet the minimum staking requirement (which most people don’t) then you can guarantee yourself a very good return on your investment. Those who have the most money will always have the best chance of winning the reward, making the rich richer. What this has resulted in is centralized organizations buying thousands of devices (known as ASIC’s) which generate the highest mining power. This type of operation is known as a ‘mining pool’ and it allows people to ‘pool’ their resources together to give them the greatest chance of solving the cryptographic sum first. Proof of Work requires ALL of its miners to attempt to solve a complex sum, with the winner determined by the person who has the most powerful/quantity of hardware devices. Instead, they are called ‘forgers’, because there is no block reward.

Cryptocurrencies are decentralized; that is, no state or other institution is in charge of printing and regulating the money. 10,000 Bitcoin would roughly equal 200 million dollars at the time of writing this article! The point is, the value of Bitcoin is not determined by the technology itself; it is determined by what you get in exchange for it. July’s price surge, however, illustrates how important the difference between PoW and PoS is. The purpose of this website is solely to display information regarding the products and services available on the Crypto.com App. It is not intended to offer access to any of such products and services.

What is Proof of Work vs. Proof of Stake in Blockchain

The miner broadcasts this block to the rest of the network, with verification that they solved the puzzle. At the time of writing, Lido holds 31% of total staked ETH and major exchanges hold a combined majority share. Lyn Alden and others argue that if Bitcoin was PoS, not PoW, then those who controlled the stake of coins could push through those changes.

This process then repeats so the next block can be added to the network. Miners then try to solve the mathematical puzzle and guess the answer. If they’re successful, they get to add their block to the blockchain. Examples of blockchains that use PoS are Solana, Avalanche, Polkadot, Cardano, Algorand and Tezos.

Ethereum protocol

The oldest of all consensus protocols, proof of work, relies on mining to validate transactions. A term that has somewhat entered the colloquial vocabulary, mining means that computers that are connected to the network race to solve complicated cryptographic puzzles. These are generally hard to solve, so they require a lot of work, or electricity, to complete. In contrast, a proof of stake cryptocurrency like Tezos (XTZ-USD) has an energy cost per transaction of just 30mWh or 60MWh per year. The main upside of proof of work is that it is trusted and has a long track record while the main upside of proof of stake is that it requires less energy, is more secure, and is scalable.

Proof-of-stake and proof-of-work both have pros and cons, and it’s important to acknowledge that no system is perfect. Every system has its strengths and weaknesses, and which one you think is better ultimately depends on your point of view. In the end, it isn’t an either/or choice and both consensus mechanisms will be part of cryptocurrency for the long term. Proof-of-stake and proof-of-work are known as consensus mechanisms. Both, in different ways, help ensure users are honest with transactions, through incentivizing good actors and making it extremely difficult and expensive for bad actors. On top of that, proof of stake provides opportunities to earn more crypto.

proof of stake vs proof of work

Proof of Work makes miners compete in solving complex mathematical problems to validate transaction blocks. Another problem some raise is that because of the competition between miners for rewards, a small number of mining pools control the blockchain, a kind of de-facto centralization. Proof-of-stake is a consensus mechanism where cryptocurrency validators share the task of validating transactions. Under Ethereum’s PoS, if a 51% attack occurred, the honest validators in the network could vote to disregard the altered blockchain and burn the offender staked ETH. This incentivizes validators to act in good faith to benefit the cryptocurrency and the network. However, they pay their operating expenses like electricity and rent with fiat currency.

Karl works with several organizations in the equities, futures, physical metals, and blockchain industries. He holds FINRA Series 3 and Series 34 licenses in addition to a dual MFA in critical studies/writing and music composition from the California Institute of the Arts. Also, to learn about various attacks that are unique to PoS blockchains, watch another of Valeria’s workshops below.

At least as far as individual Bitcoin miners are concerned, it’s made it extremely difficult to mine BTC profitably. The ongoing environmental debate over PoW is complex, as using energy isn’t necessarily bad. Many would argue that using energy to provide non-state money and open financial infrastructure is indeed worth it. Many miners also use renewable energy sources and some even mine with excess energy (i.e. energy that would otherwise go unused due to accessibility issues). For a PoS chain, the value of staked assets on a PoS chain has the potential to increase proportionately to the value within the network.