The past 24 hours have seen quite a lot of positive activity on the cryptocurrency front. For starters, Vitalik Buterin, the enigma behind Ethereum, recently put forward a new kind of ‘consensus algorithm’ which promises to eliminate the issue of 51% attacks completely.

As per a technical paper released by Buterin, this new consensus mechanism will only require a meager 1% of all nodes to be “honest” within any given blockchain ecosystem. What this essentially means is that, in order for an attacker/hacker to carry out any illegal activity, he/she would require control of more than 99% of all nodes within the Blockchain in question.

Also worth mentioning is the fact that the algorithm used by this new consensus protocol was first deployed within the context of a ‘distributed system’ by Leslie Lamport in 1982. For his work, Lamport received a Turing award— an annual prize given to distinguished individuals for their lasting contributions to the field of computer science and technology.

An In-Depth Look

In terms of how this newly introduced algorithm works, we can see that the protocol makes use of a new type of ‘validator node’ referred to as an “independent observer node”. These nodes, as the name suggests, observe the chain in real-time and thus are able to weed out any inconsistencies within the network.

According to established Ethereum developer, Conrad Barski, there are several benefits of introducing this new protocol. For example, he states:  

“Usually, all blockchain consensus[algorithms] care about is what the validators (i.e. miners) of a chain do. Vitalik is proposing that if an independent observer of the network traffic (i.e. just the blockchain client a user is running, not a miner/validator) watches what’s happening in real time and pays attention to when messages appear, they can detect ‘foul play’ by miners performing a 51% attack and this can provide additional safety guarantees that can protect against such an attack. This is similar to this is somewhat similar to how merchants are already checking for 51% attacks themselves, only Vitalik’s version is more large-scale and complex“

Looking Ahead

ETH is already one of the premier cryptocurrency players within today’s digital asset market. As things stand, the currency is undergoing a shift from the POW consensus algorithm to a POS-based model. And with the implementation of the aforementioned ‘observer nodes’ the ETH Blockchain could potentially become the world’s most secure blockchain network.

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