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A consensus protocol is the core of the blockchain network. Since the blockchain network is decentralized and works without third parties, a consensus protocol plays decision-making. Before data can be stored in the system’s blocks, it needs to be correct and without conflict.
The system requires participants (validators) to authenticate transactions with the help of virtual machines. Once each validator gives their verdict on each transaction, the system converges the data and decides on the most appropriate and agreeable opinion—a consensus. Consensus protocols are important as they help minimize the chance of safety violations on the network. Consensus mechanisms also ensure the information is not changed.
The consensus mechanisms currently employed in the blockchain system aim to solve the byzantine fault and are constantly being developed to be more tolerant.
Proof of Work (PoW)
It is also known as the Nakamoto protocol, which is used in bitcoin. It depends on miners to solve complex cryptographic equations and present the network’s solution for verification before adding to the blockchain as a block.
Proof of Stake (PoS)
The PoS protocol depends on how many coins a HODLer has in their staking wallet to choose block validators randomly. It requires fewer computations than in proof-of-work. Validators whose blocks are approved get rewarded.
The team rocket proposed the Avalanche protocol in 2018. Avalanche is a PoS protocol; therefore, all the data on transactions go through validators who evaluate and determine whether the transactions are upstanding and trustworthy. Every node accepts and stores virtuous transactions that do not conflict with other transactions.
Features of the Avalanche Consensus Protocol
Greater Performance and Flexibility
The avalanche protocol is a byzantine fault tolerance protocol. It is a probabilistic protocol, configurable by validators, to make errors microscopic, massively improving its performance. Furthermore, That allows developers to create custom blockchains and apps on the avalanche protocol.
Avalanche is much faster than PoW and PoS making it suitable for real-time transactions. In Nakamoto/ Proof of work approach, mining is a lengthy process, and hence transactions are confirmed slowly. PoW and PoS both require time to be proven accepted, which makes these systems slow and inconvenient. It can process multiple transactions per second and ten times faster than Ethereum transactions.
Requires Simple Equipment
The avalanche consensus protocol does not require specialized hardware to reach high-performance numbers. The system can carry out up to 4500transactions per second in straightforward equipment. It does not require complex computer systems; recruiting participants is diverse, which is key to getting virtuous transactions and keeping the system decentralized.
Accessible to Masses
Unlike in the Nakamoto protocol, the avalanche has no known number of participants; thus, the network is accessible to masses. A validator only queries a small number of subsamples, and this gives room for many more people to participate, up to millions, while still keeping the system decentralized.
Energy-Efficient/ Less Electricity Consumption
Avalanche only works during transactions and is inactive the rest of the time in a low energy consumption state. The Nakamoto consensus relies on proof of work, which involves mining. Mining on the blockchain is cumbersome, time-consuming, and complicated. In contrast, the avalanche consensus relies on random sampling and metastable mechanisms.
Solves Conflicting Transactions
The finalization of transactions lacking conflict happens immediately. Extra attention is only given to problematic cases, and this saves a lot of time and energy.
Avalanche consensus works with many validators who have met strict criteria and have a first hand say in the consensus. It reduces the chance of large class attacks and compromises of large stakeholders. For example, mining requires a lot of resources and skills to be done. It is limiting, and only well off companies participate. Hence they have a lot of control, thus compromising the decentralization nature.
On the other hand, there are concerns about how much information can be stored in the avalanche system. Every ledger must maintain a copy of the correct DAG Ledger, affecting latency issues in the future.
The avalanche protocol still holds traditional protocols’ benefits and strengths while reducing the labor and resources required to function. Once adopted, it can be used on its own or interchangeably with other consensus mechanisms. The avalanche consensus protocol provides an advanced platform for blockchain creation and app-launching to achieve higher performance.
In cryptocurrencies, it will reduce operational costs and ensure cryptos remain trustless, controlling the influence mining companies currently have on digital asset prices. New cryptocurrencies that adopt avalanche are bound to be faster, efficient, and could be more successful in the market.