Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, saw its price jump this week after co-founder Vitalik Buterin unveiled a proposal to streamline its proof-of-stake (PoS) system. The simplification could boost decentralization and make it easier for regular users to participate in securing the network.
In a new post, Buterin laid out his vision for tweaking Ethereum’s complex PoS infrastructure to require validating fewer signatures per block. Currently, the network processes around 28,000 signatures per slot, imposing a heavy computing load. Under Buterin’s proposal, this would drop to 8,192 signatures while still keeping over 9 million ETH slashable in case of an attack.
“This approach requires the Ethereum chain to process a huge number of signatures (~28,000 today; 1,790,000 post-SSF [single slot finality]) per slot, which is a very high load. Supporting this load entails a lot of technical sacrifices,” Buterin wrote.
By easing the burden of running validator nodes, more individuals could take part in staking their ether. This would further decentralize the network and make it more resilient. However, Buterin acknowledged tradeoffs around accountability for validators.
The steep computing requirements have increased centralization risks, with an attack currently estimated to cost attackers around $20 billion from slashed deposits. Buterin argued this is “too high a cost” and some accountability could be sacrificed to open up staking participation.
“We can afford to make some sacrifices in the matter,” he wrote. “This is why I advocate a moderate solution: one that makes some sacrifices on validator accountability, but still keeps the amount of total slashable ETH quite high.”
After the proposal’s release, Ethereum rallied to over $2,400 before cooling off around the $2,370 level. The simplification plan signals Ethereum developers’ continued efforts to scale and decentralize the network amid its merge to proof-of-stake in September.
Broader enthusiasm around the strengthening technical foundations and increased staking accessibility likely buoyed Ethereum’s price. More developments on implementing the simplified PoS mechanism could further support ETH price gains. Buterin’s proposal lays out a clear path forward for Ethereum as it continues maturing into a more decentralized and efficient smart contract platform.