To the general public, blockchain networks like Ethereum sometime seem like a magical alternative to traditional payment systems: phrases like “free transactions” and “instant payments” are common.
The reality is far less glamorous: Blockchains can be very slow, and transactions are far from free. Luckily, EtherZero and its novel consensus mechanism offers a highly promising solution.
Ethereum’s introduction of smart contracts marked a revolution in the minds of the startup community: Now anyone could create and crowdfund an innovative project without dealing with venture funds, could accept and send money without banks, and could conclude risk-free deals. Indeed, a smart contract – a program that self-executes whenever a set of predetermined conditions are met – can be written for just about any deal. Unsurprisingly, hundreds of blockchain sprung up, all using Ethereum smart contracts to distribute their tokens (with the hope that their future goods and services would be sold via smart contracts, too).
It quickly became apparent that Ethereum had flaws – serious ones. For starters, the overall speed of the network is only as high as that of each individual computer, or node, in it, which sometimes causes the system to lag and even freeze. At present, it takes several minutes (and an average fee of $0.08) to process a payment. Making Ethereum faster as it grows – scaling it – is a subject of much debate, and there is zero hope that the blockchain will reach the processing speeds of Visa or MasterCard anytime soon.
Yet another issue is the sheer wastefulness of the consensus algorithm being used: proof-of-work. As all miners race to find the solution to the cryptographic puzzle needed to complete each block and thus receive a reward, enormous amounts of electricity are used, which causes concerns for environmentalists. Finally, Ethereum smart contracts have to be written in Solidity, a language outside the skillset of the average coder.
EtherZero: from PoW to MPoS
EtherZero is a fork of Ethereum that aims to solve the current issues and create a fast, affordable, and easy-to-use framework for blockchain startups. After working on many Solidity projects for clients, the founders realized that the slowness, low efficiency, and high fees for running smart contracts were killing many promising startups. It soon became clear to the founders that in order to achieve wide adoption, the community needed a blockchain hundreds of times faster than Ethereum with zero transaction fees a different, more efficient consensus mechanism.
After months of intense work, the EtherZero team completed a new hybrid consensus protocol called MPoS, or Masternodes + Proof-of-Stake. In it, any user with at least 20,000 EtherZero coins in their wallet can launch a so-called masternode – a node that maintains an up-to-date fully copy of the blockchain in exchange for a fixed regular income. To run a masternode, a user must keep their server up and running 24/7 and have enough free space to accommodate the entire set of data (for instance, the Ethereum blockchain’s current size is circa 140 GB). The 20,000 ETZ requirement ensures that every masternode has a serious stake in the system and will not risk it by turning malicious.
Towards a faster, free, more secure environment
The EtherZero network was launched in August 2018, and its performance has far exceeded expectations. Thanks to the transfer from PoW to MpoS, the system processes around 1500 transactions per second, with an average waiting time of just about a second – as opposed to several minutes on Ethereum. The new consensus protocol also protects the system from most common types of attacks. All coin transfers are completely free, creating the perfect environment for developing new blockchain projects. What’s more, EtherZero is fully backwards compatible with all Solidity smart contracts, meaning that any contract designed for the main Ethereum network can be easily imported and activated on the EtherZero blockchain. As part of the testing process, the developers successfully imported a wide range of projects, including decentralized exchanges, token emission contracts, investment apps, and games. The framework features its own ready-to-use exchange, stable coin, wallets, e-commerce and OTC space, and much more.
The combination of an extremely high capacity and zero fees make EtherZero the perfect environment for blockchain projects of all types and sizes, from data storage to games, token offerings, and quality control. The network has been running smoothly since its launch, with the highest level of security ensured by a specially designed parameter of Power, an untraded, PoS-generated origin token that helps prevent malicious transactions.
More information about EtherZero is available here.