Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin unleashed a “tweet storm,” Aug. 16, presumably to succinctly explain the Casper protocol to crypto-enthusiasts while dismissing rumors and misconceptions.
The 75-tweet-long update from Buterin showcased the developer’s infuriation with commonly propagated rumors as well as fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD). He also explained Casper, the blockchain protocol’s proof-of-stake (PoS) project.
Buterin kicked off his tweet storm at the beginning when Ethereum was in its 2014 ideation states. At the time, the lesser-known, but significant, developer Vlad Zamfir was considering an incentive system that required network validators to “put down ‘deposits,’ much larger in size than rewards, which could be taken away for misbehavior.”
Despite his lack of media presence, Zamfir has devoted the lion’s share of his time to building Casper, which Buterin highlighted:
Listing the protocol’s achievements, Buterin noted the threat of “long-range attacks” as a point of discussion with Zamfir. He also said that proof-of-work loyalists argue such attacks are unavoidable with the PoS system–primarily using this argument to dismiss the consensus mechanism. That said, Buterin tweeted:
Buterin added Zamfir’s proposal was initially ignored in favor of a “consensus by bet” write-up, an article which he deemed “unproductive.”
Over time, Zamfir highlighted the fallacies in Buterin’s proposal and introduced the latter to a different, “correct-by-construction” school of thought:
At this point, Zamfir’s research set the groundwork for Casper and its Friendly Finality Gadget (FFG) update, which could overlay over any PoS system to add finality guarantees. In those years, Buterin tinkered with various iterations of the Byzantine-fault-tolerant algorithm, heavily focused on block voting mechanisms that later equated to the following article:
After much simplification of the above proposal, the Casper FFG was formed:
Buterin revealed Zamfir and himself lashed criticism at each other’s works and solutions; the two even got into disputes about finding synergy to evade 51 percent attacks. At this time, Zamfir partnered with Georgios Piliouras to estimate the cost of launching a dreaded attack on the Ethereum network:
Following endless arguments, Zamfir and Buterin reached success in their respective frameworks, with the latter addressing the “huge progress” made by FFG in regard to the Ethereum blockchain.
However, Buterin later revealed that that FFG was highly incompatible with Sharding and ESwarm, which were both upgrades to increase network scalability:
Not one to back down, Buterin shared that the team focused its research efforts on a compatible hybrid solution in sync with the evolution of the Ethereum blockchain. He then unveiled the idea of Casper’s “beacon chain” solution, which seeks to integrate all PoS protocol.
Concluding his tweet storm, Buterin highlighted several conversations with Zamfir about Leslie Lamport’s 99 percent Byzantine-fault-tolerant algorithms, GHOST-based fork choices and validation rules.
The Ethereum co-founder ended his 75-tweet long narrative on a forward-thinking note: