The current ethereum network running on Proof of Work (PoW) is to become Proof of Stake (PoS) potentially as soon as next summer according to Danny Ryan, the ethereum 2.0 coordinator.
At that point, all the dapps and the entire infrastructure is upgraded to PoS at the protocol level without requiring any changes from dapp devs.
Instead all will just need to upgrade their node, so creating the hardest of forks with the question being will the current ethereum network just keep running anyway on PoW, so creating two eths?
For an eth PoW coin to keep operating, maybe under the ticker of ETO, you either need some devs to maintain the current Geth client, which is being modified for PoS, or you practically just freeze the code, with no more changes to it.
That means there would be problems in regards to capacity, which is the whole point of the upgrade, as at some point stray blocks become so many, the chain breaks up into pieces.
However, if there is genuine interest to maintain the PoW chain, finding one or two devs to maintain it shouldn’t be too hard with the question being whether it is likely there will be such interest?
You’d think so because, why not first of all? Why wouldn’t people just keep mining it, and thus the network keeps running as if nothing has happened except there’s now less supply due to the amount sent to the staking contract.
The second and the main reason is as a backup. Ethereum has always intended to upgrade to Proof of Stake, and that will be the most dominant network by far, but it’s not too clear how smoothly these dapps will run on there in regards to cross connections through shards with the ability of contracts to talk to each other being what has given us this boom in defi inovation.
There are most probably tradeoffs, and bitcoin maxis are already meme-ing ‘what is eth’s supply?’
By that, they don’t mean current eth. They like current eth and very much and generally they think it has the same ethos as bitcoin codewise.
They mean in eth 2.0 when there are different shards with their question being how can you be sure what may be a cartel in another shard is not cheating if you’re validating on the current shard only.
It’s a good question and it can’t easily be dismissed with their point being in sharded eth you have to validate all shards to be sure no one is cheating, which to them translates to just increasing the blocksize to the point you can’t run a node.
It’s the basis of Gregory Maxwell in particular dismissing a scalable bitcoin as ‘impossible’ because fraud proofs are ‘impossible.’
Fraud proofs as you may know are mentioned in the bitcoin whitepaper as the solution to scalability, but bitcoin devs – well the half of them that prevailed – think it can’t be done.
For eth, Vitalik Buterin, its founder, published a paper on fraud proofs two years ago. It’s not clear however whether that went anywhere.
There are also other less technical tradeoffs. Once PoS, it will be impossible to get eth unless you buy it from someone else.
Its nature therefore changes somewhat, and depending on what you want to argue it either changes fully or it doesn’t change at all.
While for current eth, gamers or anyone else can mine it, so gaining eth without having to go through a third party.
Then there’s the question of just how gameable is PoS. Something we don’t really know because there hasn’t been a prominent network that is in much demand on PoS.
Eth devs have of course added tons of mechanisms to ensure it’s not gameable, but that’s another reason why ETO could well have value and thus miners and thus can keep running.
It would be at a significantly higher inflation rate than eth however, which would be at 0.22% a year or so once it PoS-es, while it currently runs at 4%.
Yet that can be changed if they want to change it, with the only question left being why not just ETC instead of ETO-ing?
Primarily because no one likes ETC and a bit more objectively, they’ve made too many changes plus all the dapps are not running on there.
Instead if there are two coins, ETH and ETO, this would be the most amicable ‘split’ so far with good reasons for there to be such a split as there’s no reason why there shouldn’t be one.
PoS is great and that always has been the plan and that sweet deflation when eth finally does upgrade will ensure everyone uses that as eth, but the market likes choices when there are tradeoffs and it’s not so much whether the tradeoff is good or bad as much as that there is one and therefore the alternative has value.
Meaning if there is such ‘split,’ which isn’t a split at all, it may well be that new value is created while just letting the PoW chain die might destroy a bit of value, although this has never happened before so who on earth knows what the market thinks.