Fietsen Wim De Glas

Difference between Proof of Work PoW and Proof of Stake PoS in blockchain

Cryptocurrency is decentralized and needs to be verified by computers to make the transactions visible. Both proof of work and proof of stake help users perform secure transactions by making it difficult and expensive for bad actors to commit fraud. They make participants prove they have supplied a resource to the blockchain such as energy, computing power or money.

These validators then approve and verify the transaction and add it to the next block on the blockchain distributed ledger. The maximum stakeholder in the network has the advantage and more power. To prevent attacks, which make it possible to spend funds twice, Bitcoin uses the proof-of-work consensus algorithm.

Whether the crypto wallet requires multiple keys to authorize a transaction as an extra layer of security. If you had enough money to meet the minimum staking requirement (which most people don’t) then you can guarantee yourself a very good return on your investment. Those who have the most money will always have the best chance of winning the reward, making the rich richer. Once this is achieved, not only is the transaction marked as valid, but it is also posted to the public blockchain for everybody to view. You might be wondering why somebody would buy hardware and consume lots of electricity just to help confirm Bitcoin transactions.

Nominated PoS (NPoS)

Now, each PoS system is slightly different from the other one, which makes it unique. However, in general, every PoS blockchain uses a network of validators who contribute to the project, not by adding electricity, but by funds. They stake their own cryptocurrencies in exchange for a chance to validate transactions and receive compensation for their efforts. In traditional finance, banks, Visa, PayPal, and other centralized services do this, but in crypto, we use consensus mechanisms. Essentially, these are the systems that allow the computers in a crypto network to agree about which transactions are legitimate and record them as true on the blockchain. If they did control more than half of the network, the bad actor could broadcast a bad block to the network and have their nodes accept the block to the chain.

In doing so, they guard against “51% attacks,” which is when someone accumulates more than half of the computing power in a distributed network and can then control it. Cryptocurrencies are trying to change the way the world does business. They aim to streamline the process of various transactions — from lending money to opening a bank account. Instead, the network must verify transaction data to make sure all information is accurate. These terms represent different methods for validating blockchain transactions—an operation that’s critical to a blockchain network’s success.

  • If a computer tries to manipulate or commit fraudulent transactions on a network, it will be known through the public, immutable nature of the blockchain.
  • The system still uses a cryptographic algorithm, but the objective of the mechanism is different.
  • For example, Binance is based in Tokyo, Japan, while Bittrex is located in Liechtenstein.
  • Whether the crypto wallet requires multiple keys to authorize a transaction as an extra layer of security.
  • As a result, Kazakhstan became a mining hotspot alongside Iran and the United States.

Different blockchains use different methods to achieve this consensus. However, there are two in particular that are most used, proof of work (PoW) and proof of stake (PoS). Proof of work is the consensus mechanism used by the most popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Proof of stake is used by well-known cryptocurrencies like Cardano, Avalanche, and Polkadot. Developers are continuously coming up with new ways to achieve consensus on a blockchain.

This wallet freezes the coins, meaning that they are being used to stake the network. Most Proofs of Stake blockchains have a minimum requirement of coins required to start staking, which of course requires a large upfront investment. Both of these models are called ‘consensus mechanisms’, and they are a current requirement to confirm transactions that take place on a blockchain, without the need for a third party. Proof of Stake supporters argue that PoS has some benefits over PoW, especially regarding scalability and transaction speed. It’s also said that PoS coins are less harmful to the environment when compared to PoW. In contrast, many PoW supporters argue that PoS, as a newer technology, is yet to prove its potential in terms of network security.

Proof of Stake

As you can imagine, thousands of people use Bitcoin, Ethereum and other blockchains that use the Proof of Work model. In my example below, I am going to use Bitcoin, however, the process is the same across alternative Proof of Work blockchains. Anyway, the first-ever blockchain project to use the Proof of Stake model was Peercoin.


Proof of work uses significantly more energy because of its authentication model that uses high-powered computers. After a miner verifies a block, it is added to the chain, and the miner receives cryptocurrency for their fee along with their original stake. If the miner does not verify the block correctly, the miner’s stake or coins can be lost. By making miners put up stake, they are less likely to steal coins or commit other fraud — providing another layer of security. The key difference between proof of work and proof of stake is how the blockchain algorithm qualifies and chooses users for adding transactions to the blockchain.

The initial benefits include a fairer and more equal mining system, more scalable transactions and less reliance on electricity. Cryptography uses mathematical equations that are so difficult that only powerful computers can solve them. No equation is ever the same, meaning that once it is solved, the network knows that the transaction is authentic. In essence, PoW determines how the Bitcoin blockchain achieves distributed consensus.

This is, of course, much more energy efficient because the work is no longer necessary. In addition, transactions might go through quicker; for Ethereum, this is not the case just yet though. Proof-of-stake Ethereum can pay for its security by issuing far fewer coins than proof-of-work Ethereum because validators do not have to pay high electricity costs. As a result, ETH can reduce its inflation or even become deflationary when large amounts of ETH are burned. Lower inflation levels mean Ethereum’s security is cheaper than it was under proof-of-work.

According to the Ethereum Foundation, any transaction now consumes ~99.95 percent less energy than previously. This could be a point in favour of proof-of-work as it is harder to introduce bugs or unintended effects into simpler protocols accidentally. However, the complexity has been tamed by years of research and development, simulations, and testnet implementations. The proof-of-stake protocol has been independently implemented by five separate teams (on each of the execution and consensus layers) in five programming languages, providing resilience against client bugs.

For example, the University of Cambridge estimates that Bitcoin — which uses proof of work for mining — consumes about .39% of the world’s annual electricity. Bitcoin mining uses more electricity annually than the countries of Finland and Belgium. I believe that the Proof of Stake model is a much better model than Proof of Work because it solves lots of issues, which I will now break down for you.