5 Years of Ethereum Proof of Work: What Did We Study?


Proof of Work, a consensus mechanism, has proved to be the spine of some of the main and widely-adopted blockchain networks. These embrace Ethereum, Litecoin, and, of course, Bitcoin.

Many from the blockchain trade have puzzled how come Proof of Work (PoW) remained so resilient over all these years. Some are even baffled by its resilience because it has withstood an extended record of challenges like development, efficiency, and safety points over time.

Key Takeaways From 5 Years of PoW

The under takeaways are taken from Consensys’ report that critiques 5 years of proof of work for Ethereum.

51% Owned by two mining swimming pools

51% of Ethereum community’s hash charge was owned by two mining swimming pools and this has occurred twice in all of Ethereum’s existence till now.

There’s one actually fascinating prevalence that has been discovered with Ethereum mining. The miner rely declined within the 12 months after the DAO. This decline occurred on the time when the quantity of payout addresses was rising. The value of Ethereum was hovering within the center of 2017 however the quantity of mining counts was at an all-time low with simply 61 lively mining swimming pools.


The quantity of lively mining swimming pools began growing in mid-2018 with the autumn within the costs of ETH. This meant that there was an inverse relationship between the mining pool rely and ETH value. The rationale behind this might be the rise and reduce within the block reward incentive among the many miners.

Ethereum Community Hashrate. Supply: Etherscan


With the lower within the quantity of block rewards from 5 to three, there is a rise within the value of ETH. This results in a rise within the required hash charge, which, in flip, causes a lower in miner incentives. Thus, a majority of miners now transfer to a blockchain which gives greater probabilities of rewards.

ow, the remaining particular person miners be part of the mining pool as that will increase the chance of incomes block rewards – instantly resulting in a decline within the quantity of lively miners.

The 56 Swimming pools’ Management

For the previous 2 years, 56 of the recognized mining swimming pools account for the overwhelming majority of all block rewards that had been received by miners on the Ethereum blockchain.

The identical 56 recognized mining swimming pools additionally account for the overwhelming majority of ETH’s hash charge for the previous two years. This acts as an indication of stability but in addition acts as a robust argument for the centralization PoW creates.

Why Did Consensys Create Such a Knowledge-driven Evaluation of Proof Work?

Consensys is continuous its work to develop Ethereum 2.zero and retire the PoW chain within the course of. Therefore, they should have a transparent understanding of the advantages of Proof of Work consensus, together with its shortcomings.

One other main motive behind this data-driven evaluation is that almost all of Ethereum will proceed to function on the PoW chain for no less than the subsequent few years. Due to this fact, the Consensys workforce desires to gather as a lot information as potential in regards to the consensus mechanism that’s supporting the Ethereum ecosystem earlier than retiring it.

Ethereum 2.zero Will Go Stay With Proof of Stake

On this part, we are going to speak in regards to the challenges which are confronted by Proof of Work and the way Proof of Stake is healthier and extra superior in comparison with it. Proof of Stake will clear up the important thing points of accessibility, scalability, and centralization, that’s related to the Proof of Work consensus algorithm.

The upcoming Ethereum 2.zero will quickly go reside with Proof of Stake however this doesn’t imply that Proof of Work will stop to exist. It would proceed to function for just a few extra years. The rationale behind that is that the brand new community of Proof of Stake will likely be examined and additional developed for the subsequent few years.

Till part 1.5, the Ethereum blockchain will proceed to function on the Proof of Work chain. Nevertheless, the PoW chain will merge with the PoS chain after part 1.5.

Why is Proof of Work Essential?

Proof of Work hasn’t behaved like the opposite rising applied sciences within the face of rising challenges. Now, the query that arises is how necessary is Proof of Work?

An important position that Proof of Work performs is that it helps decentralized networks and has confirmed to be a really secured mechanism for it.

Why do decentralized networks even require PoW’s assist? The reply is fairly simple – The decentralized community can’t perform with out the proactive participation of many competing and unconnected node operators.

Points With Proof of Work

Proof of Work has confirmed fairly safe general and has remained resilient regardless of being in operation for some of probably the most extensively adopted blockchain networks. There is just one exception to it and this incident occurred in January 2019 with Ethereum Traditional experiencing a 51% assault.

We have described all good issues about Proof of Work thus far however does it imply that all the pieces is nice and dandy thus far with it? After all not. There are some main points with it that we’ll discover on this article.

Proof of Work isn’t very versatile in phrases of use because it can’t be carried out in networks which have much more complicated utility. Straightforwardly talking, there’s no use of Proof of Work in something aside from the switch of wealth. The problems confronted by the PoW networks might be categorized below three classes and these are Accessibility, Centralization, and Scalability.

Ethereum’s three Fundamental Issues With Proof of Work (PoW)


The present mining course of isn’t accessible to the bulk as it’s fairly costly and solely wealthy folks can afford it. That is mistaken because it goes towards what blockchain stands for. Proof of Stake will clear up this problem as it is going to provide everybody an opportunity to take part in securing the community.

Want for Scalability

Proof of Work maintains the integrity of the Ethereum community and PoW is throttled by this want. However, PoS is benefited from the lower within the block affirmation latency as there isn’t a computation work concerned. Nevertheless, it doesn’t clear up the throughput limitations fully.


The truth that two mining swimming pools have accounted for over 51% of the Ethereum community’s hash charge twice within the timeline of Ethereum’s existence proves how main the difficulty of centralization is. On high of that, the costly mining course of acts as a barrier for brand spanking new miners to hitch and causes additional centralization of the miners within the Ethereum community.

Migrating from PoW to PoS

Proof of Stake removes the high-cost obstacles as there’s no want for the expensive and the validators don’t even have to fret in regards to the prices of electrical energy like they used to do on PoW chains. Nevertheless, there’s nonetheless a notable barrier of entry for Proof of Stake.

The validators should stake a set quantity of crypto to run a full node in PoS. This minimal staking requirement stands at 32 ETH for Ethereum 2.zero. Nevertheless, validators can change into half of mining swimming pools if they can’t stake 32 ETH on their very own.

As for scalability, the PoS structure will result in a course of often known as sharding with out lowering safety. The sharding course of will create a number of shard chains and every of them is succesful of processing blocks. Thus, benefiting the blockchain by processing a number of blocks directly.

PoS can be useful as it is going to result in a lower in centralization that PoW faces right now. One solely requires an web connection, a PC or perhaps a smartphone, and crypto in a non-zero quantity for participation in Proof of Stake chain. This advantages a bigger quantity of folks as a substitute of only a handful of them benefiting from the mining.


Proof of Work has proved it’s price and has been the spine of Ethereum blockchain for years. It’s anticipated to proceed its profitable momentum in years to return and can keep its usefulness for the subsequent few years.

Nevertheless, Proof of Stake and Ethereum 2.zero will convey many advantages to the Ethereum community, one of which is an enchancment to the centralization points.

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