Consensus Mechanism: Proof of Participation

Gepubliceerd op 30 oktober 2022 om 10:00

Proof of Participation is one of the many consensus mechanisms that exist today. Consensus mechanisms ensure that the blockchain remains secure and that the nodes that verify transactions on the blockchain can be rewarded. The consensus mechanism in a blockchain therefore plays an incredibly important role. 

What is the proof of participation?

Proof of Participation (PoP) is an unknown consensus mechanism. The reason is, is that almost no blockchain uses it. The reason is not that it is a bad consensus mechanism, but because it is a very new algorithm.

The PoP itself chooses which node can verify the transaction/block. This node is then rewarded by being allowed to verify a transaction.

With each transaction, the algorithm chooses a random node that is allowed to verify a transaction on the blockchain. The PoP does this based on the participation score. The score says something about how much a particular node contributes to the blockchain. The higher this score is, the higher the chance that this node is allowed to verify the transaction on the blockchain and therefore receives a reward in the form of a block reward. Only the node that is designated to be allowed to verify a transaction gets a reward.

If a node has achieved a score of zero, that node is removed from the blockchain. Once the node is removed from the blockchain, it can no longer participate in the blockchain network. Similarly, if the node does something illegal and does something that is against the rules of the network, that node can also be removed from the blockchain.

A node's participation is measured by a type of ticket system. When a node is designated to verify a transaction and subsequently does so, it receives a ticket. Each ticket contains a certain value. This value is based on the quality of transactions the node has performed in the past. The better the quality of the verification, the higher the value of the ticket. You can think of the speed of verification and that the verification of the transaction goes according to the rules.

When the node verifies a transaction, it adds a new tickets. The other nodes of the network then calculate what the value of the ticket is. Based on this value, the node's score goes up or down.

A node with a high score and good, quality transactions, has a higher chance of being chosen by the PoP to verify a transaction. As a result, a node that participates well and and does a good job of verifying transactions, may receive more rewards (because it may verify transactions more often). 

A node that has just joined the PoP network has little chance of being able to verify a transaction in the beginning, as it still needs to build a name and get quality tickets. Because the PoP randomly selects nodes, new entrants also have a chance to verify more transactions in the future.

Idea behind PoP

The idea behind PoP is to create a safer and stronger consensus mechanism compared to the other existing consensus mechanisms. This is because with the PoP, nodes are rewarded based on how well they participate in the network, and not based on how big their computing power is - as with the Proof of Work in bitcoin.

In this way, the PoP is more secure than other consensus mechanisms. Nodes that participate closely or try to manipulate the blockchain receive a lower score. If that node has reached a score of 0, then it will be removed from the network. This leaves only the nodes that are doing a good job and therefore have a higher chance of being allowed to verify the transaction.

It is worth noting that it is not the case that the node removed from the network loses his or her crypto asset. That is not the case. With the Proof of Stake consensus mechanism, that does happen. It doesn't matter which way you are removed from the network. Your accumulated crypto through verifying transactions will never be able to be taken away by the (PoP) network.

It also makes sense for the network to remove malfunctioning or manipulative nodes from the network. If a node does not perform well, it only works against the network. Also, every node knows what rules are in place. Therefore, a node that misbehaves will be removed from the network without mercy. Randomly removing nodes from the network is not possible. It is the network that decides, not one node or a group of nodes.

A question that can be asked is whether it is possible if 50%+1 of the network work together to carry out a so-called 50%-attack. This is not possible at a PoP. Each node works for itself and is independent. Each node has to struggle to verify transactions. Thus, the PoP always ensures that never two transactions in a row can be verified by the same node and it is not cost-effective to work together.

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