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Cardano to mint 4,000,000 blocks with Proof-of-Stake

Published 8.3.2023

Cardano switched to Proof-of-Stake consensus on July 29, 2020. This was in epoch 208 and the first block was minted by one of the Genesis pools operated by IOG. The block had a Height of 4,490,511. 10 days later, the first community pool minted a block. The pool had the ticker 1PCT6. This occurred in epoch 211 and slot 449. Shortly after, in slot 729, the second block minted by the community pool occurred. The pool had the ticker CRDNS and was operated by Cardanians. The third place belongs to the pool with the ticker JAPAN2. Let's add that there were 400 pools up and running when Cardano switched to PoS. Today, all the blocks are minted by community pools. There are 3200 registered pools, and approximately 1200 of them produce blocks. At the time of writing the article is missing about two days before the small anniversary. Cardano will soon celebrate 4,000,000 blocks minted through the PoS consensus.

TLDR

  • So far, Cardano needed no coordinated restart of the network. There was no major issue related to PoS.
  • Cardano mints roughly 4,320 blocks per day.
  • So far, PoS has successfully passed the test of time for the third year.

Third year with Proof-of-Stake

By mid-2023, Cardano will be using PoS for the third year in a row. So far, there have been no serious network problems or the need for a coordinated restart. We only observed a minor problem, which basically proved that Cardano is a robust network that is able to withstand sudden shocks.

In January 2023 a transient anomaly occurred in the Cardano network. It caused a disconnection and automatic restart of about 50% of the nodes in the network. Some nodes disconnected from peers. Some others automatically restarted. Most of the affected nodes automatically recovered and resumed the service. The network behaved exactly as expected. The impact of the incident on block production was short and negligible.

It can be said that PoS is slowly but surely a technology that is passing the test of time and can gain more trust from users. Cardano mints approximately 4,320 blocks per day. Over 1200 pools and almost 1,300,000 stakers participate in this activity.

By comparison, the longest-running public blockchain is Bitcoin, which launched in 2009. Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus has since mined 780,000 blocks. PoW has been around for a longer time but has produced around 5x fewer blocks. Cardano produces 30x more blocks per day than Bitcoin.

Many people used to be skeptical about the creation of PoS, arguing that this consensus would not work for many reasons. They often argued that without a connection to the physical world through energy and hardware, security could not be guaranteed. Time proved them wrong. Modern cryptography can provide similarly strong security as the energy consumed.

The vectors to attack the networks are of course different for PoW and PoS, but they are not different in principle. An attacker needs a large enough amount of money to control more than half of the resource, be it coins or energy and hardware.

Technological progress increases efficiency, and the network consensus of the global decentralized network is no exception. Cardano produces blocks 30x faster than Bitcoin and is more than 99% more energy efficient. At the same time, Cardano's decentralization is significantly higher, for example, according to the Nakamoto coefficient.

Let's add that Cardano is not the only blockchain that uses PoS. There are other networks. Ethereum switched to PoS last year. There are many different implementations of PoS and no one has yet managed to successfully attack the network through consensus. Many smaller PoW networks have been successfully attacked in the past.

Conclusion

The number of pools in the Cardano network has increased approximately 3x since the transition to PoS. The number of stakers is also increasing. This improves the decentralization of Cardano. This is not a matter of course and it is good to ask what is behind it. Many skeptics pointed out that PoS networks will not gain attention and the necessary number of people who will be interested in maintaining the network. Skeptics were wrong too. Economic incentives, i.e. staking, attract new people, including institutions. Staking on Cardano is economically accessible to almost everyone on the planet, as the entry costs are very low. Cardano has the potential to further grow. Not only in decentralization, but also in the number of users.

Cardano mints approximately 1,500,000 blocks per year. We will reach the 5,000,000 block mark around the beginning of 2024.

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