Regardless of the Ethereum Merge being touted as a serious improve to the blockchain community, its transition to proof-of-stake theoretically makes it extra susceptible to use.
Chatting with Cointelegraph, the safety researcher defined that in contrast to proof-of-work (PoW) techniques, a proof-of-stake (PoS) system informs node validators prematurely what blocks they may validate, thus enabling them to plan assaults.
The safety skilled, who requested to not be named, is a blockchain developer and safety researcher engaged on a proof-of-stake layer-2 blockchain.
The researcher defined that an exploit might theoretically happen on the post-Merge Ethereum blockchain if validators handle to line up two consecutive blocks to validate.
“Should you management two consecutive blocks, you can begin an exploit on block N and end it on block N+1 with out having any arbitrage bot coming in and fixing the value that you’ve manipulated in between.”
“From an financial safety standpoint, [this vulnerability] makes these assaults comparatively simpler to drag off.”
The skilled mentioned that whereas it is also attainable for miners to validate consecutive blocks in PoW networks — that comes right down to “pure luck” and provides the miner no time to plan an assault.
Because of this, the safety researcher argues that Ethereum might be forgoing some power in safety when the Merge takes impact:
“As we stand proper now [with] the Ethereum proof-of-work versus Ethereum proof-of-stake, Ethereum proof-of-work does have stronger safety […] and financial ensures.”
“However that being mentioned […] proof of stake [still] has ample sensible safety [and] it would not actually matter that it is theoretically not as safe as proof-of-work. It is nonetheless a really safe system,” he added.
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The safety skilled added that “Ethereum is engaged on fixing [the consecutive block issue].
It’s a onerous drawback to unravel, but when that will get carried out, then proof-of-stake safety will [further] enhance [as] they will have safety in opposition to these assault vectors.”
Ethereum validators are topic to slashing in PoS, because the consensus guidelines had been designed to economically incentivize validators to appropriately validate incoming transactions and any conduct on the contrary would see their ETH stake slashed.
The Ethereum Merge is lastly set to happen on Sept. 15 at about 2:30am UTC, based on Blocknative’s Ethereum Merge Countdown. The transition to PoS is about to make the Ethereum community extra scalable and energy-efficient.