The Bitcoin network’s proof-of-work consensus mechanism could become a useful means of protecting various blockchain smart contract protocols proof-of-stake (PoS) thanks to the efforts of a Stanford University professor.
David Tse and his research team are pushing the use of the preeminent cryptocurrency to provide increased security for PoS networks. The Babylon blockchain, of which Tse is a co-founder, intends to use bitcoin (BTC) to bolster network security and incentivize BTC holders to participate in what is apparently a new approach that allows bitcoin staking on proof-of-stake chains.
In an interview with Cointelegraph, Tse described how Babylon uses the bitcoin scripting language to connect a PoS-based staking mechanism to the Bitcoin network. This allows the creation of smart contracts that can set specific spending conditions:
“Although the bitcoin scripting language is limited in its ability to express complex spend conditions, we have used advanced cryptography to translate the slash conditions of a PoS chain into a spendable transaction on the bitcoin blockchain.”
Tse said Babylon’s BTC staking protocol allows BTC to secure PoS chains without tampering or forking the bitcoin blockchain. This also allows BTC holders to earn rewards for contributing to the security of PoS networks by staking their BTC.
“Our method essentially transforms the fork condition of a proof-of-stake chain into a spendable bitcoin transaction. This way, the staked BTC does not need to be bridged to the PoS chain.”
The Stanford professor added that the simplicity of the approach also maximizes the security of blockchains by avoiding potential vulnerabilities associated with cross-chain bridges. As Cointelegraph has widely reported, cross-chain hacks and exploits have been prevalent, leading to more than $2 billion worth of cryptocurrency being stolen last year.
Bitcoin remains the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and continues to operate to the original specifications laid out by its pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto.
Nevertheless, The ecosystem has seen renewed interest and growth with the appearance of bitcoin ordinalswhich allow users to enroll non-fungible tokens into individual satoshisthe smallest denomination of a unit of BTC.
In the same way, Tse believes that protocols like Babylon extend bitcoin’s utility beyond being a simple store of value or medium of exchange by sharing bitcoin’s strong security with other chains and applications:
“Our goal is to scale bitcoin security in a similar way to Ethereum scaling efforts, effectively sharing bitcoin’s robust security with the rest of the decentralized world.”
The broader cryptocurrency ecosystem continues to develop new approaches to consensus on the blockchain. Proof-of-stake chains have benefited and are rapidly adopting new approaches such as zero-knowledge proofs (ZK-proofs). StarkWare co-founder Eli Ben-Sasson, a pioneer of this technology, also believes that ZK tests could greatly benefit to the proof-of-work based Bitcoin blockchain.
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