One of the topics often discussed in Blockchain communities is how mass adoption can be achieved. This revolves around decentralized applications, and scaling Blockchains which currently do not scale enough for widespread users globally. At a recent Keynote at Stanford University in California, founder Vlad Zamfir described what exactly Casper Labs does. But it is best described in reference to their GitHub:
“CBC Casper is a family of “correct-by-construction” consensus protocols that share the same proof of asynchronous, Byzantine fault tolerant consensus safety. We describe this family of protocols by defining their protocol states and protocol state transitions, and then we provide a proof of Byzantine fault tolerant consensus safety for the entire Minimal CBC Casper family of protocols. We give examples of members of this family of protocols, including a binary consensus protocol. “Casper the Friendly Ghost”, a blockchain consensus protocol, and a sharded blockchain consensus protocol. Each of these examples is “correct-by-construction” because the way they are defined guarantees that they are part of this family of protocols, and therefore satisfy the consensus safety theorem.”
Computation for networks like Bitcoin require a high amount of energy to operate, this is why multi million dollar mining facilities are constructed to operate this network. In the old days, Bitcoin could be mined at home on regular desktop computers. Since that time, networks like Ethereum came into existence from computer engineers like Vitalik Buterin, who was an early Bitcoin enthusiast. The main problem developers at Ethereum are working on is scalability, and reducing compute power. This can be done through what is referred to as “Sharding” which is what it sounds like, broken up pieces of information – think glass, organizing it a certain way and sending it to specific locations. It can also be achieved with the “Proof of Stake” consensus mechanism which means that the creator of a new Block is chosen from a pool of users that have staked a certain amount of Cryptocurrency, so there is no puzzle to complete like Proof of Work mining, and no reward for doing so. Many developers have been in favor of this model and it continues to gain attention in the Blockchain world.
Casper Labs is also aiming to become fully decentralized which means the operation of the Blockchain will be open to anyone. Master Nodes will not exist on the network. For those who have never heard of a Master Node, a Master node is full node (a computer) that incentivizes node operators to perform the core consensus functions of running a blockchain. They want the project to be open source and run by the community and stakeholders. They are preparing governance models that would prevent any sort of centralization of this network. Currently, the governance model consist of validators, core devs, node operators, app owners, end users, token holders, and software licensees and will utilize a voting structure between these entities.
The team for Casper Labs is comprised of Blockchain veterans such as Vlad Zamfir and developer Michael Birch. Based on research done here at Blocktrak, this is one of dozens of initiatives in the Blockchain ecosystem with the goal of scalability. It is worth noting.