Vitalik Buterin: Bitcoin could switch to proof-of-stake if attacked

Vitalik Buterin Bitcoin
Credit: Unsplash/Flickr

Vitalik Buterin Bitcoin
Credit: Unsplash/Flickr

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin shared insights on the proof-of-stake and how Bitcoin could ever switch to it.

With the Ethereum Merge date approaching next week, the price of Ethereum is also gaining momentum. Alongside that, Ethereum's shift to PoS is leading crypto users to ask what is stopping Bitcoin from moving.

Such ideas have been rejected in the past, considering that the changes may see the blockchain face negative consequences. Buterin reiterated that Bitcoin can transition to PoS but dubbed it a "painful transition."

Bitcoin could switch to proof-of-stake if attacked: Vitalik Buterin

In an interview with Noah Smith, Vitalik Buterin shared his opinion on Bitcoin's proof-of-work consensus and its security.

Buterin said he is worried about the security of Bitcoin due to tworeasons.

He said Bitcoin fees may not be a credible factor to help BTC miners survive in the long run. He further said BTC fees might not be an attractive incentive for miners to secure the network in the long run which, according to Buterin, has the potential to become a multi-trillion dollar system. Buterin said:

Bitcoin security is going to come entirely from fees, and Bitcoin is just not succeeding at getting the level of fee revenue required to secure what could be a multi-trillion-dollar system. Bitcoin fees are about $300,000 per day and haven't grown that much over the last five years. Ethereum is much more successful because the Ethereum blockchain is much more designed to support usage and applications.

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According to Buterin, the PoW consensus provides much less security per than proof-of-stake consensus.

Proof of work provides much less security per dollar spent on transaction fees than proof of stake, and Bitcoin migrating away from proof of work seems to be politically infeasible.

He later illustrated the anomaly, giving an example of what a Bitcoin future would look like when there's $5 trillion of Bitcoin, but only $5 billion to execute a successful attack on the chain.

Buterin said that in such a case, the network will organically consider shifting to PoS. However, he labelled the said transition as "painful" for the network.

What would a future look like when there’s $5 trillion of Bitcoin, but it only takes $5 billion to attack the chain? Of course, if Bitcoin gets attacked, I do expect that the political will to switch to at least hybrid proof of stake will quickly appear, but I expect that to be a painful transition.

As The Merge is just a week away, Buterin's vision to see Ethereum shift to PoS is finally here. Of course, The Merge isn't without its own difficulties, with talk of an Ethereum Hard Fork remaining in the background.

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