Starcoin Enhanced PoW Consensus: A Choice Not a Reinvention

Published at February 20, 2023 By Starcoin.


Starcoin Network is a decentralized hierarchical smart contract finance network which adopts the enhanced Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus method to oversee transactions on its network and ensure the integrity of data.

Since the first transaction on the Bitcoin network, the PoW algorithm has paved the way for consensus mechanisms. It is described as the most reliable and secure consensus algorithm in existence today.

This is mostly because PoW meets the majority of the requirements for an ideal blockchain. According to the blockchain trilemma, a ‘complete’ blockchain system must possess the qualities of decentralization, security, and scalability. PoW emphasizes decentralization and security. However, in its strengths lies its weakness.

The weakness of PoW consensus is the lack of scalability. This is caused by the system’s reliance on a distributed network of nodes. This is because they need to agree in their majority, to describe the current state of the blockchain, before a new block of transactions is confirmed. While this largely provides security and emphasizes decentralization, usually over other consensus mechanisms, it limits the potential of PoW to be used on a larger scale.

Enter Starcoin…

Starcoin adopts the enhanced PoW algorithm because it shares in Proof-of-Work’s value for security and decentralization; two key aspects of the original vision for crypto currencies. However, where the traditional PoW system has held back on scalability, Starcoin enhances the network and complements the efforts of PoW via its innovative layered structure.

Starcoin’s version of PoW is generally aimed at providing users with a rich, seamless blockchain experience; one that really lays the foundation for mass adoption.

In line with its vision of a new generation public chain, Starcoin provides practical insight into what a fully decentralized, secure and scalable network looks like.

The improvements that Starcoin offers to PoW consensus and blockchain in general indicate its commitment to activate the technology’s application in more fields with a lower threshold.

From a technical perspective, Starcoin’s proof-of-work consensus provides several improvements compared to the traditional Nakamoto consensus:

  1. A more precise and faster response to changes in the network’s hash rate.
  2. A more stable block production time achieved by adjusting the difficulty level to prevent drastic fluctuations in the face of occasional changes in block production time.
  3. Shorter block production time, with block production time adjusted to the level of 10 seconds.

To achieve these improvements, we have strengthened the Nakamoto consensus in the following ways:

  1. Introducing epochs and uncle blocks to dynamically adjust the block production time and achieve faster block production speeds.
  2. Introducing block height as a weight in the calculation of difficulty to make block production time more stable.

This is a technical overview of Starcoin’s proof-of-work consensus.In summary, Starcoin’s choice of PoW and its interesting enhancements have produced a profound attempt at a translation of the ideal blockchain.