March 20, 2024

Decoding Powerledger's validator framework and the potential of Proof-of-Stake blockchain

Explore Powerledger's Proof-of-Stake blockchain potential through validation.
Powerledger public blockchain: Better, faster, and energy efficient 

On 31 July 2023, Powerledger launched its own public blockchain based on Solana code, but with customisations tailored for Powerledger’s energy marketplaces and other distributed energy applications. The new Powerledger blockchain (PLBC) offers a combination of low fees and high throughput required to process high-frequency micro transactions for distributed energy marketplaces, for example, peer-to-peer energy trading and tracking. Due to the efficiency of the proof-of-stake and proof-of-history , the PLBC has remarkable energy efficiency improvements over other layer-1 protocols on a per-transaction basis.

Truly decentralised validation

PLBC is a high performance, open, proof-of-stake blockchain that securely processes transactions and stores data without relying on an additional layer. The open nature of the PLBC not only allows for universal participation but encourages it. Anyone can validate transactions, if they choose to set up and maintain the required validator infrastructure. From individual users, to large corporations, setting up a validator is a straightforward process that ensures the decentralised nature of the PLBC and democratises on-chain governance.

But what are validators exactly?

Validators are the entities responsible for validating transactions and creating blocks on the PLBC, which requires them to operate specialised hardware and run blockchain protocols. As compensation for these critical services, validators receive newly minted tokens that come from inflation (“staking rewards”). Staking rewards are directly tied to validators’ performance, which ensures a high standard of network maintenance.

Validators can be located anywhere in the world as long as they have: high speed internet access, enough storage space (for the copy of the ledger that each validator stores), enough computer power in terms of processing units, memory, and a reliable power source.

In order to validate transactions, validators run a validator node, the basic transaction processing unit on the PLBC. Each validator node, whether it is physical or on a virtual computer executes the validator software which is responsible for confirming if groups of transactions are valid and ultimately finalising transactions by agreeing on blocks produced by a leader node.

What differentiates validators on Powerledger from miners on Bitcoin?

In the digital world, trust is paramount, especially when it involves value transfer. Unlike traditional systems where banks play the intermediaries, validating transactions and ensuring authenticity, blockchain systems operate differently. They rely on cryptographic techniques and consensus mechanisms to establish trust. For blockchain protocols, trust hinges on a shared ledger that is considered the absolute truth of the system's state. This is achieved through a blend of mathematics, economics and game theory, encouraging a specified majority of participants to reach consensus on the ledger's state.

PLBC’s approach, drawing from Solana’s Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, differs significantly from the energy-intensive Proof-of-Work (PoW) model used by networks like Bitcoin. In comparison to traditional PoW consensus mechanisms, where the right to create a block is earned by being the first to complete computational tasks, in PoS validators process transactions and assemble them into blocks based on the share of tokens that are delegated to them compared to the rest of the validators on the network. 

Implementing a token delegation requirement safeguards the network against hostile takeovers by ensuring that malevolent entities cannot dominate unless they possess the majority of the staked value. Thus, the more tokens a validator holds, the more likely he is to be chosen to forge new blocks. This also makes Powerledger’s PoS model vastly more energy-efficient and scalable and intrinsically aligns with Powerledger’s mission of creating a more sustainable and green future.

Incentives and impact of validators in Powerledger’s network

Validators are economically incentivised through the use of transaction fees and staking rewards. These staking rewards, or commonly referred to as block rewards, are integrated at the protocol level through “inflation”. Here, inflation refers to the increase in the total supply of the PLBC’s native token over time, which is programmed into the blockchain protocol and happens automatically. Validators thus receive a portion of this inflation based on their stake weight and performance in return for the CPU/GPU resources necessary to process transactions. 

Additionally, the protocol-captured minimum fee amount per transaction provides long-term economic stability to the network and reduces network spam. This not only aligns validators' interests with the long-term security and robustness of the network but ensures the integrity of the PLBC’s code through well-designed economic incentives for validators to provide the services.

Apart from above mentioned economic incentives, validators are also integral to the network’s governance process. Validators and token holders can participate  in a “social consensus” among qualified participants regarding matters like forks and protocol upgrades, by adopting or not adopting the proposed changes (for validators) or supporting or not supporting the validators that implement the changes. This allows interested stakeholders to participate in shaping the direction and policies of the blockchain. 

The shift from energy-intensive PoW systems to more sustainable PoS models highlights the eco-friendly ethos that forms the foundation of validators' work. By staking their tokens, validators become key players in the operations of public blockchains, guaranteeing the blockchain runs smoothly and securely.  Given that it is easier for a small number of “wealthy” validators to coordinate compared to a large number of less wealthy ones, it becomes evident why having many validators (regardless of size) is a benefit to the overall security of the protocol.

Why should you consider becoming a validator on PLBC?

As a validator on PLBC, you're not just part of any blockchain, you are driving the transformation of the energy sector. Powerledger's unique position in leveraging blockchain for energy trading offers validators the chance to be at the forefront of an environmental revolution by enhancing transparency and efficiency  in the distributed energy market. The rewards are twofold: tangible, in the form of staking rewards, and intangible, through contributing to a sustainable future by accelerating a shift towards clean energy transition.

If you are a Web3 enthusiast or a crypto veteran looking to make a real impact, consider becoming a PLBC validator. You have the opportunity not just to earn rewards but also to be part of a community reshaping the future of energy trading. Visit the link to start your journey and join a network of pioneers.

An alternative to validator nodes: staking POWR tokens

Powerledger’s PoS energy blockchain allows to build and scale energy projects across the globe, capable of processing tens of thousands of energy transactions per second. If you do not want to run your own validator node, you can still be part of securing Powerledger blockchain, by staking your POWR with one of the existing validators. Staking allows you to contribute to the network's security and efficiency while earning rewards, without the technical responsibilities of a validator. 

By staking your POWR tokens, you directly support the stability and growth of the Powerledger network. This passive involvement still plays a crucial role in the ecosystem and offers a simpler way to be part of the Powerledger revolution. Whether it's a step towards becoming a full validator in the future or a long-term strategy, staking is an accessible option for all Powerledger enthusiasts. Visit the following link to find more information on staking POWR.

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