Proof-of-work consensus is now used in many blockchains. But this algorithm is not without drawbacks. Chief among them is the need to perform complex calculations, which require powerful equipment. What are the additional challenges of PoW, as well as the prospects for its use in the future? Let’s analyze this point in more detail.

PoW Consensus Issues

The most “weak” sides of this algorithm are the following.

  • Consuming a lot of energy. It goes to ensure the operation of processors, as well as their cooling. Moreover, miners spend so much electricity that it would be enough to meet the needs of a small country. But since most of the electricity is now generated by burning hydrocarbons, mining causes significant harm to the environment.
  • The use of PoW consensus violates the principles of cryptocurrency decentralization. Maintaining the blockchain is easier for large corporations that have the opportunity to purchase the necessary equipment. That is, single miners are obviously put in a worse position.
  • Despite the intended decentralization, it is not always possible to achieve uniform distribution using PoW. It has already been established that 5 mining pools provide more than 50% of the hashrate of the entire Bitcoin network. That is, in theory, they can unite and carry out a 51% attack.

Prospects for PoW Consensus

Despite certain problems, you should not write off the “proof of work” in the accounts. After all, he also has positive points. Let’s call them.

  • There is no nothing-to-stake problem when using PoW. That is, the situation when the new blockchain does not have the coins necessary for validation. As a result, developers have to come up with a different mechanism for launching the emission.
  • PoW provides strong blockchain security. To validate the transactions carried out, it is necessary to confirm them at each network node. Consequently, even the theoretical possibility of hacking, as well as making unauthorized changes to the data, is excluded. However, this approach significantly slows down the work, which is observed in the bitcoin and ether blockchains.
  • The number of coins in the account does not affect the result of mining. Therefore, there is no need to block coins on the wallet. The performance of the node depends on the power of the computer equipment used, that is, there is additional protection against DoS attacks on the platform.

Like any other technology, PoW has both pros and cons. But now, for example, the Ethereum network is transitioning to the PoS consensus, which can serve as proof of the promise of this particular consensus.