Secret Network is excited to announce our integration into Babylon testnet! Babylon combines two popular consensus mechanisms: Bitcoin's Proof-of-Work (PoW), and Cosmos SDK’s Proof-of-Stake (POS), to get the best of both worlds.
PoW or PoS? Why not both?
As blockchains have gained popularity, two consensus mechanisms have risen above the rest. Bitcoin's revolutionary Proof-of-Work protocol created the standard in decentralized security yet left users wanting a more efficient, streamlined network that created blocks faster.
One of the strategies used to improve this problem was forgoing Proof-of-Work in favor of Proof-of-Stake, a more efficient and streamlined consensus mechanism where invested stakers take turns forming blocks.
This replaced the random, energy-consuming PoW in favor of a representative network where users would delegate voting power to a validator that would form blocks. The tradeoff? Less security for increased efficiency.
PoS leaves more attack vectors, including a Stake Reuse Attack. In this attack, a malicious validator reuses its stake by strategically unstaking from the main chain and creating a separate attack chain through a temporary fork.
But what if PoW's timestamped verification could be incorporated into an existing chain? This is where Babylon Chain comes in! They're taking the best of both consensus mechanisms by using both in concert, giving efficient PoS chains Bitcoin PoW's premier security.
Babylon has pulled the best security characteristics from the Bitcoin Blockchain and is incorporating them into native, more efficient PoS chains. So let's take a deep dive to learn how Babylon functions.
How it works
The best way to stop a stake reuse attack is to establish a social consensus or an agreement on the chain's current state, ensuring that an attack chain can't be created. There are multiple ways to achieve social consensus, and many protocols use a staking lock-up period. It takes 21 days for SCRT to unstake, ensuring there will be definitive on-chain consensus before restaking.
A 21-day wait to use or restake isn't ideal. So what if they're was a way to establish social consensus quickly?
Using an external chain's PoW to timestamp PoS blocks, establishing social consensus in just a matter of hours instead of weeks. The PoW-generated timestamp can act as a way to establish social consensus by establishing agreement on the state of the chain.
So why isn't every PoS chain running to Bitcoin for PoW proofs to establish chain consensus?
Bitcoin's traditionally low throughput comes with related scalability issues, significantly compromising efficiency and consistency. Mass adoption of this technique would render it ineffective.
And this is the exact problem that Babylon solves! Babylon is a timestamp aggregation service for multiple PoS chains. Instead of multiple PoS chains turning to Bitcoin separately for a timestamped proof, Babylon Chain collectively submits multiple PoS requests for a Bitcoin proof in one transaction, limiting the strain on Bitcoin's network.
Since only one transaction is submitted for multiple PoS chains, Babylon Chain's impact on the Bitcoin network is minimal.
Babylon's protocol combines Proof-of-Stake's energy efficiency and speed with Bitcoin's premier security powered by Proof-of-Work, taking the best from each consensus mechanism.
Want to learn more about Babylon integrating with Secret Network? Check out Babylon's announcement blog:
Keep an eye out for future updates on this integration, as Babylon gets closer to its mainnet launch!