What is Proof of Participation (PoP)?
Proof of Participation (PoP) is a consensus algorithm that is quite unknown. Nevertheless, there are already several blockchains that use this algorithm. To understand how such blockchains work, it is important to first know how the blockchain consensus algorithm works. We will explain to you what Proof of Participation is and how this consensus algorithm works.
The reason for developing Proof of Participation
Most blockchains use the Proof of Work (PoW) consensus algorithm. This algorithm allows all participants in the network to work together to make the blockchain run. The PoW algorithm involves a miner validating all transactions the fastest so that he may add a new block to the blockchain. For this, the miner receives a reward.
Another well-known algorithm is Proof of Stake (PoS), where a validator is selected to validate the transactions and add the block to the blockchain. The selection is done based on the amount of money he puts in. This is called the stake and is similar to a deposit. The higher the stake, the higher the chance that the validator will be chosen.
The disadvantage of these algorithms is that miners and validators are selected based on how much money they have. The PoW algorithm is all about the computing power that someone can provide, which means that someone must be able to buy expensive hardware. If this does not happen, the miner will not be the first to have a new block ready. The PoS algorithm is all about the money that someone can put in.
This, according to a group of blockchain developers, was neither fair nor safe. In fact, according to them, it should be based on the quality of the work that someone provides. Not how much money someone can spend on mining or validating. This prompted the development of a new algorithm called Proof of Participation.
What is Proof of Participation?
Proof of Participation is a consensus algorithm that chooses nodes based on the quality of their work they deliver, when they validate transactions add new blocks to the blockchain.
The algorithm looks at the score of each node, and when it is high enough, the node will be allowed to add blocks to the blockchain more often. The moment the node participates well in the network, the score of that particular node will be increased.
The opposite case can also occur. Namely, when a node does not participate well in the network, its score may be decreased. This can happen when a node approves transactions wrongly, or is offline too often. In the future, the node will then be allowed to validate mineral transactions due to the low score the node has.
Who are the creators of Proof of Participation?
Roberto Capodieci (Italy) and Barton Johnston (United States) are the creators of Proof of Participation. Together with Stefano Griggio (Italy), they are also the founders and owners of the company Blockchain Zoo, which developed the first blockchain with the PoP algorithm.
How does Proof of Participation work?
The score of the nodes is called the participation score. The score is calculated by tickets. When a node has validated transactions and added a new block to the blockchain, the node receives a ticket from all other nodes. Each ticket has a different value.
The value is based on the node's work. For example, it looks at how often the node is online (and how often it is offline), whether the node has not wrongly rejected or approved transactions, as well as the speed of its work.
The better a node does its job, the higher the value of the tickets are. The tickets are added to each new block. This makes it impossible for nodes to change the value of tickets later.
It is not possible for a node to impersonate another node. To send a valid ticket, the private key is needed. The private key is only in the possession of the node in question.
Then the algorithm will look at how much each ticket is worth. The total value is calculated, after which a score is calculated for each node. The score can go down, but it can also go up based on all the tickets. With this score, the nodes are chosen to be allowed to validate new transactions.
Who is Proof of Participation used by?
Proof of Participation is a consensus algorithm that is quite unknown and used by few blockchains. Nevertheless, more and more blockchain projects are deciding to use this algorithm. This is because it solves many problems that other algorithms have.
Currently, Proof of Participation is being used by ZooBC and DecBC. These are blockchains developed by the Indonesian company Blockchain Zoo. As we mentioned earlier, this company is also the creator of the Proof of Participation algorithm.
The benefits of Proof of Participation
The biggest advantage of Proof of Participation is that anyone can participate in validating transactions, and you don't need a large amount of money to be eligible to add new blocks. You are judged based on the quality of your work.
This also makes the algorithm more secure. When a node tries to manipulate the blockchain, that node will receive a low score, which automatically stops the node from being chosen to add blocks. When a node has a certain score, the node will automatically be removed from the network.
Nodes that try to manipulate the network, therefore, only get themselves into trouble. This keeps the network clean and only the nodes that do a good quality job will be allowed to create and add blocks to the blockchain.
Another advantage is that the blockchain becomes very efficient. All nodes will try to do the best work because they naturally want to receive a high score. This encourages nodes to process transactions quickly, as well as to be careful not to make mistakes.
Proof of Participation vs. Proof of Stake
The Proof of Participation algorithm is in some ways very similar to the Proof of Stake algorithm. This is because in both algorithms, participants are judged based on a certain score and based on the work they provide.
In Proof of Stake, participants will be chosen based on the stake they put in. Participants in a Proof of Participation network are also judged, just not on the amount of money they wager. Instead, they are judged on the quality of the work they provide.
Another difference is that participants in a Proof of Stake network will lose their money when they do poor work. At first, they will be fined, but if certain mistakes are repeated, the network may choose to take all the money away and remove them from the network.
The Proof of Participation network will not impose a fine for a mistake, but will lower the participant's score. When the score reaches a certain level, the participant will be removed from the network. This will not ultimately cost any money. However, the participant will never be able to participate in the blockchain network in the future.