PoST - Has Zcash considered this?

Team ECC/ZF - has either organization considered Proof of Space Time (PoST)?

I’m a huge fan of Chia (XCH) and I recently saw a post by the Chia Network, Inc. CEO Gene Hoffman on Discord refer to Zcash as a good example of a “credible project” that CNI “would assist to co-farm with PoST.”

Any thoughts on PoST as an alternative to PoS? Just curious…

1 Like

A few years ago @alchemydc wore out a few high-end SSDs experimenting with Chia, IIRC. From my perspective, any kind of hardware-based proof of work still ends up with a situation where large operators get economies of scale that are not available to small players, and with PoST you still end up with an E-waste problem that doesn’t exist for PoS. What unique advantages do you think that PoST has?


Thanks for this @nuttycom. A couple of thoughts and I am summarizing the collective thoughts of many Chia Discord Members responses to ensure I provide a comprehensive response to your questions since I believe PoST should be at minimum considered by Zcash:

  1. It would be helpful to learn more from @alchemydc and get some data on wearing out the drives. Some users have worn out SSDs by plotting but generally they are well over their expected IO already. In general, the main FUD article (published on this issue) that indicated Chia burns out drives was entirely speculative and assumed one must continually be plotting which is untrue (note: the writers of the article never actually burned out a drive but rather used the manufacturers expected read/write and calculated how long it would take to reach that read/write if continually plotting then used as the time to burn out a drive using chia). So it would really help if @alchemydc could share more about what he/she did to burn out high-end SSDs and also what he/she means by “high-end.”

  2. With regard to the economies of scale issue, it’s my understanding much of this has to do with the frustrations of large farmers with the changing price of XCH and the lack of similar complaints from smaller farmers. It is always more efficient to use excess capacity than to use new hardware and economies of scale cannot negate that in this instance. Economies of scale are a powerful centralizing force in Bitcoin due to the constant ASIC race obsoleting older hardware and then high OPEX that benefit the lowest electricity rates. Mining companies benefit from relationships with ASIC manufacturers and utility companies in order to stay profitable amidst constantly shrinking margins. Chia doesn’t have this due to storage efficiency growing linearly (i.e., farmers get drives that are 10% larger each year) and doesn’t obsolete existing excess storage. In addition, the reduced energy requirement means sensitivity to electricity rates is far lower.

  3. Re: E-waste, it doesn’t solve e-waste because drives eventually die, but it does delay the e-waste until the drives are truly dead. Aside from the craze of the main-net launch of Chia (when drives became scarce and prices went through the roof), I don’t believe Chia generates additional e-waste in the long run since excess storage and re-certified drives are the only economic way to participate. SSD wear and tear is also a thing of the past with partial/full RAM plotting and more efficient direct-to-HDD plotting now.

  4. With regard to SECURITY, what gets overtly overlooked in the greener blockchain debate is SECURITY. Technically, one could have no consensus mechanism and just create a bunch of coins; it ceratinly would be greener but there would be virtually no security! No one has actually solved long range attacks against PoS. Even Vitalik has admitted this. While PoS may be “greener” than PoST since it uses less energy, it does so at the cost of decentralization and security.

Anyhow - I think it would be useful for ECC/ZF to at least have a conversation with the folks at Chia Network, Inc. about PoST before going straight to PoS. And it would be great to learn more about the data on the SSDs burning out!

Note: I do know there hasn’t always been the most cohesive relationship between Bram Cohen and some of the Zcash founders but I think if egos are checked at the door, this is something worth evaluating.

Anyone? :man_shrugging: