Consensus protocols are used to allow computers to work together. A consensus protocol lets different servers agree on the state of a system. For decades, these protocols have been used to establish consensus among database nodes, application servers, and other infrastructure that runs within an enterprise. More recently, new consensus protocols have been invented to allow cryptoeconomic systems to agree on the state of a financial system.
The first cryptoeconomic consensus protocol to reach wide adoption was Nakamoto consensus–the proof-of-work system used for consensus of Bitcoin. Since then, other systems have been developed, with different tradeoffs in security, speed, and formal verifiability.
Ethan Buchman is the CTO at Tendermint, a consensus system for blockchains. In addition to working on Tendermint, Ethan works on Cosmos, a network of blockchains. In this episode, we talk about different consensus systems–for centralized, trustworthy systems as well as for trustless systems like currencies.
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