CasperLabs Mrinal Manohar: Proof of Work is Just Not an Efficient System

CasperLabs is a relative newcomer to the crypto space, but with an impressive technical pedigree.

With the aim of building a fully decentralized, sharded and scalable next-generation blockchain, CasperLabs is building a new proof-of-stake blockchain, the design of which is being led by Vlad Zamfir, formerly a lead researcher for the Ethereum Foundation.

While the PoS vs. PoW argument is far from settled in the crypto community, CasperLabs believes that PoS is the most viable means of achieving scalability.

I caught up with Mrinal Manohar, CEO of Adaptive Labs, CasperLabs parent company, to discuss the project. We talked about his history in the space, why he believes blockchains must move away from Proof-of-Work, and the companys relationship with the Ethereum Foundation.

When and how did you get into the crypto space?

So actually it's a two part answer - I got into decentralization in 2002. I was an open source contributor to the BitTorrent project, not on the core BitTorrent stuff, but stuff like magnet linking on some of the applications.

And then I got into blockchain specifically in 2010. My roommate was one of the largest miners in San Francisco, but I started investing in the industry in 2012. So I started pretty early.

And when did you start CasperLabs?

So CasperLabs was founded on October 31st 2018. So it's fairly recent. Research into CBC Casper, which is led by Vlad [Zamfir] has been ongoing since 2014. So it's it's fairly developed. But CasperLabs, the R & D shop, that's releasing a blockchain that primarily works on the Casper protocol, is newer.

How would you describe in a nutshell what CasperLabs does?

The ability to scale a blockchain without any compromise.

What's happened is, in my opinion is that only Bitcoin and Ethereum are 100% decentralized because anyone can access the network at anytime - there's no permissioning, they are leaderless systems. What's happened since their creation is that in order to scale the systems, people have done it in one of two ways.

One way is some form of mild centralization, either through delegation, voting processes, randomization, etc.

The other way is through layer two solutions, and layer two solutions are really necessary - Visa has Square PayPal and Stripe on top of it for examples.

But we need layer one to be great.

Really where we're different is we're saying no, you can do this with total decentralization. We don't want to trade decentralization for scalability. Now, you might not get a million transactions per second, but you can get a few thousand, fully decentralized.

What's the motivation behind Casper's embracing of Proof of Stake, is it technical, environmental, both?

I'd say technical more than environmental, although there are environmental consequences. It is mostly technical, because if you think about it, the fundamental issue with proof of work is that it limits scalability, because 90 to 95% of your processing power is generating hashes, or random numbers. So it's just generating a bunch of random numbers. And once they're generated, they have no utility. So you spend 90 to 95% of your processing power, and its just wasted.

On the other hand, with a ...

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Tags: CasperLabs LLC, System, Proof-of-work system, Proof-of-stake, Ethereum, Efficiency, Mrinal Manohar, San Francisco, Adaptive Labs, Casper