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When Ethereum was on a proof-of-work business model, gas had to be paid to miners to execute transactions. Now that the miners are gone in the new proof-of-stake system, why are we still paying gas on transactions? Stakers, instead of miners, sound as if they play a passive role on the blockchain so why would we be paying stakers to execute transactions?

3 Answers 3

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Even though miners are gone in the new proof-of-stake system, we still pay gas on transactions because gas is the lifeblood of any EVM compatible blockchain network. It is a monetary fee that compensates miners/validators of a blockchain in exchange for their computational effort of mining blocks.

Depending on the consensus mechanism, this computational effort can be realized to the miner/validator as an electricity cost (Proof-of-Work) or financial stake (Proof-of-Stake). Like gasoline for a car, blockchain gas fees are what allow a blockchain (ledger) to move forward in time. That is why we still pay stakers to execute transactions.

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  • but weren't validators there during proof-of-work? Weren't there miners + validators before the Merge, and now there are just stakers + validators? Are all stakers validators? Is gas being paid to stakers, not just validators?
    – user610620
    Dec 23, 2022 at 8:40
  • No, validators aren't there during proof-of-work. No, there weren't miners + validators before the Merge, and now there are just stakers + validators. Not all stakers are validators, some are delegators. Gas is paid to validators. If you have extra questions, please open another question. Dec 23, 2022 at 8:48
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We pay gas on transactions so that the validators can be rewarded for validating transactions if they were no gas fees in the Ethereum ecosystem. Validators can approve and validate every transaction(right/wrong)

In proof-of-stake if a staked validator validates a wrong transaction, a penalty is paid by them.

You might understand this through this rhetoric, why would anyone stake 33 eth if there was no monetary benefit for them?

Why would someone validate a transaction if there is no reward in it for them?

So in short gas == rewards for validators

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  • but weren't validators there during proof-of-work? Weren't there miners + validators before the Merge, and now there are just stakers + validators? Are all stakers validators? Is gas being paid to stakers, not just validators?
    – user610620
    Dec 23, 2022 at 8:39
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Detailed answer:

We are always limited by the amount of data we can write into the blockchain per amount of time.

Take for example Ethereum:

  • max block size: 1Mb
  • blocktime: 12 seconds

So at best we have 5Mb/min

This means there is a limited "bandwidth" the users are competing over. The gas is nothing but an abstraction that simplifies to users the price/competition of using the "bandwidth"

To that end we have:

  • blockGasLimit: an amount of gas that can be spent per block.
  • gas: way to express the level of complexity of a transaction. A simplified way of quantifying how much data storing/reading one needs to compute.

In proof of work you had to pay the miner because he was the one "authorized" to add your data into the blockchain. In proof of stake you are paying for the same service to the account that has staked its ETH.

The only difference was that the miner earned its "authority" by being the first to mine the proof of work, while the stakeholder had earned the same by having a big bag of ETH locked away. One of them had to pay for mining equipment, the other one had to pay for the ETH he had invested/staked.

It's similar in principle, but the fact proof of stake is using far less energy is the reason it's a default protocol now.

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  • Unlike mining blocks, how can blocks possibly be constructed just because someone is staking a bunch of ether? What work is the staker actually doing for blocks to be completed? Perhaps you mean we pay gas to validators, who are special type of staker? Does one need to be a staker to be a validator? But then, how different is it to pay gas to a PoS validator than it was to pay gas to a PoW validator?
    – user610620
    Dec 23, 2022 at 10:16
  • In proof-of-work, miner indeed had to use a lot of processing power to earn the right to mint a new block, however, the sole act of minting it doesn't take much processing power. In proof-of-stake stakeholder earns the right to mint a new block by staking their ETH. They don't do any "work", that would justify the gas cost in terms of resources spent/invested, like electricity or graphic cards.
    – Sky
    Dec 23, 2022 at 13:37

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