As the title says, what incentive does a POW miner have to mine on the hybrid POS chain? They would, effectively, be removing their own economic incentive from the consensus mechanism. I understand the long term benefits of a POS consensus mechanism, but a miner has no incentive to want to switch until the last possible moment, or when POW simply cannot keep up with the needs of the network.

Might this cause a fork where one chain remains 100% POW and the other chain has a hybrid POW/POS model?

2 Answers 2


With casper stage 1 being introduced into Ethereum, the chain will be shaped by an hybrid POW/POS consensus mechanism. In this stage, every 100th block is going to be finalized by the POS mechanism and will be regarded as a checkpoint (https://github.com/ethereum/research/wiki/Casper-Version-1-Implementation-Guide). The idea behind checkpoint blocks is, that any miner following the rules in this release of ethereum has to accept this block, no choice given. All other 99 blocks are going to be mined as usual. To answer your second question, mined blocks and POS blocks will both be used on the same chain.

So why should miners continue? If miners leave, the difficulty to hash a new block will decrease and it will be more lucrative for other miners to join in, what they will do for sure at a certain point. Ethereum will go on with its path. If POS can be used as the only consensus protocol and is as effective as POW, it will be used for sure. To name only two advantages, it does consume less power (no hashing required where almost all hashes are useless) and the barrier for new people willing to participate in the decision for the next block is easier to overcome. It is possible that POS might become the only consensus mechanism. Until that happens, I would try to mine as much ether as possible if I would be a miner. By doing so I potentially increase my reward from the POS system by being able to place a much higher stake.

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    I didn't know about the implementation guide. Thank you. Do you think this may cause a contentious fork when this actually happens? One with the hybrid POS and one with pure POW? Aug 26, 2018 at 1:31
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    @shanefontaine : This current Ethereum version has a limited lifetime. The miners who stick to the Ethereum version which was used before the Ethereum casper stage 1 version have to face the difficulty bomb. Basically difficulty gets increased faster and faster, so that the network will slowly come to halt. This will freeze the network, so the old POW only Ethereum network is forced to die. If POW enthusiasts prefer to stick to a POW only Ethereum, they have to switch to Ethereum Classic (ETC) since they have "diffused" this difficulty bomb.
    – sea212
    Aug 26, 2018 at 12:39

I question whether anyone would want to support proof-of-stake. If I stake 100 ETH on POS, then three months later I might get back 110 ETH (that's just an example - I don't know the actual figure). That 100 ETH I staked may have been worth, say, $10,000. But if the price of ETH has halved during the 3 months, the 110 ETH I get back will only be worth $5,500. The volatility of ETH is a risk I take every time I invest in proof-of-stake.

In proof-of-work, on the other hand, there is no risk because no ETH investment is needed and any ETH I get is pure profit, no matter what the dollar value is at the time.

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