In PoS, forgers stake their ether on a block. These ether are locked and can't be used. What does it mean by locking of ether and how does it work?


In the existing Casper+Sharding spec, validators join by sending 32 ETH to a special smart contract on the current mainnet. That ETH is essentially destroyed. Then when the beacon chain sees these deposits, it mints the 32 ETH on the beacon chain and puts it in a lock box. The protocol will then increase/decrease their balance in the lock box based on the validator's actions.

  • What is this lock box? Is it an address or account or a smart contract? – Kashish Khullar Nov 21 '18 at 14:30
  • It's sort of a smart contract, but it's one baked into the protocol, not one that is deployed to the network. Think of it as more similar to a precompile that also doesn't have an address. Realistically the eth never really exists on the beacon chain. When the beacon chain sees a validator deposit on the mainnet, it adds to their locked balance, and when the validator goes to withdraw, the eth will be sent on a shard to an address of the validator's choosing. – natewelch_ Nov 21 '18 at 14:32
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    The lock box is just a number on the beacon chain that is only changeable by the protocol when the validator acts honestly or maliciously. It can then be wiped out when the validator wants to withdraw to a shard. – natewelch_ Nov 21 '18 at 14:33
  • So can I say that lock box is just a separate account model but for the locked ether? A Merkel tree with locked currency which is stores the balance of accounts on beacon chain – Kashish Khullar Nov 21 '18 at 14:41
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    When it comes to the data structure it's stored as, the beacon chain has a state tree just like the current mainnet, one of the fields in the state tree is validators, which is a list of ValidatorRecords. Each record stores the validator's balance in gwei. You can read more about the records at github.com/ethereum/eth2.0-specs/blob/master/specs/core/… – natewelch_ Nov 21 '18 at 14:56

The idea is that you must put your funds at risk in order to secure the network. If you perform maliciously, you will lose your funds. If you act logically, you will help secure the network.

The reason this works is because of the economic cost to behave in a negative way. In the current PoW model, you need 51% of the mining power to overtake the network. In PoS, you need 51% of the economic power to do so. This also helps with decentralization of the network.

There are other factors that help the decentralization and security, such as the limits on the amount on address can stake and various other limitations.

  • You are right. But this does not answer my question. How does locking of ether work? Do I send my ether to an account whose private key is unknown? How is locking implemented in code? – Kashish Khullar Nov 21 '18 at 14:27

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