Symbol vs Tezos (Part 1)
Consensus protocols: Harvest and Bake
Chips to the Brits, are fries to the Americans; they are the same, with slight differences. Symbol harvests and Tezos bakes; they are both using the Proof-of-Stake protocol with twists.
Symbol is the second generation of NIS1 (NEM Infrastructure System 1). It has been using proof-of-stake, with some variations, since NIS1. Proof-of-Importance (PoI) is used in NIS1. The probability for an account to generate a block is based on its importance score, which takes into consideration of the account’s vested stakes and the activeness of the account.
The protocol Symbol uses is called PoS+. It retains its reference to importance score, and an account that also runs a node will get a better score. Finality is introduced in PoS+ too.
Yes, the importance score is account-based, not node-based. This is because an account doesn’t have to run a node in order to harvest. It can delegate its importance score to another account that runs a node, without compromising the security to its stake.
The process of creating a new block in NIS1 and Symbol is called harvesting. I have previously discussed about their protocols in “Ethereum 2.0 vs Symbol (Part 2): Consensus Protocols”
Ethereum 2.0 vs Symbol (Part 2): Consensus Protocols
NEM started with Proof-of-Stake (PoS) derivatives, and Ethereum has been planning in moving from Proof-of-Work (PoW) to…
Join the community https://discord.com/invite/xymcity to build xymcity, like you did for SimCity.
The consensus protocol for Tezos is Liquid Proof-of-Stake (LPoS). The delegates are the nodes maintaining the network, and they resume 3 roles, the baker, the endorser, and the accuser. The baker proposes a block, an endorser endorses it, duh, and the accuser reports if there is a malicious act detected.
It is a more inclusive protocol that allows users to delegate their stake to a delegate in order to participate in the creation of blocks, even if they do not have enough tez (the native currency of Tezos) to be a delegate. At the time of writing this, to be a delegate, one needs 8,000 tez (1 roll) and there is a plan to bring the number down to 2,000 tez. A user who delegates their stake is called a delegator.
Refer to Tezos blockchain explorer for latest block time, cycle length and new tez generated with each new block etc. After update, there might be changes to the information stated below.
Each roll is given priority to create a block. A block is created in about 30 seconds (it is planned to reduce to 15 seconds with the next update). If a baker’s roll which was given the priority fails to create a block, the chance will pass to the next roll in line. The priority list will be updated once a block is created. The new block will then be endorsed. While there only will be one baker for each block, there will be multiple endorsers, where one endorser might have more than one roll.
Main differences between the protocols of Symbol and Tezos
- Block creation reward: Symbol block harvester will be rewarded with the transaction fees and new XYM minted with each block created. The amount of new XYM for each new block created is pre-set. Tezos block baker will be rewarded with the operation (aka transaction) fees and network reward.
- Reward frozen period: Harvester will receive their reward right away (subject to finality) and a fixed % is shared automatically to the node it delegates its importance score to. For Tezos, the reward will be unfrozen only after 5 cycles.
- Delegating: Harvesters of Symbol is not necessary to run a node. It can delegate its importance score to an account running a node. The harvester will share its reward with the node it delegates to. For Tezos, it is the other way round. A baker must at least has a roll. If an account doesn’t have enough tez to qualify for a roll, it can delegate its stake to another delegate. The delegate will share the reward with the delegator.
- Frozen stake: No XYM will be frozen in order to qualify to be a harvester in Symbol. However, if the balance of the account dropped below 10,000 XYM, it will not be qualified to harvest anymore. For Tezos, the reward will be frozen for 40,960 blocks (5 cycles). This does not apply to delegators.
- Validator or endorsing reward: Validators in Symbol vote for the finality of a block. It needs a large stake to qualify to be a validator. In Tezos, a delegate selected as an endorser will endorse the proposed block.
- Penalty: So far there is no penalty in Symbol. For Tezos, if an accuser found a baker or endorser acting maliciously, their stakes will be forfeited and half of the amount will be rewarded to the accuser.
- Finality: Symbol adopts deterministic finality while Tezos’ is probabilistic finality.
What would be my choice if I want to participate in building the blocks?
Tezos will be my choice if I have some tez but do not own enough to run a node. While my tez will help the baker to get its roll selected, it is important for me to select a good baker to delegate to.
Symbol will be my choice if do not mind running a node but do not own enough XYM to harvest. I will just earn from the rewards shared by the harvesters on my node. The higher the importance score of the harvester, the better chance for me to earn too.
In both cases, running a node gives you more control, especially in selecting the accounts delegating to your accounts/nodes.
Thank you to the Tezos Telegram community for answering some of my questions.
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