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Isaac Benson

Isaac Benson

Isaac Benson

Isaac Benson

3 months ago

What's the difference between Proof-of-Time and Proof-of-History?

Blockchain validates transactions with consensus algorithms. Bitcoin and Ethereum use Proof-of-Work, while Polkadot and Cardano use Proof-of-Stake.

Other consensus protocols are used to verify transactions besides these two. This post focuses on Proof-of-Time (PoT), used by Analog, and Proof-of-History (PoH), used by Solana as a hybrid consensus protocol.

PoT and PoH may seem similar to users, but they are actually very different protocols.

Proof-of-Time (PoT)

Analog developed Proof-of-Time (PoT) based on Delegated Proof-of-Stake (DPoS). Users select "delegates" to validate the next block in DPoS. PoT uses a ranking system, and validators stake an equal amount of tokens. Validators also "self-select" themselves via a verifiable random function."

The ranking system gives network validators a performance score, with trustworthy validators with a long history getting higher scores. System also considers validator's fixed stake. PoT's ledger is called "Timechain."

Voting on delegates borrows from DPoS, but there are changes. PoT's first voting stage has validators (or "time electors" putting forward a block to be included in the ledger).

Validators are chosen randomly based on their ranking score and fixed stake. One validator is chosen at a time using a Verifiable Delay Function (VDF).

Validators use a verifiable delay function to determine if they'll propose a Timechain block. If chosen, they validate the transaction and generate a VDF proof before submitting both to other Timechain nodes.

This leads to the second process, where the transaction is passed through 1,000 validators selected using the same method. Each validator checks the transaction to ensure it's valid.

If the transaction passes, validators accept the block, and if over 2/3 accept it, it's added to the Timechain.

Proof-of-History (PoH)

Proof-of-History is a consensus algorithm that proves when a transaction occurred. PoH uses a VDF to verify transactions, like Proof-of-Time. Similar to Proof-of-Work, VDFs use a lot of computing power to calculate but little to verify transactions, similar to (PoW).

This shows users and validators how long a transaction took to verify.

PoH uses VDFs to verify event intervals. This process uses cryptography to prevent determining output from input.

The outputs of one transaction are used as inputs for the next. Timestamps record the inputs' order. This checks if data was created before an event.

PoT vs. PoH

PoT and PoH differ in that:

  • PoT uses VDFs to select validators (or time electors), while PoH measures time between events.

  • PoH uses a VDF to validate transactions, while PoT uses a ranking system.

  • PoT's VDF-elected validators verify transactions proposed by a previous validator. PoH uses a VDF to validate transactions and data.

Conclusion

Both Proof-of-Time (PoT) and Proof-of-History (PoH) validate blockchain transactions differently. PoT uses a ranking system to randomly select validators to verify transactions.

PoH uses a Verifiable Delay Function to validate transactions, verify how much time has passed between two events, and allow validators to quickly verify a transaction without malicious actors knowing the input.