What is Proof of Elapsed Time?

A few years ago, Intel came up with an interesting consensus algorithm which may find its way to cryptocurrency at some point in the future. This concept is known as Proof of Elapsed Time, which is quite interesting to keep an eye on. The goal is to properly achieve distributed consensus in an efficient manner. Whether or not any cryptocurrencies will ever incorporate this technology, remains to be seen though.

Proof of Elapsed Time is an Interesting Idea

It is always interesting to check out the different distributed consensus algorithms in the world today. It is evident proof of work and proof of stake remain far more popular than any others right now. Then again, this situation may come to change at some point in the future. Proof of Elapsed Time is definitely a contender to shake things up a bit in the world of cryptocurrency. Right now, it is unclear if any developers are looking at integrating it, but it certainly has its merits.

More specifically, this concept was first introduced by Intel a few years ago. Many people were surprised to see a technology giant introduce a distributed consensus mechanism of this kind. Then again, the company has been keeping an eye on blockchain technology and distributed ledgers for quite some time now. It is only normal they want to come up with some creative ideas and see how they work.

Proof of Elapsed Time is designed to create a fair consensus model, which mainly focuses on efficiency. It revolves around distributing leader election across the largest possible amount of network participants. Moreover, the cost of controlling this process should be proportional to the value gained from it. This means people need to invest time – and possibly money – if they feel they can steer the ecosystem in a particular direction. Last but not least, all participants need to verify the leader was selected in a legitimate manner.

What is even more peculiar is how Proof of Elapsed Time will achieve this goal by using new CPU instructions. Since these CPUs can be found in consumer electronics, everyone in the world is – in theory – eligible to be a part of such an ecosystem using this consensus mechanism. Moreover, it appears this consensus algorithm is incredibly energy efficient compared to proof of work, which is another factor to take into consideration. Nor does it appear there will ever be ASIC hardware to gain a competitive edge.

On the Intel website, one could find a very technical explanation of how Proof of Elapsed time works in a real environment. It is evident the company is exploring this distributed consensus model as part of their Sawtooth project. Even though it is a distributed model, it seems to rely on some form of centralized leadership, which may make it less efficient for cryptocurrency purposes. Then again, one never knows if some modifications can be made to ensure it is a viable solution in a few years from now.

Intel is definitely on to something with this Proof of Elapsed Time concept. It may certainly serve its purpose, given the fact it is very energy efficient and does not require expensive hardware to contribute to the network. Going back to the good old days of CPUs, rather than GPUs or ASICs, would be quite interesting to see in cryptocurrency. Leveling the playing field would have some interesting results, that much is certain.

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