/What’s the difference between IC & ETH2.0?
I admit bias, so take this with a grain of salt, while I believe all of the technical aspects that I mention are true and accurate.
The IC and ETH 2.0 has more differences than similarities. I will try my best to be technically correct, but if I say something that isn’t valid, please correct me in the comments.
Both the IC and ETH 2.0 uses proof of stake (PoS) but they use it in different places for different purposes.
ETH 2.0 is going to be using PoS to reach consensus for creating blocks while the IC uses novel cryptography called chain-key cryptography where you don’t need staked ICP to reach consensus. https://dfinity.org/whitepaper.pdf - Section 1.6
Chain-key cryptography offers many advantages:
- One can validate blocks without having to store the whole blockchain in memory
- You can reach consensus incredibly fast (around 2s)
- It allows the NNS to upgrade the network without having to go through forking
And here is where PoS comes into play. The Network Nervous System (NNS) is a DAO that controls the Internet Computer. It lets ICP token holders to participate in governance and vote on different proposals. Once a proposal is accepted, the code automatically gets executed and updates the network. https://dfinity.org/whitepaper.pdf - Section 1.10.1
Another key difference is that the when a client (e.g. browser) communicates with the IC it can send 2 different calls, namely update calls and query calls. Update calls get executed on multiple node machines and after reaching consensus you get a message back that has been validated (2s) while query calls don’t go through consensus and can be executed within a few 100ms. This allows the IC to host dapps completely on-chain including frontend, backend and data. https://dfinity.org/whitepaper.pdf - Section 2.3.2
This is completely unique in the blockchain space, it allows developers to host secure websites on-chain without the risk of it being shut down (only the NNS can shut down sites with the community’s vote). And you can store NFTs completely on-chain making the old saying “You only buy a hyperlink to an AWS bucket” no longer true. https://entrepot.app/
The IC also offers anonymous authentication simply using the security chip your iPhone using something called the Internet Identity. With it you can authenticate yourself on different dapps while these dapps have no way of connecting the same Internet Identity to other dapps. Also since you can use the FaceID on an iPhone, fingerprint on a laptop or a YubiKey, essentially this allows you to use internet services without ever having to type in your password. You can try this out here: https://identity.ic0.app/
The Internet Computer combines the best of both worlds: the efficiency of a permissioned system (in the mold of pBFT and other Byzantine fault tolerant consensus algorithms) with the censorship-resistant properties of a permissionless system.
The subnets can be thought of as permissioned by the NNS. They are small enough to run efficient consensus protocols that far outperform PoW and PoS, and they operate under more realistic assumptions, i.e. partial synchrony.
However, the NNS (which itself runs on its own subnet) can be thought of as a permissionless DAO. It is controlled by ICP token holders, and automatically executes any proposal that is adopted by those token holders.
This hybrid model is ingenious IMO. I don’t think any other blockchain has done anything like this before.