Tezos introduces new consensus mechanism within protocol upgrade “Ithaca”

Proof-of-Stake blockchain Tezos has released the most significant upgrade of its protocol to date.

Tezos

Codenamed “Ithaca 2,” the major ninth upgrade introduces a new consensus mechanism, Tenderbake, which brings several improvements. This includes so-called “near-instant finality,” which offers the absolute certainty that transactions cannot be reversed after two blocks.

Tenderbake replaces the older consensus algorithm, known as Emmy, which will further enable faster transactions and smoother-running applications on Tezos. Replacing the consensus mechanism with Tenderbake is in itself a major milestone for the network, as it defines the new rules by which Tezos bakers decide the state of the ledger – a core function of a blockchain.

The Ithaca 2 upgrade also prepares the Tezos protocol for scalability plans such as a shift away from a roll-based model to an optimized stake-based model. As noted in the press release, other benefits include supporting rollups for WebAssembly and EVM compatibility with pre-checking, a lightweight validation scheme for the mempool which will increase overall throughput. Specifically, Tezos revealed that Tenderbake achieves shorter block times to as low as 1 second or less, which brings the open-source protocol in line with Visa’s TPS levels without sacrificing decentralization.

Distinct from Tezos’ Emmy+ algorithm, Tenderbake will reduce the requirement to become a network validator (baker) by 25% from 8,000 tez to 6,000 tez.

The introduction of the Ithaca 2 upgrade follows a hectic period for Tezos, which has seen approximately one upgrade implemented every three months. The latest single-shot consensus algorithm was developed by Tezos engineers and highly skilled research teams over the course of the last year, including those from Nomadic Labs and the Université Paris-Saclay.

“Over the last year Tezos has seen booming growth in user activity, with smart contract calls increasing per month from 100,000 in January 2021 to over 6.2 million in January 2022. Tezos continues to see adoption and momentum grow with landmark technical integrations by leading sports franchises and global brands such as Red Bull Racing, Manchester United, The Gap, Kia and more. By building on Tezos, industry leaders are showing their confidence in Tezos as the energy-efficient, low cost blockchain of choice for the Web3 revolution,” Tezos said in a statement.

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