The Ethereum co-founder proposed reducing validator signatures to lighten the load and improve the accuracy of forecasting future loads.

Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, has proposed a method to reduce the load on the Ethereum blockchain and make proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus “considerably simpler and lighter.”

On December 28, Vitalik Buterin proposed a method for reducing the number of signatures required by validators to keep the network running, thereby reducing load.

To achieve decentralization and allow regular people to participate in staking, Ethereum currently supports a very large number of validators, approximately 895,000.

However, supporting this many validators has significant technical drawbacks because it requires the network to process a large number of signatures, around 28,000 per slot, “which is a very high load,” he noted.

Source: vitalik.eth

Moreover, he explained, supporting this load necessitates several sacrifices, including limiting quantum resistance, complicated forking, and scaling signatures via zero-knowledge proofs (SNARKs).

It also falls short of its goal of allowing ordinary people to participate, as the 32 ETH $2,388 minimum to become a validator remains prohibitively expensive for many.

Buterin advocated for a more moderate solution with around 8,192 signatures per slot, down from the current 28,000.

This would allow for significant technical simplification while still keeping the total slashable ETH at around 1-2 million ETH. Slashing is a mechanism used to punish bad validator behavior.

Buterin suggested three approaches: entirely relying on decentralized staking pools, a two-tiered system with “heavy” and “light” staking, and rotating participation with accountable committees.

The proposed solutions seek to keep the digital signature load under control.

calculations for a method of rotating participation. Source: Research

The key advantage would be a much easier time developing protocols and infrastructure by keeping the future signature load at a reasonable level.

“The Ethereum protocol’s future load is no longer a mystery,” he stated, adding that “hard forks may be used to increase it in the future, but only if developers are certain that technology has advanced to the point where a higher number of signatures per slot can be handled with equal ease.”