Proof-of-Stake Was Bigger Than Eth 2.0 in 2020

Proof-of-Stake Was Bigger Than Eth 2.0 in 2020

Tim Ogilvie (right) at Consensus 2019, New York City.
(CoinDesk archives)

In just a single year, staking has gone from an academic exercise to a dominant force in crypto. 

The biggest staking story of 2020 is, of course, the launch of Ethereum 2.0. But beyond that, the past year has seen a tremendous flowering of proof-of-stake (PoS) networks. Four of the top nine crypto assets by market cap are on a path to proof-of-stake. In January, the number was zero – and more are poised to follow. 

Proof-of-stake now represents roughly 15% of the total crypto market cap. Much of the acceleration in crypto development we’ve seen this year is attributable to proof-of-stake blockchains, including Ethereum as well as Polkadot, Cardano, NEAR, Solana and others.

As proof-of-stake’s dominance in developer engagement continues to grow through the coming year, we’ll see an explosion of user-facing projects and apps. 

One enduring criticism of proof-of-stake is that it is only theoretical. Many assumed a PoS blockchain would fall down in practice, like an academic building a bridge out of books. Previously successful launches of PoS blockchains like Tezos and Cosmos did little to silence the critics.

Ethereum 2.0’s frequent delays and apparent setbacks no doubt added to this skepticism, with the project becoming something of a punchline in the crypto world until its successful launch last month. And with that, proof-of-stake moved to the main stage.

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