Horizen EON Forger Nodes will soon be available to the public for anyone who wishes to participate in the EON network.
Available on the Proof-Of-Stake Horizen EON chain, these nodes are different from the Proof-Of-Work Horizen mainchain nodes. How do these two types of nodes differ, and how do they each play a critical role in securing the network?
Before understanding the importance of these forger nodes, it’s important to first remember or learn some blockchain terms.
What is the Horizen mainchain and the Horizen EON sidechain?
The Horizen mainchain is a layer 0 chain whose native cryptocurrency is ZEN. It doesn’t natively support smart contracts but natively supports the creation of sidechains.
A sidechain is an independent blockchain that runs parallel to the Horizen mainchain and inherits its security. Sidechains can be used to extend the capabilities of the mainchain, for example by enabling smart contracts, token minting, voting, etc. In addition, ZEN can be transferred back and forth between the mainchain and sidechains (as a gas token) using the forward and backward transfer mechanism.
The Horizen sidechains and the mainchain are independent of each other. A sidechain can have its own consensus and does not rely on the mainchain to grow and add more blocks.
Horizen EON is a dedicated sidechain that implements an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). This brings smart contract capabilities to the Horizen ecosystem.
Thanks to the forward and backward transfer mechanism, it’s possible to mint ZEN on Horizen EON by locking an equal amount of ZEN on the mainchain and vice versa. This is important for two reasons:
- ZEN are required to pay gas fees on Horizen EON.
- Horizen EON brings programmability to ZEN. Once ZEN are transferred to Horizen EON, it’s possible to operate on them with all the flexibility enabled by smart contracts.
Why does the Horizen EON sidechain need forger nodes?
Horizen’s mainchain operates on a proof-of-work consensus, meaning that it is the miners (in this case, ASICs) who compete to add new blocks to the blockchain and validate transactions.
Currently, The Horizen blockchain has a block reward system where the miner who completes the block receives 60% of the reward for this work. Then 10% goes to the Secure Nodes operators, 10% to the Super Nodes operators, and 20% to the ecosystem Treasury.
Secure Nodes and Super Nodes may sound like a hybrid POS/POW system, but they’re not. On Horizen, Secure Nodes and Super Nodes were created to add an extra layer of security to the network by allowing the community to keep a copy of the blockchain and be compensated for verifying transactions validated by miners.
This multi-layer node system has been in place since 2018. In the meantime, the needs of the network have evolved, particularly with the release of Zendoo and Horizen EON, Horizen’s EVM-compatible sidechain. As a result, the current Secure Node minimum requirements are no longer sufficient to provide any benefit to the Horizen network. Furthermore, with the removal of the shielded pools on mainchain, the need for Secure Nodes is diminished. The subpar performance and the lack of usage of Secure Nodes pose a burden to the chain.
On the other hand, there is a strong need for forger nodes in the EON chain. The Horizen EON chain is consensus and scalability-independent. To achieve consensus independence, it is necessary for the chain to have its own nodes to validate the transactions taking place on its chain.
Forger nodes permit to secure the network
In a Proof-of-Stake chain, the nodes are called forger nodes.
Forger nodes play a critical role in PoS consensus by creating blocks, validating transactions, enhancing security, and promoting efficiency and decentralization.
Forger nodes are critical to Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus for several reasons:
- Block production: They create new blocks in the blockchain, with their chance of being selected often based on the amount of cryptocurrency they hold as collateral.
- Transaction validation: Forger nodes validate and add transactions to the blockchain, ensuring that only valid transactions are recorded.
- Security: They’re financially motivated to act honestly because they’ve staked their own tokens as collateral, risking loss if they behave maliciously.
- Energy efficiency: PoS is more environmentally friendly than PoW because it doesn’t require the same amount of computing power.
- Sybil attack resistance: PoS networks are less vulnerable to Sybil attacks, where an attacker creates many fake nodes to gain control.
- Decentralization: Forging nodes contribute to network decentralization, allowing a wider range of participants to be involved.
There is an open Zen Improvement Proposal (ZenIP) for redirecting Secure Node block rewards to EON forger node. The purpose of this proposal is to drive the success of the Horizen EON network by increasing the security and decentralization through forger nodes. The current Secure Node operators are well-equipped to provide this type of support. For more information about this ZenIP, please visit “ ZenIP 42206 Explained: Redirect Horizen Secure Node Rewards Into Horizen EON”.
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