Consensus on the blockchain refers to the process by which a decentralized network of computers or nodes agree on the state of a shared ledger, such as a cryptocurrency blockchain. The consensus mechanism ensures that all nodes on the network have a consistent and valid copy of the ledger, even if some nodes go offline or try to manipulate the data.
In a blockchain, consensus is typically achieved through a consensus algorithm, which is a set of rules that govern how new blocks are added to the chain. Different blockchain platforms use different consensus algorithms, such as Proof of Work (PoW), Proof of Stake (PoS), or Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS).
In a PoW system, for example, miners compete to solve complex mathematical puzzles, and the first miner to solve the puzzle adds a new block to the blockchain. This process requires a significant amount of computing power and energy consumption.
In a PoS system, on the other hand, validators are chosen based on the amount of cryptocurrency they hold and “stake” as collateral. The validators are then responsible for verifying transactions and adding new blocks to the chain. This process is more energy-efficient than PoW but requires a significant amount of cryptocurrency to participate in the validation process.
In both PoW and PoS systems, the consensus algorithm ensures that all nodes on the network agree on the state of the ledger, and that no single node can manipulate the data.