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PoS vs PoW: The difference between Proof of Stake and Proof of Work

Proof of Stake (PoS) and Proof of Work (PoW) are two fundamentally different consensus mechanisms that significantly influence the functioning of blockchain networks. Although their goal is the same - validating transactions and securing the network - they differ fundamentally in their approach.

Cointract Crypto App Schweiz: Unterschied zwischen Proof of Work und Proof of Stake

Consensus mechanism for cryptocurrencies

A consensus mechanism is a fundamental principle in blockchain technology that governs the way in which transactions and new blocks are confirmed and validated in a decentralised network. It ensures that all participants in the network agree and consent to the current state of the blockchain. There are different types of consensus mechanisms, each using different methods to achieve this agreement.

The consensus mechanism is crucial to the security, integrity and functioning of a blockchain network.

Proof of Work (PoW): Security through mass

The Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanism is an important pillar of blockchain technology and forms the backbone of many well-known cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin. Its fundamental principle is based on miners solving complex mathematical puzzles in the shortest possible time. This requires considerable computing power.

How does PoW work?

  1. Accumulate transactions: First, transactions are collected and organised in a temporary block.

  2. Solve the puzzle: Miners in the network compete to solve the puzzle by finding a unique combination of numbers (nonce) that, together with the transaction data, generates a valid hash. All at the same time.

  3. The fastest miner wins: the miner who solves the puzzle first sends the block to the network for verification. If the solution is accepted, the block is added to the blockchain and the miner is rewarded in the form of a blockchain fee.

Examples of cryptocurrencies on the Proof of Work consensus mechanism are: Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dodgecoin.

Proof of Stake (PoS): Security through commitment

In contrast, PoS relies on the possession of cryptocurrencies as security for transactions. You can think of it like shares: the more shares you have, the higher your voting rights. The same applies to PoS with a stake. Here, block validators are selected based on the amount of cryptocurrency they hold and are willing to "stake" (freeze) as collateral.

As PoS does not have the immense energy consumption of PoW, it is often seen as a more environmentally friendly alternative.

How does PoS work?

  1. Staking cryptocurrency: Participants in the PoS network stake an amount of their cryptocurrency. This stake serves as security for transactions.

  2. Block validation: Validators are usually selected using an algorithm that takes various factors into account, such as the amount of the stake and the duration of the stake. Only one validator is selected.

  3. Transaction validation: The selected validator checks transactions and creates new blocks. They are rewarded for their work, with the reward often consisting of the transaction fees.

Examples of cryptocurrencies that use the Proof of Stake consensus mechanism are: Ethereum, Cardano or Polkadot.

The main differences between PoW and PoS summarised

Energy consumption

PoW is energy-intensive, while PoS is more resource-efficient.


Both offer a high level of security, but PoW is more vulnerable to 51% attacks if a miner controls more than half of the computing power.


PoW networks are often more decentralised as they are open to anyone who can provide the required computing power. PoS can be more susceptible to centralisation as those with more cryptocurrency have more influence.

Overall, both PoW and PoS offer different approaches to securing blockchain networks. The choice between them depends on the specific goals and needs of the network.

This article is for informational / promotional purposes.

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